The power of going green

Ava Hunt, News Editor

As Lady Bird Johnson, an American socialite and former first lady of the United States, once said, “The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” Each year on April 22, countries around the world come together to celebrate Earth Day, which honors the anniversary of the origin of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The climate change emergency has sparked even more interest in this holiday and global leaders continue to use this day to promote a cleaner Earth and climate. Over one billion people take action for the environment each Earth Day, including people here in the local community and around the world. On March 2, at the fifth session of the United Nations EnvironmentAssemblyinNairobi, Kenya, world leaders passed a landmark resolution that works to end plastic pollution and make an international legally binding agreement to outlaw plastic pollution by 2024. The End Plastic Pollution Resolution recognizes the life cycle of plastic from its source to the oceans and works to decrease the amount of plastic pollution piling up per year, which is currently around 300 million tons. Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), states that this agreement is, “the most important international multilateral environmental deal since the Paris Climate Accords.” Local leaders and activists are also taking steps to encourage a cleaner Earth. On April 23, the Cedar Rapids community celebrated the holiday through EcoFest, an Earth Day festival which was held at NewBo City Market. This event was planned by non-profit environmental and art groups in the local community. They held numerous events throughout the day, including a yoga session with instructor Jasmine Dennis at 10 a.m. and a nature and forest therapy walk at 1 p.m. The event also included the Green Homes recognition, which is a recognition of the top-performing neighborhoods in the Green Homes program, a program that celebrates sustainability. The EcoFest organization gives information regarding the purpose of this event. “EcoFest helps us connect our personal choices to individual, community and planetary sustainability,” an EcoFest representative said. Additionally, the Xavier community is making steps towards a greener Earth for Earth Day. The Xavier EcoSaints are holding an electronic recycling campaign from April 14-29. They have partnered with the Detroit Zoological Society and Gorilla SAFE to promote this project. Recycling electronics is seen as important to some as it reduces the amount of damaging materials being sent to land fills. By partnering with Gorilla SAFE, this drive will also raise money for African gorilla conservation projects. Senior Jaleah Klein, one of the officers of EcoSaints, gives insight into the purpose of holding this drive. “We wanted to do this drive because recycling is super important and especially for electronics,” Klein said. “By recycling them, it reduces the need for the mining of new materials which aids in destroying the environment. We wanted to do anything we can to help break the cycle.” As people around the world and in the community are taking steps towards a cleaner Earth for Earth Day, make sure to get involved and contribute to the movement.