Earth Day; How to Help the Environment

Mandy Holmes, Editor

Earth day is a global event held annually on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It has been held for 52 years and is celebrated in over 190 countries. With the threat of climate change looming, it’s important to be conscious of the environment for future generations. As they say, there is no ‘Planet B’, and man-made advancements, specifically industrial and corporate actions, over the past 200 years are directly contributing to our planet’s demise. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help reduce waste and start being more environmentally aware.

In the United States, approximately 32% of overall waste is recycled. That might seem like a lot, but when compared to over 280 million tons of waste produced, this number is quite low. In America, there is no national law that mandates recycling. This is different from many other first-world countries, particularly those in Europe. In Germany, up to 55% of their waste overall is recycled.

It can be hard to alter your daily routine, but there are many simple steps you can take to start being environmentally conscious. Recycling can be done in the home, by creating designated bins for papers and plastics. This is a good start, and the following can be done to reduce waste: using reusable Tupperware and metal straws, composting, shopping at thrift/second-hand stores, using reusable bags and drink bottles, among other things can really help the planet. 

Planting a garden can also be a great activity, as the plants taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen can better the air. Taking initiative outside the home can also help; if you notice there are no recycling bins in public places, bring it up with the local government. If there’s none in your workplace, talk to the boss about it. Students can bring it up with school administrators, and advocate for better promotion of recycling. 

Fauquier County could do a better job of promoting recycling in their schools. As little kids, we were always told to put recyclables in designated bins and they got collected. Now in high school, we don’t even have labeled recycling bins. There are none in the lunchroom or bathrooms. If our schools could make a better effort, this could help locally, as the excess waste affects the environment, pollution, and landfill nearby. 

Taking care of the environment is a group effort, and anyone can help make a positive impact. I mean, the average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper a year. That’s a lot of wasted paper! To learn how to help more, for more resources. Happy Earth Day!