April 22: Hoping For a Better Tomorrow

Alara Walcott, Staff Writer

Earth Day is a worldwide event celebrating the earth and all it has done to support its inhabitants. Dating back to 1970, many dedicated environmentalists, advocates, and everyday citizens banded together to create a crowd that represented nearly 10 percent of the world’s population at that time. These people, united by a need to protect our planet, demonstrated their fears and their hopes to the rest of the world. More than 50 years later, we recognize, now more than ever, the importance of collaboration as we strive to restore our planet earth. 

As the modern era has come into full view, conversationalists, environmentalists, and researchers are beginning to understand the past and the future of the planet we live on. While some reach for the stars in this time of crisis, others stay grounded and approach our environmental issues head-on. Earth Day is in remembrance and celebration of not only the natural world, but also those who have fought for its preservation. 

Having researched chimpanzees in the wild for decades on end, Jane Goodall is one of many qualified experts to speak out on our issues. Disheartened yet altruistic, Goodall says this of our most pressing concerns: “None of us can do it alone. It’s quite ridiculous. We need every single organization that cares about the future of the planet to get together and to work out ways that we can share these small pools of money available, and find ways of lobbying those billionaires who have so much money to help us so that we don’t have to fight and squabble over funding.” Goodall directs this statement at those who could help, but believe there is more profit in contributing to the problem at hand. Within this statement, many of us can concur and look to our wealthiest to solve all our problems, but it is much more simply said than done. In the meantime, there are always shortcuts to a healthier environment we can contribute towards. 

Students and teachers alike have made a push to welcome environmental issues into our curriculums. Students are more conscious than ever about their choices. Freshman Nina Nowak says,“I have participated in school activities on Earth Day. I don’t litter, and I try to donate small amounts here and there to some environmental-esque groups.” Nowak later implied that the presence of social media has influenced her donations. Without a doubt, social media has made these contributions quite effortless, but as with most platforms, there are other motivations surrounding Earth Day. Many companies have taken to social media to advertise their product along with Earth Day, and not all in good taste. Having come across a couple Earth Day centered product placements, senior Chandler Tuupo has this to say: “A lot of ads can be distasteful. I would say any that are promoting their goods more than promoting the holiday are distasteful.” 

Along with social media, the sanctity of Earth Day can be torn down by countries at war, as we have witnessed these last few months. The current wellbeing of Ukraine and Russia’s natural environment is declining quickly as the area is ravaged by troops, explosions, and all kinds of militaristic equipment. Large scale operations are beginning to tackle the scope of destruction, but it is no easy task. 

All large scale environmental projects in recent years have taken an immense amount of research, collaboration, and wealth to execute properly. It becomes hard to grasp the issues these projects are undertaking, not only on a physical map, but for the amount of effort put in. Students such as junior Shelby Runje weigh in: “[If I had no constraints] I would probably plan a large-scale initiative to displace pollution in the ocean and in landfills,” but like Runje, we can only hope for the best from those who are in charge. 

For those in charge, the task still remains daunting. Smaller organizations with a passion for environmental care have made great strides while educating others. Schools such as The Green School in Bali, Indonesia are educating their students with a nature-based curriculum, as well as implementing biofuel and classrooms constructed entirely from bamboo. Similarly, working with sustainable renovation, London architect Harry Paticas founded the The Retrofit Action for Tomorrow initiative. Working with five London schools, Paticas is not only erecting new classrooms, but building a social enterprise supporting sustainable renovations. The initiative could end up reducing energy use by 90 percent, cutting heating bills and emissions costs. 

When we look to the future of our earth, it remains crucial to keep in mind and educate our younger generations. Although our younger generations were not around to see a cleaner environment, it does not take an expert to know something is wrong, as sophomore Ahmad Jallow alludes to: “I hear about lots of pollution in oceans and on land. I see a lot of trash just in our city of Issaquah.” As he implies, pollution will be relative depending on where you live or travel, but it is no secret we are seeing more ignorance in our populous cities. 

As we round the corner into an environmental crisis, it is important to remember the good just as much as the bad. The news can move from a heartwarming environmental rescue to an environmental crisis, and back and forth again. Social media, corporations, and world leaders can give conflicting views of the issues at hand, but taking interest in the matter is a first step in the right direction. Adopting sustainable habits, as well as remaining aware of the crisis we are facing and aware of ourselves, is the best any one of us can do. For now, we look toward the stars in hope of being able to see them in the night sky for years to come.