Environmental awareness fosters behavior changes

April is the month most associated with environmentalism and “green” efforts because of Arbor Day and Earth Day.

Arbor Day was established in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and resulted in nearly 1 million trees being planted. By 1920, each state in the U.S. had an Arbor Day date for their state. The national Arbor Day is the last Friday in April.

The Earth Day we now celebrate was established in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a national teach-in on issues concerning the environment, and marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

Environmentalism has been around since the Industrial Revolution, when pollution from the factories began to garner attention. In the 1970s, the “tree-hugger” movement was influenced by Gandhi, and was organized as a peaceful resistance to deforestation with people literally hugging trees. Environmentalists have begun to deal with new problems, and the new wave of opposition to them, on issues such as global warming and genetic engineering.

The global warming phenomenon is still highly debated, especially in the United States. Congress is highly polarized on this issue, with one end supporting energy efficiency efforts and the other focusing on energy that’s available now, despite the possible side effects.

The Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970 by then-President Richard Nixon. Its duties are to enforce regulations based on laws passed in Congress concerning human and environmental health issues. Recent environmental problems are currently a cause for contention; the EPA is too often in the middle of a political tug-of-war concerning its regulations.

Arbor Day, Earth Day and other dates related to environmentalism, bring attention to the problems facing the Earth, such as pollution, destruction of the ozone and oceans, and of the loss of natural environments the world over. Eco Clubs are a great way to make a small dent in a large problem, and can be used to encourage the organization of a recycling drives, and buying organic foods as opposed to processed and buying second hand clothing.

RSC has its own eco club, the Go Green Club. It offers information on economical, ecological and social systems and they plan activities that encourage energy conservation and pollution reduction on campus.

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