This Monday, people around the world will gather to celebrate the 50th annual Earth Day. The holiday is centered around environmental preservation, and considering the place that we live in, a holiday could not be more relevant.
The U.P. is abundant with both beauty and natural resources. The stretching shoreline along Lake Superior offers an ideal place to set up a hammock and relax, an experience that Northern students aren’t strangers to. Being in such a lush landscape, it’s easy to take it for granted.
Meanwhile, trash builds up in both landfills and the ocean, threatening to destabilize entire ecosystems. The climate continues to change at a rapid pace, alarming large swaths of the scientific community that warns these changes may be both detrimental and irreversible. On a smaller scale, garbage collects along the highways, and recyclable materials end up being tossed in a trash can. The message: there’s a lot of work to be done.
The beauty of Earth Day is that it’s not partisan, ethnic or national. The holiday transcends borders and peoples, offering a rare opportunity for a unified humanity. No matter our backgrounds or beliefs, we all live on the same planet. Earth Day is a mission to save and preserve that planet, for ourselves and our children. It’s about changing the way we live so that future generations will be able to live at all.
It’s easy for holidays like this to devolve into social media trends. Facebook and Instagram will likely be flooded with people taking photos of the best Earth has to offer. Waterfalls, forests and mountains will dominate the timelines, but this isn’t what the day is about. It’s not a day to chase likes or virtue-signal how hip you are. Conservation is a serious issue that demands a serious approach from people who choose to help save our planet.
We cannot just be inhabitants, but must be stewards of the environment we occupy and recognize the responsibility we have to preserve it. After all, we only get one Earth. There is no reset button, no second chance and no turning back.
On Earth Day at noon, students will gather at the wildcat statue to help clean up campus. It starts here.