April, or Earth Month, has left us for another year, but its purpose and value should continue be reflected.
A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a name that’s been popping up a lot lately in recent news and social media, states that there is “95 percent certainty that humans are the ‘dominant cause’ of global warming since the 1950s.”
The report then continues to outline that, as a result, ice caps are melting and Arctic sea ice is collapsing, water supplies in many places are coming under stress while heavy rains are intensifying in already inundated locations. The coral reefs are dying and many fish are migrating toward the polar regions and in some cases are in danger of becoming extinct. According to The New York Times, the oceans are rising at a rate that poses threats for coastal areas and are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide which is killing and stunting the growth of plants and animals.
We can change, but we have to want to change.
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated. Created as means of reverting focus and perception on environmental issues, the tradition of Earth Day and Earth Month the meaning and purpose of Earth month is progressively transcending beyond the confines of the month of April.
The mentality of so many forward-thinking people and institutions strive on a daily basis to ensure that quality and optimism are balanced with the realism of climate-related risks, challenges, and threats. Just in my short time here, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting to and working with so many strong and passionate organizations such as Groundwork Hudson Valley, The Bronx Botanical Gardens, The Bronx River Alliance, The Riverdale Nature Preservancy, as well as many others.
I have seen Manhattan College’s mentality change. With the introduction of Manhattan College Green Club by Nathan Hunter’14 in 2013, the creation of the Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES), the stimulation of the Sustainability Committee, and increased awareness and concern from the various student bodies, there is room for improvement and basis established to grow.
Our environment, our earth, and our connection to nature is vital. So I leave you with three points of advice given to me and learned by my professors, mentors, and peers throughout my college experience:
Seeing things through a new perspective.
College is a time of change. You won’t be the same person when you leave, as when you enter. You will be (hopefully) stronger, wiser and possess a more well-rounded perspective of yourself and others. It’s incredibly important to approach the issues surrounding the environment through lens of progression, and in many ways, optimism. Although it is can be acknowledged that the overbearing and overwhelming implications of climate issues, energy debates and other injustices are grand, so is your ability to think “outside of the box,” and develop concise observations and resulting opinions.
If you’re not passionate about anything, you’ll achieve nothing. We live in a time where just one blog, one tweet, one text message can completely change people look at the world. Bringing the environment into conversation, getting your hands dirty, working together, attending a Green Club meeting, are all small steps, but they are ones taken in the right direction.
Never stop learning. Education and experience are the roots to wisdom. The moment you deprive yourself of or regret a learning experience, you are doing yourself a grave injustice. Read, write, interact, socialize and embrace change. The world and you are not constructed off stagnant knowledge. You are revolving, just as the earth revolves. It is important to ensure that you are not only relevant, but progressive.
John Muir once stated, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
To see nature in the fullest is to see your place in the world. Take that power, harness it, and make a difference in the world!