Earth Day is a day of observance that some people couldn’t care less about, but others take time on Earth Day to reflect on how to help preserve our Earth.
This year, April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. According to the Earth Day Network, “Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy.”
There has been a recent push for society to go green and do their part to be more environmentally friendly. Fairmont High School also is doing its part to create a more earth-friendly environment.
A new science class called IB Environmental Systems and Societies was added to Fairmont’s Course of Studies in 2009. Pat Fife teaches the class. “The emphasis is on sustainable living,” said Fife. “We study ecosystems, how human activity affects ecosystems, biodiversity, energy resources and climate change.”
Fife, the Science Department chair, believes keeping the Earth clean is important, and she has advice on how to be more environmentally friendly. “There are so many things we can do,” she said. “Limiting how much you drive, using energy-efficient appliances in your house and making sure your house is well-insulated are all ways to help the environment.”
Fife also encourages students to look at alternative sources of energy, such as wind-powered and solar energy. “Our society needs to move away from using fossil fuels. Coal is the dirtiest thing for the environment we could use,” she said.
Fife stressed that if people voice their concerns, they can make a difference and changes can be made on a larger scale to help keep the Earth clean.
Earth Corps Adviser Molly Merrill agrees. “It is important for kids to realize that every little bit counts,” she said. “Many people turn away from going green because they think they will have to change their whole lifestyle. But really, just doing little things like using less electricity and recycling make a huge impact.”
Students make a world of difference
Earth Corps is a club at Fairmont that helps the environment by doing service projects. The group also goes on hikes to enjoy nature. For Earth Day this year, Earth Corps is working with Five Rivers Metroparks to adopt a park to help clean up. “Last year, we collaborated with the City of Kettering and many other groups to plant 1,000 trees on Earth Day,” said Merrill.
Earth Corps usually does one big service project every year. Merrill said the projects vary from year to year, depending on what the group wants to do and is more passionate about. “One year, the group was really into endangered animals, so we adopted injured manatees and sent money to help them,” said Merrill. “Last year, the group got paper-recycling bins into all the classrooms.”
Merrill believes it’s good for schools to do things, such as recycling, that will help the environment. “It is important to encourage that mindset in school, because then it will become a habit for students in their everyday lives.”
Sophomore Erin Koehler agrees that every little bit counts. “It would help so much if everyone would just recycle and use less water,” said Koehler. “Hopefully Earth Day reminds people to save our resources.”
Green Week comes to Fairmont
The United Student Body is having “Green Week” the week of April 19-23 in honor of Earth Day. “We’re doing this to promote awareness of our environment to Fairmont students,” said USB Vice President Holly Carey, who is on the Green Week Planning Committee.
Among the activities planned is a “Lights Out Day,” when teachers will be encouraged to turn off either one or both sets of lights in their classrooms to conserve electricity. Also, students who bike or walk to school that week will be entered into a raffle to win gift certificates. Recycling bins for each grade will be placed in the cafeteria, and there will be a competition to see which class recycles the most.
Junior Hannah Ortega is looking forward to Green Week. “I think it will be fun to carpool with friends,” said Ortega. “I am happy that Fairmont is taking action to make our world a better place.”