OPINION: We need to rethink how we celebrate Earth Day


Hannah Nguyen

Our way of celebrating Earth Day needs to change. We have to celebrate Earth Day by taking action.

Year after year, as their way to celebrate Earth Day, people spam their timeline with sunsets from their last vacation or flowers outside their house with the caption “Happy Earth Day.” 

But in honor of the 50th Earth Day this year, we need to do more than that. The celebration of Earth Day is more than an excuse to post all of the sky pictures you saved on your phone. It’s about appreciating the Earth for everything it has to offer, and it starts by being aware of what’s going on.

The majority of us are privileged enough to not see the effects of climate change. The fact that we even have that debate on whether or not it’s real is a privilege. While we sit and scroll through our phones and post meaningless pictures, there are lives suffering from the destruction that we caused. 

We don’t have to be pessimistic about our future; instead, we could acknowledge the wrong and work towards finding the good. We need to understand that we have the power to make positive changes. 

This begins by educating yourself on the world around you. Watch and read the news to see what’s going on. Invest your time to learn about new things. Learn about why climate change is relevant to you and other people through documentaries, books, or Youtube videos. Learn about the topics that revolve around the environment like fast fashion, environmental racism, climate change—there are countless things you could learn about. Be confused and ask questions; you can never stop learning. It’s our duty to know what’s happening around us.

The next step is to take action, but first, work on what you can do. Make small but significant changes in your life. Stop using plastic bags or straws. Start recycling more. Eat less meat throughout the week. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing something. Anything is a start. 

Then, take action by speaking out against those who need to do better. Attend protests and fight for your right for a safer planet. Write emails to businesses or policymakers to make the changes you want to see. Get involved by attending local meetings discussing sustainable initiatives or start one of your own. Vote for change. Raise your voice and be a part of the change; make history happen.

Finally, be patient and educate others. Nobody wants to listen to someone who only criticizes them. People need to know why things are an issue, why it affects them, and what they can do to be better. Recommend them something to read or watch if you can’t find better words to describe why they should care. Be mindful that not everyone understands the same things you do. It’s about the process, not the result.

You don’t have to stop posting your annual spam of sunset photos. I actually encourage you to keep doing it to remind yourself of what we could potentially lose if we don’t do something about it. Make it your motivation to make a difference. 

Earth Day should not be a single day celebrated with Instagram posts, but it should be the beginning of your journey to do your part in helping to save our home.