On Oct. 26, Dr. Sarah Parsons’ Environmental Science class took a few hours out of their busy Saturday to help create a new hiking trail. The trail, named Mountains To Sea, will cover miles of land beginning in the Appalachian Mountains and going all the way to the Outer Banks. Much of the trail already exists, but there is still a long way to go in completing the entire route. The class’ participation is in honor of Dr. Erin Lindquist, a Meredith biology professor who passed away in the summer of 2019. Her love for the outdoors and the environment prompted this day of trailblazing, giving Dr. Parsons’ class along with others the perfect opportunity to simply go out and appreciate the outdoors.
taking in the overwhelming joy that nature brings to humans is an aspect I see as crucial in the current fight against the climate crisis. As far as I can tell, the only thing someone needs to make a difference is an appreciation for any small thing in nature. David Gessner, an environmental scientist, wrote a book called My Green Manifesto. An important point he discusses in the book, which can practically summarize his idea on how every person should go about protecting the environment, is the emotion that comes with the human experience of nature. He implores his audience to fall in love with something in nature, anything at all, and fight for it. I think that this approach can turn anyone into an environmentalist. This being said, there is an importance to expressing that love and making a change, so what exactly can the regular person do to be an everyday environmentalist?
The United States is a significant contributor to the climate crisis because of our excessive use of fossil fuels that creates greenhouse gases. The top three activities that cause the greatest amount of emissions are transportation, electricity production and industry use. 79% of the U.S. emissions in 2017 came from these three sectors, so what can we do about it?
Because transportation is the largest contributor to emissions, switching to greener ways to travel is critical in the future of our world. On a small scale, taking the bus or carpooling to work may sound uncomfortable, but it is a small sacrifice in the face of much bigger problems down the road. For cities that are not as connected or do not have these transportation systems, routing money towards the establishment and upkeep of these systems would be useful.
Electricity production can be altered at a personal level by buying energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. Other energy-saving products are out there, so you might as well invest. Opting to pay for electricity from companies that use solar power or other renewable resources as their main power sources is another great way to help. This is not practical for everyone, but expressing concerns to companies, especially when it comes from a paying customer, will always have at least a small effect.
When considering industry, it is crucial to express concerns to companies that are proven to burn excessive fossil fuels. Considering that the regular citizen doesn’t have much power over these giant companies, the customers of those companies will have more control over what they do. If the company is proven to know the consequences of their actions and still do nothing about it, customers may begin to question their loyalty. Legislation will always be the best way to concretely and forcefully change our ways, even if it requires immense sacrifice. If the people of Earth could see how our world might look in one hundred years at this rate, people might begin to accept those sacrifices a little faster
A single human who loves their natural surroundings can do little alone. To achieve the greater goal of saving the Earth, it takes millions, so spread the word and scream it into existence. The louder the better; it just might save us.
By Liz Sharpe, Contributing Writer