How Beautiful Change Can Be

With final exams approaching, lingering zoom fatigue, and in my case, beginning Ontario’s third lockdown, it seems as if negative news consumes us. With spring in full bloom, it is time to focus on new beginnings as we ease our way out of the semester. It is said that spring is a reminder of how beautiful change can be. This week we can appreciate the beauty of spring and our earth on April 22nd by celebrating Earth Day! As many of us have spent this past school year isolated indoors, now is the perfect time to appreciate everything the world has to offer. 

Around the world positive change can be seen everywhere. Compared to 2019, before the pandemic, air pollution has decreased 10 percent in Istanbul. This is a significant change as poor air quality affects the environment negatively. As air pollution rises, so does the possibility of contracting health problems such as respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Smog and soot fill the air. As the world aims to decrease carbon emissions, these small steps are necessary to reach our goals and should be celebrated.

Similarly, Nepal has noticed a tremendous increase in the Greater one-horned rhino population. Previously labeled as endangered, the population now sits at around 752 rhinos. This species has increased by over 100 rhinos since 2015 and is still listed as a vulnerable species. By saving endangered species, entire ecosystems are proactively protected. The Greater one-horned rhino population is on the right track to being saved.

Closer to home, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently signed an executive order to phase out all single-use plastics at state agencies, colleges, and universities in the state of Virginia. Single-use plastics are commonly used in packaging and pollute landfills and oceans, causing colossal environmental damage. Three hundred million tons of plastic are produced each year. Gov. Northam is taking a step in the right direction to make not only Virginia, but the rest of the world a more eco-friendly place.

There are positive impacts on nature, biodiversity, and changing policy all around us. As we head into summer, remember that you too can make a positive impact on our planet. Eat less meat, shop sustainably, and demand change where needed. Despite the outcome of finals or the feeling of hopelessness in terms of the pandemic or the environment, look hopefully towards the future, and remember the words of Lyndon B. Johnson: “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”