The theme of this year’s Earth Day, celebrated worldwide April 22, is “Invest in Our Planet.” Activities are focused on combating climate change by encouraging active engagement with governments, corporations, and institutions whose investments impact the climate.
Many organizations and student groups at IU are working to help the planet, including Youth for Environmental Sustainability, the Ocean and Marine Conservation Club and the Beekeeping Club.
The Beekeeping Club at IU promotes education about and appreciation of bees as crucial members of the environment, while raising awareness about environmental sustainability as a whole. Club president Faith Buskirk, a junior, said the club strives to demonstrate the importance of bees in the environment beyond pollinating flowers.
“They do contribute to more than half of our food sources and agriculture,” Buskirk said. “They play a huge role in the food that we eat.”
One of the ways students can help take care of the planet, Buskirk said, is to volunteer at Hilltop Garden on campus, where the Beekeeping Club keeps its hives and pollinator garden plot. “It’s a really awesome place to just go and visit and be in nature, and they’re always looking for volunteers for planting and weeding.”
Buskirk loves plants and has turned her room into a veritable greenhouse, with over 30 plants. She said plants are an important part of restoring ecosystems.
In recent years, younger generations have been pushing for sustainability and action against climate change by making personal changes and organizing movements. While they make a significant contribution, Buskirk said pressure also needs to be put onto corporations that can make change on a larger scale, she said.
“There needs to be major changes at the corporation level who create major carbon emissions, because they make up the most pollution rather than the individuals.”
She said it should also not be solely the responsibility of young people to care for the environment.
“Climate change and pollution is not just a young generation problem — it’s an everybody problem,” she said. “It takes everybody across all generations demanding and incorporating change to fix it.”
Students for a New Green World is a student organization that advocates for climate change awareness and education. Siddharth Das, the club’s president said that Earth Day is a meaningful time to promote positive action. “It’s important to make people aware and understand the true scale of the climate crisis … why we’re all interconnected and part of it,” Das said.
He said that while people around the world are being directly impacted by climate change, many who have the opportunity and privilege to take steps toward change could make a major impact. While some are cynical about the climate crisis and how much can be done to help, Das said it’s important not to give up because any positive change is beneficial.
“We just need to keep trying to contribute as much as we possibly can, even if it seems hopeless, even if it seems like it’s not going to be enough,” he said. “There’s still always a chance and we can always reduce the severity of the crisis.”
Earth Day events
There are multiple opportunities to celebrate in Indiana and beyond, both in-person and virtually, from tree planting and park tours to cleanup at events and celebrations.
Events in Bloomington & Beyond
- IU Greenhouse: Open for visiting hours and group tours.
- Sustainability Fair: Several student-led campus organizations, such as the Beekeeping Club and Indiana Forest Alliance, will host a sustainability fair April 16 from 2 to 6 p.m. in Dunn Meadow. The event will feature live music and comments from each organization.
- City of Bloomington Earth Day 2022 celebrations include a series of virtual and in-person events such as tree planting, creek cleanup, weed pulling and learning about environmental organizations.
- The Earth Day 2022 Festival and Virtual Stage in New York City includes a live broadcast Thursday, April 21, from 1 to 8 p.m. featuring a lineup of speakers, presenters and performers including actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, writer and comedian Maeve Higgins, and farmer and advocate Karen Washington.
Organizations at IU
There are multiple student-led organizations on campus that lead and partake in sustainability activities, including Students for a New Green World, Youth for Environmental Sustainability, Indiana Forest Alliance at IU, and the Beekeeping Club. More information about each organization can be found on BeInvolved.
Ways to celebrate Earth Day
- Start recycling
- Besides reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, the EPA says recycling prevents pollution by reducing the need for new raw materials, saves energy and helps create jobs in the manufacturing and recycling industries.
- It can seem intimidating, but there are lots of resources available to help, like this guide to recycling by Waste Management.
- Plant something
- Planting a flower, tree, or vegetable is a great way to show your appreciation for the Earth by giving back to it and watching your plant grow. Seeds can be bought at the grocery store or even reused from vegetables. Trees are known to improve air quality, temper climates and create habitats for plants and animals.
- Make it a commitment
- Helping the environment can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider choosing just one or two activities to do regularly, or commit to trying something new each month to diversify your experience. Here are 40 unique ways to help the environment.
- Support local farmers
- Local farmers and food markets are essential to sustainability efforts. Supporting them not only helps the environment as a whole, but benefits farmers and vendors directly and provides the community with fresh food. Check out these markets in Bloomington:
- Rose Hill Farm Stop
- Sobremesa Farm
- People’s Cooperative Market
- Bloomington Farmer’s Market
- Change a habit
- Making even small changes in your day-to-day life can make a difference. Committing to walking or biking to work or school one day a week or taking public transportation or carpooling to reduce your carbon footprint. You can save energy at home by switching off standby appliances and turning the heat down or off. Reusable water bottles reduce plastic waste, and donating unused items or items you no longer want to thrift stores or people in your community can lengthen the lifespan of products.
- Help clean up
- Volunteer to keep litter and garbage off the streets. If you see trash on the ground, pick it up and place it in a trash can or recycling bin. Organize park and beach cleanups. Recycle what you can instead of throwing it all in the trash.
- Write your legislators
- It’s important to do what we can as individuals to help the planet, in small or big ways; it’s also important to put pressure on those who can make systemic, large-scale changes. If you see legislation being proposed near you about climate/environment issues, write or call legislators and encourage them to pass it. Here are some best practices for writing your representatives.