52nd annual Earth Day shows hope for the future

A promotional graphic for the Earth Day fair (featured above) hosted at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds.

A promotional graphic for the Earth Day fair (featured above) hosted at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds.

Makena Moore, Opinions Editor

On April 22, over a billion people worldwide came together to celebrate the 52nd annual Earth Day. Recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, people around the globe use Earth Day to demand policy changes concerning our planet and educate others about sustainable practices.

As the climate crisis continues to grow in urgency, so does the fight to combat its effects. The number of organizations, events and followers dedicated to protecting the planet has heavily increased alongside the growth of the modern climate movement. 

The Piedmont Environmental Alliance is an organization which educates and empowers our community to create a healthier, more sustainable environment. The PEA held an Earth Day Fair  at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds filled with music, food and environmental education. This event was an excellent way for families to spend Earth Day.

There are many different sustainable practices that you could adopt in honor of this past Earth Day. Many different methods are really quite easy to implement in your daily life.

Consider buying clothes secondhand, whether that be from a thrift store, online retailer such as Depop and Facebook Marketplace or even a neighbor. Continue this cycle when you are ready to part with a clothing piece as well. This practice prevents the spread of fast fashion, which is the practice of selling mass produced clothing at inexpensive rates. Fast fashion is made possible by companies underpaying their employees and having little care of their working conditions.

Fast fashion is one of the highest polluting industries in the world from the production of the garments, the toxic chemicals within the fabric and the short lifespan of the pieces that end up in landfills. 

Spend some time learning about recycling. According to National Geographic, about 91 percent of recycled plastic doesn’t actually get recycled. By researching which items can and cannot be recycled in your area, incidents of incorrect recycling should decrease.

Food contamination on different packaging items prevents large batches of recyclables from being recycled. Additionally, when items that cannot be recycled are placed in a recycling bin, they are often put in landfills or end up washed into the ocean. Both of those outcomes result in pollution of our planet.

If you like to cook, plan to start a garden as the warm weather becomes consistent. Earth Day may be the perfect time to start. Gardening is an excellent hobby to make you feel closer to nature. By adding a compost pile or bin, you are both improving the health of your soil and cutting methane emissions from landfills. Methane is a prominent greenhouse gas, which is a large contributor to global warming.

Finally, if you are looking for something simple to do in celebration of Earth Day, just spend some time outside. Maybe make an effort to walk or bike instead of driving that day. Along your way, pick up and dispose of any litter and trash that you see. To make an even bigger difference, organize a group of neighbors to clean up your neighborhood. Not only will Mother Nature thank you, but it’ll look significantly cleaner as well.

Earth is our only home, no matter how many billionaires think that they could make it to Mars. Earth Day is a day not only to educate and push for change in governmental policies and human habits, but also to reflect on all the positive steps that have been made towards a more healthy planet.

By taking small steps everyday and realizing that Day 1 doesn’t mean immediately being zero waste, we can combat climate change. As unfortunate and awful as it is, it has most definitely made all of Earth’s inhabitants cherish this beautiful planet.