The Daily Gamecock

Earth Day shines light on sustainability efforts

From the scenery of Bondi Beach in Australia to the peacefulness of the South Carolina mountains, nearly everyone has a favorite place on Earth. 

This year's Earth Day holiday is on Thursday, and third-year operations and supply management and global studies student Hannah Pribanic said she believes there might not be a possibility to restore Earth with the existing climate change damage. 

2021’s Earth Day is themed around restoring the Earth

Fourth-year biomedical engineering student Thomas Poteat said he believes people must be conscious of climate issues and focus on slowing the effects of climate change. 

Others, such as third-year geography and global studies student Claire Windsor, are more optimistic. 

“I feel like we've hit a point where people were realizing we've hit certain deadlines to really start responding to action,” Windsor said. 

Earth Day celebrations, which have been happening since 1970, vary across the board, according to Windsor. She said the best way to show appreciation for the Earth is "to be immersed in it."  

Spending the day surrounded by nature is important in a world that has become digitized, due largely in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Assistant Director for Student Engagement in the Office of Sustainability Grace Kazmierski.

Some strive to celebrate the Earth year-round by putting sustainability to practice in their daily lives. 

“At this point in my life, it's become such a sustained part of my life and my lifestyle and my beliefs that, you know, it doesn't even feel that special anymore because I kind of do this all year long,” Pribanic said. “I'm living on these things everyday. I'm trying to educate people all year.”

Sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” Kazmierski said. 

Windsor calls on USC to reevaluate and refocus energy use in addition to transportation in large initiatives to “mitigate different effects of climate change.” 

While large efforts are important, Kazmierski said a key part in the fight against climate change is recognizing the social aspects of sustainability and the economic and environmental aspects. 

Because convenience is prioritized over sustainability, "sometimes it's just not possible, especially as college students, you know, to afford a sustainable purchase rather than fast fashion, to be able to afford organic or locally sourced fruits and vegetables,” Kazmierski said.

However, using less water, walking instead of driving and turning off lights are all ways in which students' individual actions can positively impact the preservation of the planet, according to Windsor. 

Following environmental activists on social media and being conscious about corporations' actions are good ways to gain a global perspective on the effects of climate change, according to Kazmierski. 

Eliminating single-use plastic and being conscious of personal food waste are also easy efforts, according to Poteat, who coordinates the Zero Waste project. 

Earth Day culminates all that has been achieved and all that will be achieved in the hopes of saving the only Earth there is, Windsor said. 

Eco Reps, Sierra Club Student Coalition, Net Impact and the Carolina Beekeeping Club along with other organizations will celebrate Earth Day through a collaborative effort during “Green on Greene” events happening from April 19 to April 23. 

These events will focus on sustainable and local purchasing on Thursday and will focus on getting students outdoors on Friday. 


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