How to help the environment, contribute to positive change on Earth Day

Morgan-Taylor Thomas

After 3-million gallons of oil spilled in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson decided to combine the anti-war efforts of college students with his ongoing consciousness about pollution. From there, he created a team of leaders for campus teach-ins, dedicated to issues such as the harmful effects of industrialization and mass production, according to the official Earth Day site.  

Fifty-two years later, Nelson’s Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 around the globe, bringing together like-minded people to spread awareness about the deterioration of Earth. The theme of 2021’s celebration is “Restore Our Earth.” Focused on revitalizing the Earth’s ecosystems through “natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking,” Earth Day is needed now more than ever. 

The Daily Texan has compiled a list of four actions you can take to help keep our home healthy and balanced. 

Compost

It can be hard as college students to find the time, money or space to go the extra sustainable mile. Yet, miniature compost bins are perfect for small areas, and an easy way for students to practice sustainability. There are sites all over Austin where students can donate compost. 

Also, it’s important to know what can and can’t be composted. The city of Austin’s sustainability district produced an informative page about how to properly dispose of specific materials. 

Educate

EarthDay.org, the official website of Earth Day, will be having a day full of virtual workshops, panel discussions and special performances related to topics such as climate and environmental literacy, regenerative agriculture, equity and environmental justice. 

Another way to learn more about the negative effects of human living habits is through environmental documentaries. The four-year production of “Our Planet,” which can be found on Netflix, dives into life in the Earth’s oceans, rainforests, wetlands and drylands. Amazon Prime’s “This Changes Everything” is a searing arraignment of the irreparable damages to the environment, and how those impairments have affected low-income populations and continue to put the Earth at a higher risk of destruction. 

Eliminate

It’s vital to be conscious about which daily non reusable products have reusable alternatives. Although these actions seem small, using a reusable water bottle, straw, cutlery, bags and masks can help reduce the world’s pollution crisis. 

For example, let’s say someone drinks four plastic water bottles a day. That’s 28 plastic bottles a week and 1,456 plastic bottles a year. 

Explore

Austin is fortunate enough to have more than 32 walking, biking and hiking trails.Take a friend or pet and hit the ground running. 

To see which trail may be the best fit for you, check out this detailed guide to all 32 plus trails, their locations, distances and more. Oh, and they’re all free!