Commit to our damn planet, and your damn life

By Lorelei Poch
Environment Editor

It wasn’t long ago when I used plastic bags to carry my products out of Target and Ziploc bags to carry snacks. I still purchase products that are shipped from across the country or world. Three months ago I bought a bath mat off of Amazon shipped in excessive packaging over wasteful, long-distance transportation. When I study abroad I will fly via commercial airlines. But now I am committed to contributing less and knowing more.

People say they care about the environment. The integrity of our earth. They worry about dangers and ambiguity in the future. They call themselves environmentalists and activists. Yet they throw aluminum cans in the trash dumpster, don’t research how to dispose of waste properly, and continue to purchase single-use products made with no intent of reuse or re-purposing.

I’m not the president of any club. I am no environmental studies major or minor. I am no hippie who showers once a week and drives an electric car, though I wish I did. I am a junior at St. Michael’s College, frustrated and disturbed by the lack of genuine activism in our generation and apathy toward saving our damn planet. Earlier this semester I attended a tour of the Materials Recovery Facility in Williston. Before this, I knew little
about what belongs in our blue bins and what to avoid because it can never be reused or recycled. I learned what to throw away and what to refrain from buying at all costs. But only together can we make a considerable impact and fight for our future. If you worry about what the next 10 years will look like, you need to be active in local legislature and push for change NOW, not later. Being an activist doesn’t mean you have to get
up every weekend at 7 a.m. to hold a sign downtown. There are students already banded together, motivated for change, whom you can join to stimulate progress.

On Sun. Nov. 17, I joined 170 other students, from middle school to grad school, at the Vermont State House in Montpelier to represent 44 delegations (schools) and participate in mock local legislature to encourage the government to act now on the global climate crisis. We voted unanimously to pass the Young Vermont United Climate Declaration which included the encouragement of state education on how to protect our earth, the conservation of natural areas and protection against erosion, reduction of transportation emissions, and advocacy for and support of local farmers implementing sustainable practices.

Join us on Fri. Jan. 10 in the Vermont State House to deliver a signed Climate Declaration to Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, who will decide whether or not to pass the bill created by Vermont youth. Your presence will show our elected leader that youth care and will fight for our future.

If Greta Thunberg can be on a boat for 15 days to avoid the emissions of greenhouse gases from one commercial airplane, we can learn what not to buy, how to properly dispose of what we purchase, and easy ways to reduce waste and emissions. No one is perfect, but it is our job to act NOW on the global climate crisis and do everything that we can to contribute less to climate change.

Don’t be a wimp. Do the RIGHT thing; educate yourself and reduce your carbon footprint now.