Protect the Earth

We need it, but it does not need us


"Earth" by Kevin M. Gill is licensed with CC BY 2.0.

Earth Day raises awareness of our impact on the environmental changes.

Millions of Americans took to the streets on April 22, 1970 to raise awareness about the harmful effects of polluting the Earth. This marked the first Earth Day. Since then, Earth Day has become a worldwide tradition. Over 190 countries and one billion individuals mobilize for action every Earth Day.

Since the first Earth Day, April 22 has increased awareness of our society’s impact on the environment and what steps can be taken to lessen our impact.

“Earth Day is an important reminder of how precious our planet is and what we can do individually, but also as a society, to make sure we keep our air and water clear for all future generations,” Jason Glisan, State Climatologist of Iowa, said.

For one day, people focus on their impact on the Earth … then, the day after, return to their normal lives. Robert Young, environmental science teacher at Kennedy High School, believes one day of being aware of your impact on the environment is not enough.

“Some people see Earth Day as just another one of those daily holidays like ‘National French Toast Day’ or ‘International Postage Stamp Day,’” Young said. “To me, the true message of Earth Day is that the awareness needs to be there all year long.”

The extreme level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has never been seen before. (NASA)

There are steps everyone can take to minimize their impact on the environment. Something as simple as turning off the lights, taking shorter showers or carpooling can conserve energy and decrease carbon emissions. Small changes add up eventually to make an impact.

Staying informed is crucial to make a positive impact on the environment. When election season comes around, voters should know each candidate’s stance on climate change and the environment. Those who are unable to vote can cause change as well. Support companies that make environmentally conscious choices, and boycott those who do not.

“If people buy stuff, the industry makes more. If people stop buying it, then they stop producing them,” Young said. “Consumers have power.”

The decisions we make every day, from what we buy to how we travel, play a role in environmental change. According to NASA, the probability that the current global warming trend is caused by human activity is greater than 95%. Rising temperatures have a direct impact on humans. The consequences of climate change are visible everywhere, including Iowa.

“Weather patterns have become more variable and somewhat more extreme — warmer

warms and colder colds and especially, wetter wets,” Glisan said. “The frequency of hotter and longer duration heat waves has been increasing and … is projected to continue on this trend into the near-future.”

Today, people need to stay aware of their impact on the environment. The planet is continuing to warm and the weather is getting more extreme.

“If the damage done to the Earth is great enough, humans and many other species will go extinct,” Young said.