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Guest Column: Do your part this Earth Week

This coming Earth Week is going to be the best one yet as it will be accompanied by a series of events such as a “trash art” competition, “eco-talks”, a garden party, documentary screenings, trivia night, and much more! From educational events, to artful activities, it is exciting that there will be a venue for everyone to plug-in to. But I’d like to push the envelope even further. This is a call to action for all students. This Earth Week, don’t just celebrate it, defend it!

The first thing people can do for the Earth is stop buying things they do not need! The generic narrative of Earth Day ads on TV call for individuals to “buy green!” and purchase more “things” that are “sustainable,” Unfortunately, that plastic water bottle made with 75% less plastic in the cap will not be the earth’s saving grace. That tote bag made out of reusable materials still promotes more of the problem at hand … consumerism. Hate to break it to ya’, but green capitalism is still capitalism. As people pursue these avenues in attempt to “go green,” in the meantime, thousands of gallons of tar sands oil just spilled into Lake Michigan.

So, what else do we do? Over 50 percent of the current species list is predicted to be extinct by 2050. Bodies of water are being contaminated, and the water that is left is being privatized, sold, and bought. Activists are being imprisoned while those doing the damage remain free. Quite frankly, we need to act as if our lives depend on it, because they do!

The world is getting scary, and my second piece of advice is to fight where you stand. No need to travel anywhere and fight hunger, or other environmental issues. There is much to be done where you reside. Even little acts of participating in local food initiatives (shout out, Campus Grow) are great ways to get started with localization, and become less dependent of mass agriculture.

My last piece of advice here is to “agitate, educate, and organize!” Get involved with a campus group or RSO that strives for connecting environmental issues to larger social justice issues. Student Environmental Alliance is a great avenue to start with. However, bringing Earth Week to an end will be the “Take Back the Tap Fights Back: Day of Action” – A march across campus where students will be hand delivering letters to the Purchase and Contracting Office to support Take Back the Tap’s initiative of ending the sales of bottled water on campus.

Whether your strength is organizing campaigns, farming, gardening, communicating to others, educating, or anything else, the time is now to plug-in.

“Neutrality means that you don't really care, ‘cause the struggle goes on even when you're not there.” – Rise Against

Mariah Urueta, Student Government Association vice president