Since 1970, earthlings have marked April 22 as a day to celebrate their planet, both worldwide and on the St. Thomas campus.
Celebrated in 192 countries, Earth Day raises awareness and support for environmental protection. According to Earth Day Network, this year’s focus is “The Face of Climate Change.”
Coordinator of Recycling and Central Receiving Bob Douglas said Earth Day is an important reminder to care for the planet and the local community.
“It’s a recognition of the ecosystem that we live in. If we suffer, the Earth suffers,” Douglas said. “It’s important to take care of the ecosystem of St. Thomas since we live here.”
St. Thomas has scheduled several events to celebrate Earth Week, including tours of the John Roach Center Greenhouse on Monday, a Xcel Energy Windsource program award celebration on the Monahan Plaza Thursday and the annual Mississippi River cleanup on Saturday.
Senior James Wheeler said he thinks Earth Day awareness is low, but should be higher.
“The climate affects all of us. I didn’t even know it was Earth Day,” Wheeler said. “We need more (Earth Day) awareness for sure.”
Sophomore Jessica Chlebeck said she will be making a change for the better this Earth Day.
“I’m going to make a bigger commitment to recycling … I sometimes get lazy with that,” Chlebeck said.
According to a CNN poll, paper accounts for the greatest percentage of total waste in the United States, but it is also the most recycled item. The average American household uses 300 gallons of water daily, and the United States produces 250 million tons of solid waste every year.
Douglas said it is important not to abuse the resources the earth provides.
“(The Earth) yields things like water and food which are essential to our future,” Douglas said. “We can’t use the Earth as a material to be used up.”
Chlebeck said taking care of the Earth is crucial for its future.
“We have to take care of it (the Earth) because it sustains our life and we want it to do that for the future,” Chlebeck said. “The Earth is a gift, and we should treat that way.”
Douglas said Earth Day is an opportunity to re-evaluate and refocus on caring for the planet.
“Earth Day reminds us of our values,” Douglas said. “Our hopes and dreams, as well as the future, depend on our commitment to our planet.”