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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Earth Day a chance for conservation

 
 

People around the world are making efforts to respect and replenish the Earth.
Earth Day will be celebrated Tuesday in all 50 states of the U.S. and in 192 countries, said John Maleri, associate director of Earth Day Network.
The Environmental Issues Committee and Texas A&M Information Technology are recognizing the 44th annual Earth Day by holding an e-waste recycling campaign, to properly dispose of electronic devices.
Lacey Baze, Class of 2006 and communications coordinator for Texas A&M IT, said disposing of e-waste improperly could have serious effects on the environment.
“If you throw away things like computers, cellphones, any kind of electronic device, batteries, ink cartridges, toxic materials from them leak into the land and end up in the water supply,” Baze said.
The repercussions of improper disposal of e-waste not only have the potential to harm animals, Baze said, but also to harm people.
“All the freshwater fish, all the animals that drink from the rivers and lakes we have here in Texas and across the United States – we don’t want them drinking toxic water,” Baze said. “This is in addition to us. A lot of our water supply comes from those sources as well.”
Victoria Benson, director of programming for the Environmental Issues Committee and junior psychology major, said college students can significantly impact environmental awareness and conservation by just taking the steps to get involved.
“I feel like college students are one of the biggest untapped resources when it comes to making big changes for our country,” Benson said. “That is especially true when it comes to the environment. We are such a large population and we have such a strong voice, we just don’t always use it.”
It was a mentality of speaking up that spurred Gaylord Nelson to found Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Maleri said Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, was moved to action after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. Maleri said Nelson saw the potential in college students to make a change.
“Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda,” Maleri said.
The date, April 22, was chosen specifically with college students in mind, Maleri said.
“Senator Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as ‘an environmental teach-in,'” Maleri said. “He determined the week of April 19-25 was the best bet as it did not fall during exams or spring breaks.”
Although the methods of participation have changed, the core mission of Earth Day has remained the same, Maleri said.
“Whether it is a local trash clean-up event or a tree planting effort, Earth Day has always been embodied by the events and individuals who participate,” Maleri said. “The issues and means by which people joined have changed over time. In 1970, Earth Day participants got involved in local events to help improve the treatment of the natural world in their community or area. In 2014, individuals can join a digital campaign through the power of social media to connect with environmental actions all over the world.”
Benson said issues challenged then are still relevant today, but are addressed on a much more personal level than simply on a political platform.
“I’ve seen more people take things into account on a personal level like, ‘I’m going to grow my own herbs, I am going to be more conscious about what I am buying and where it is coming from,'” Benson said.
Earth Day will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in Rudder Plaza.

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