Earth Day is Over, But Climate Change Isn’t

Protecting the Earth is something that needs to be done throughout the year

(Nicola Kwit)

Growing up, Earth was always my favourite planet. The “blue marble” is home to endless kilometers of deep blue oceans, vivid evergreen forests, and golden deserts.

But lately one thing had been made very clear: we are killing our planet.

I personally didn’t have anything planned for celebrating Earth Day on April 22, though there were events, festivals and parades held across Metro Vancouver. While these are great, in my opinion the best thing one can do in celebration of Earth Day is to keep what it represents fresh in our minds throughout the rest of the year.

So on Earth Day I did something simple to honour the planet: I went for a walk.

My boyfriend and I walked around Vancouver’s False Creek, through Yaletown, over the Granville Street Bridge, and to Granville Island. We got some exercise and avoided putting another vehicle on the streets. But most importantly, we fell in love with the city all over again and were awestruck by its natural beauty.

Between debates about the Site C Dam, the ongoing drama with the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and threats to B.C.’s endangered resident killer whale population, it has undoubtedly been a busy year for environmentalists in British Columbia. Even if you don’t personally believe in climate change—although the evidence is compelling, as “ninety-seven per cent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,” according to NASA—you must still admit that we are doing untold damage to planet Earth.

CNN recently reported that a young sperm whale washed up dead on the coast of Spain due to 64 pounds of waste, mostly plastic, that was found inside of its stomach.

In Australia, multiple news outlets have reported that the Great Barrier Reef is dying, with NPR stating that “the die-off has caused the collapse of the ecosystem for 29 percent of the 3,863 reefs.”

A recent Forbes report revealed that, in 2016, six million people died worldwide due to breathing in polluted air.

When it comes to our environment, doing nothing isn’t really an option you want to gamble on.

If change is to happen, we can’t keep ignoring our promises to focus more on environmentalism, nor can we shuffle the problem down to future generations. Our children and grandchildren shouldn’t have to suffer with a broken planet because we were too selfish to fix the problem ourselves.

I have moved nine times across Canada, coast to coast, and while every province is beautiful in its own way, British Columbia happened to be the first province that truly took my breath away. And I think that’s something worth protecting.

Saving the environment doesn’t just have to be on Earth Day, because there are things we as ordinary citizens can do during the other 364 days of the year. For example, when making our daily runs to Tim Hortons or Starbucks, use reusable mugs and tumblers. Shut the faucet off while brushing your teeth each morning and switch out your home light bulbs for energy efficient ones. Ride public transit in lieu of driving and separate garbage from recyclable items.

These little changes only take a few moments of your time and can even save you money in the long run.

Imagine B.C.’s beautiful landscape engulfed in a raging inferno every summer, plastic waste continuing to choke the wildlife in our oceans, or toxic oil spills polluting the land and water, devastating the environment for years to come.

Just ask yourself: is that the kind of future you want?

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