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Celebrating Earth Day 2021

View of the trail mountain landscape toward Salt Lake Valley in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch Rocky Mountain Range in Utah. (Jeremy Christensen/Dreamstime/TNS)

By Kayla Reed

New life is beginning to sprout, the days are getting warmer, and the world all around us is getting greener. From recycling to using less waste, people are starting to become more eco-friendly. Earth Day is Thursday, April 22, and it is the perfect time to learn different ways to be a greener citizen.

As college students, there are so many ways that you can get involved in taking care of the Earth. At the Grand Rapids Community College Library, there is a seed library run by a member of The Collegiate and a member of the Native American Student Organization (NASO). At the library, seeds can be donated, exchanged, shared, and planted by students and faculty. It is aimed to promote gardening and healthy eating. The seeds at the library are free, and people are allowed to bring their own seeds in exchange. If seeds are brought to donate, they need to be labelled and placed in paper bags or envelopes.

Another way to be a part of Earth Day is by attending NASO’s Earth Day Google Meeting. The meeting will be focusing on how to love and care for the land, water, and air, and it will also focus on how to literally and figuratively plant and let seeds grow. To heal as a collective, diverse group of people, there will be an emphasis on using crafting as a therapeutic way to view the stages of life, and how to use resources of the Earth in a positive way. Participants will be taught how to make a Native American medicine wheel.

If you ever find yourself out in nature, you can help the environment by picking up any trash that you see and throwing it away properly. Also, remember to pick up after yourself as well. Check your clothing and shoes for plants that might travel with you, and try to keep them from leaving their natural habitats.

Remember that an easy way to prevent waste from polluting the Earth is to use reusable items like reusable grocery bags that can be found at local grocery stores. Opt-out of using a plastic straw whenever possible by using a reusable straw made out of metal, bamboo, glass, or washable plastic. You can also decide not to use a straw altogether. Don’t forget that reusable eating utensils are a great way to eliminate plasticware from being used. These are just a few easy ways that you can help reduce the amount of plastic thrown away.

Of course, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is an organization located in Grand Rapids, and they are always looking for volunteers to help protect Grand Rapids’ parks. You can also donate to them if you do not have the ability to help out in person. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is a non-profit organization, and proceeds go to planting trees and beautifying green spaces in Grand Rapids.

No matter who you are, you can contribute to keeping the Earth green. Earth Day is one day of the year, but the acts of being eco-friendly are things you can do all year round.