Protect Our Planet

Each year, Earth Day is a refreshing and necessary reminder to think about the wonder that is our planet. Our Earth gives us gifts of beauty, sustenance, necessity and pleasantry. What I also stop and think about on Earth Day each year is that this human-centeredness stance is harmful.

It is not just about what we get from the Earth - we need to consider what we are giving back. We share this planet with furry friends, creepy crawlers and creatures of the sea. Their role on this planet is just as vital as ours, but as humans we are actively destroying the natural resources our planet has to offer.

Whether you believe in climate change or not, you cannot deny that the Earth was pure before human industry. Nonetheless, in our industry-driven world, there are small ways you can do your part to reduce waste, help our planet and make the future more promising for the generations to come.

Cut the Plastic

This one is on every list when it comes to ideal ways to reduce waste, but it is essential to note how harmful plastic can truly be. With toxic chemicals that can leach into the environment, like our oceans, and the fact that it takes thousands of years to decompose, plastic is the best thing you can reduce your use of. While this can be difficult given the number of food products, medicines, and other items like clothes hangers and makeup containers that we don’t even consider are made of plastic, there are minimal ways you can start reducing your plastic waste. Some simple ways to start are getting reusable produce bags, cups, grocery bags, mugs, reusable K-cups, and straws. If you are looking to shop for some excellent options, The Package Free Shop is a great resource.

Cut Down on Online Shopping

Plastic peanuts, plastic bags, boxes, styrofoam, plastic packaging bubbles...there is so much waste when it comes to online shopping. While it can be super difficult as a student, I have personally cut my Amazon shopping to zero this past year. I know it is what is best, despite the ease. Amazon is not, however, the only culprit. If you want to buy a cute top, jewelry or shoes, make a day out with your friends to shop sustainable instead of ordering it all online. You can also check out sites like Sustainability Chic for ideas.

Take A Walk

If you can walk, bike or even carpool to an event, to work, and the like, absolutely go for it. While it can be hard for some to get to work or their off-campus apartments without a vehicle, if you have the chance to use an alternative fuel-free option that is a simple and effective way to reduce waste.

Clean Up

As has recently been popularized with the ‘trashtag challenge,’ people around the world are taking the time to clean up areas of our Earth that have been riddled by pollution in order to restore it to its natural state. While this is not something easy to do on a daily basis, check out volunteer clean-up opportunities or follow along with Students for Environmental Concerns at UIUC to get involved.


Believe it or not, even if you are not using your charger or your desk lamp, they are still pulling small amounts of energy that eventually add up. When you’re going out for the day, take a moment to unplug your smaller appliances, chargers and the like. This is another easy way to conserve energy with little effort.  

It is time Earth Day be acknowledged as every day. Starting these simple habits will help each of us take the necessary steps to conserving our planet and taking care of it in the ways it has always taken care of us.


All photos by Bridgette Jasinski