What Planet Earth Means to Me

Jasmine Judge, Design Editor

With Earth Day having happened on April 22, I have been forced to travel back to my childhood and reflect on what this day and this planet mean to me. Almost every little girl’s dream is to travel the world. Growing up, my family was fortunate enough to travel to places as far as the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Canada and Hawaii among other beautiful places. While traveling to these places showed me the beauty of Earth, it also made me recognize the harsh reality of how endangered our planet is.

In the past century, humans have exploited Earth’s resources and taken them for granted. As the seconds go by, our oil reserves run closer to dry, the atmosphere becomes more toxic and oceans overflow with melted ice. Each year, billions of habitats are lost and species vital to our ecosystems are pushed closer and closer to the brink of extinction.

Since the start of civilization and the urbanization of society, the global number of trees has decreased by 46%. Deforestation destroys billions of forests across the globe, increasing the number of carbon emissions that remains in the atmosphere. As a result, humans are at risk of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, as well as the possibility of premature death.

Despite these undeniable facts, climate change continues to be a political issue within almost every nation. In the United States, the Democrat-Republican divide on environmentalism utterly contradicts Earth Day’s foundations. In 1966, former Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Clean Air Restoration Act, and only a few years later, Republican President Richard Nixon signed both the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

In other words, environmental advocacy was built on bipartisan support and the ability of separate parties to work together via bipartisan efforts on a common issue. In order to save Earth, we must realize that what happens to the planet affects us all, and that constant political discourse plays no part in enforcing real change.

Repeatedly, scientists have stated that humans have roughly until 2050 to reach net-zero carbon emissions in order for Earth to veer off the path of catastrophe. Let us use the time we have left to fix our mistakes and leave the world a better place for generations to come.