Our interns this year were asked to write about how they celebrated Earth Day and the effort they made to make a change this year. Follow along with us as we discover how our interns invested in Earth!
Elimination of Single-Use Plastics – Alyssa Barton
Earth Day can be celebrated in so many ways! No matter the way it is celebrated, Earth Day is meant to remind us how important it is to take care of our planet. By choosing greener products or reusing products we already own, we can help the environment a little at a time.
This Earth Day, I strived to eliminate all single-use plastics in my house. I did not throw them out, I gifted them to my sister who still uses them so they did not just all end up in the landfill all at once. By striving to replace single-use plastics in my house, I have found alternatives as simple as taking metal utensils for packed lunches and using small glass containers instead of plastic baggies for snacks. Although I started this on Earth Day, I have kept up with the trend and I hope to continue it for as long as possible. Hopefully, by next Earth Day, I will be a year successful in removing single-use plastics from my house and I will be able to find another way to decrease my impact on the Earth or help contribute to making it healthier.
Another lifestyle change I made this Earth Day was to commit to using public transportation. As a commuter student, I used to drive to campus at least five times a week. When I found out my school offers free bus passes for students, I decided to begin to use the bus to commute to school every day. Not only does this save me money but it prevents having another car on the road polluting the air just for one person to drive to campus. I’m hoping to continue this commuting trend for as long as I am a student.
Earth Day can consist of helping the environment for the day or making a lifestyle change to help better the environment. However, it is celebrated and helps us get to the goal of becoming greener one step at a time. No matter how small the change or action is on Earth Day, the most important thing is to celebrate and give back to the environment in some way. Happy Earth Day!
Appreciating the Earth – Ayanna Cooper
This year on April 22nd, 2022, I spent additional time giving my plants a little more TLC, letting some natural light into my place, and eventually going on a little walk to take in the sun a bit more—something I appreciate daily from sunrise to sunset.
This year I also found myself scrolling through social media to see what other people were up to as well along with which companies were participating and how. I enjoyed looking at all of the collage-like post or photo dumps that people shared of the trees, plants, and the overall environment they were spending time in to celebrate Earth Day. Seeing how many people were uniting to celebrate and bring awareness to environmental issues brought me so much joy. While I do see differences being made daily, it’s always nice to see others taking the pledge to become more aware!
Picnic in the Park – Alex Lemen
Earth Day has always held a special place in my heart. As someone who has enjoyed being outside and who has loved and valued nature my entire life, an entire day dedicated to the appreciation and celebration of the Earth means so much to me.
This year, we were so lucky to have great weather in Cincinnati. I spent a large portion of my day outside, enjoying the sunshine. My partner and I made a picnic and sat in a park, taking in the beautiful scenery of trees, a lake, and all of the pollinators that were buzzing about. It was a beautiful day that I will always cherish.
I decided that I wanted to get more involved with planting trees and flowers specifically for pollinators in my community. While we have many gardens and parks, I feel there has been a lacking of plants that benefit these crucial creatures. I have started to construct a plan for a “pollination station” at both my apartment complex and at local parks.
We need to ensure that we are doing all that we can to keep our planet clean and beautiful.
Reducing Emissions on Earth Day – Valerie Smoliakova
For the celebration of Earth Day, my ideas included avoiding utilizing cars for transportation and showering for over 10 minutes. I successfully followed both rules for the entire day, walking to a nearby coffee shop to study and showering for only around 8 minutes.
To be honest, it was a bit difficult not to use my car, but I’m glad that I did it just to prove to myself that I do not need to depend on it. Even though the rules I followed that day were very minuscule in the grand scheme, it was fun to follow these rules and know that I do not necessarily need to always use my car or shower for more than 10 minutes.
This Intern Took a Bus – Zoe Laub
This Earth Day, I celebrated by taking the bus in Los Angeles. I live about 500 feet from a bus stop that can take me from Downtown Los Angeles to Glendale and connects directly to a light rail system which I frequently use to travel to the city of Pasadena, 15 miles away. Despite many Angeleno’s negative perceptions of public transportation, I hope we can transition away from car culture as more people become aware of our environmental impact on Earth Day and every other.
Why don’t more people use the bus?
Earth Day shouldn’t be the only time we think about car culture’s impact on our environment. However, using public transportation is something that many in the United States would never consider despite many other countries making great use of bus and rail systems.
In the early 20th century, car prices dropped dramatically post WWI, and freeway projects received large dollar amounts from the federal government. As a result, transportation systems’ ridership rapidly declined, and growing cities such as Los Angeles developed around the private car. At the time, most couldn’t predict the repercussions this would have on the environment.
History of transportation in Los Angeles
By the mid-20th century, Los Angeles was the car capital of America, known for its horrible air pollution problem. The city of Los Angeles went from having one of the largest early light-rail systems in the world to having smog so severe that you were often unable to see the San Gabriel Mountains from the city, let alone its urban sprawl. In 1950, Cal Tech scientist Arie Haagen-Smit determined that the car boom and hot, sunny climate were to blame for the smog, mainly made up of emissions from the vehicles zooming down the 405 and past rows of palm trees.
How LA Metro celebrates Earth Day every day
Today Los Angeles is working to get back to its light rail beginnings to supplement the bus systems that resulted from their initial destruction. Multiple projects are underway to expand the Metro rail system, including a rail connection to LAX, but bus transportation remains essential for many Angelenos.
The environmental impact of buses is also much less than if each rider used a private car for their commute, with even seven passengers in a gas-powered bus being more fuel-efficient than the average single-occupant vehicle. LA Metro’s CNG-powered clean-air fleet also happens to be the largest bus service in the country to move toward zero-emission.
Taking the LA Metro feels rewarding both for the pocket and the Earth. With fares costing $1.75 for most rides and gas prices soaring, many of my car-owning friends have begun to take advantage of the Metro. Hopefully, as construction advances and ridership become more normalized, Angelenos can inspire other cities to invest in clean-air transportation systems as well.
Happy Earth Day 2022! Here’s to a future where we celebrate 364 more per year.
Want to learn more about Earth Day?
Ecolink has many resources about Earth day and eco-friendly practices at your disposal. To learn more about Earth Day over the years, click here to discover more!