This past Friday, April 22, was the 46th year for a movement to recognize the Earth. The whole day is about taking action and getting involved to do our part in taking care of the Earth, whether it be by planting a tree, picking up trash, turning off lights, or any other way. Doing your part as an individual, no matter how small it may be, makes a difference.
Ironically, the time around Earth Day is also what is known as ‘darty season’ in Keene. Darty is a slang word used by many college students to describe a day party. These often take place during warm weather days in large backyards of students’ houses. These gatherings typically include hundreds of students carrying six-packs. Inevitably, large sums of alcohol are consumed by students without proper disposal of the bottles and containers. What ends up being left is a backyard littered with remnants from a day of partying.
Our message to the students is simple: clean up after yourselves. There is no reason we shouldn’t take responsibility for our own actions. We are all citizens of Keene, at least for the duration of the school year. Let’s take some pride in our community and pick up after ourselves. Partying on a college campus is inevitable; that is without argument. However, we don’t need to trash our precious Earth.
As the end of the school year approaches, many of us are excited to put the stress of school behind us and start enjoying the warm weather and summer festivities. However, this is no excuse to act like animals. Hold yourself and your friends accountable. If you see someone finishing a beer and getting ready to toss it, speak up. Ask them to dispose of it properly instead of throwing it on the ground. Ask the owner of the house to set up trash cans around the party. Come by after the party has died down and help with the clean up. We saw traces of this during previous pumpkinfests when students woke up early the following morning to help clean up the community and various backyards. While this was helpful and refreshing to see, we could prevent the clean up by simply taking care of our trash as we accumulate it.
It may not seem like a big deal to toss a beer can or bag of chips on the ground, but we encourage you to think again. Land littering is not hard to spot, just driving down the street you can probably see countless pieces of trash lining the streets. It comes in all different forms but what it does to our Earth has one thing in common: it destroys it.
Before you decide to drop the bottle or can you’ve just finished on the ground, consider the greater impact it can have. According to an article on the Baltimore Sun, “trash in the streets gets blown into the sewer system. From there, it clogs up the sewers and waterways or flows out into bays and estuaries. Chemicals and toxins from plastic bottles leech into water systems. Animal get tangled in six-pack rings, cut on jagged metal or broken glass and stuck inside containers. When food waste is littered from a vehicle, it attracts animals to the road, where they get into traffic and can quickly become road kill, damaging your car. Littered open containers hold water, which is a great breeding place for mosquitoes.”
Not only is littering unsightly, it is downright wrong. The mentality is lazy and quite frankly, more harmful than we realize. On top of this, there are legal consequences for littering. If there are laws in place trying to prevent us from littering, that is probably a sign that this is something we shouldn’t be doing.
Ultimately, this is something that we as human beings are in full control of. We have the power to stand up against something that has become increasingly harmful to the world we live in. Intoxicated or not, know that littering is never acceptable. No one is telling us to litter, the decision is ours to make. Let’s make the right one.