Archived Opinion

Be intentional in protecting earth

Be intentional in protecting earth

To the Editor:

Many of us in Jackson County volunteered to pick up litter recently as part of Jackson County’s Litter Sweep. I know I did in my neighborhood of Forest Hills in Cullowhee. These actions tied in well with the theme of Earth Day 2021 on April 22, which was “Restore Our Earth.” 

As climate reality leaders, we understand that the science is settled and that carbon pollution from fossil fuels is warming our planet and causing natural systems to be out of kilter. This imbalance contributes to hotter summers, stronger storms, rising seas, summer drought, wildfires, extreme rainfall events, intense hurricane seasons and so on. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the United States, March 2021 was the third warmest of the 127 years on record. In fact, this was the eighth warmest March for the globe since records began in 1880. 

Climate denial is not an option anymore. We are running out of time to act. Doing nothing threatens the health of the planet, our families and the world we pass on to generations to come.   

We finally have an administration that believes in climate science and on April 22, Earth Day, the President hosted a global climate summit with 40 world leaders that was live-streamed from the White House for public viewing.   

As individuals, there are many “green” actions we can take, such as eating more plant-based meals. According to, producing a single pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water and generates “staggering levels of green house gas emissions.” So we can start to fight climate change with diet change. 

Other “green” changes individuals can make, include using reusable eating utensils. Plastic utensils are an unnecessary and major source of plastic pollution. Carrying a spare set of washable utensils is a small act that will keep hundreds of plastic forks, spoons and knives out of landfills. 

Lastly, if you’re still using single use plastic grocery bags, take a recyclable grocery bag the next time you go grocery shopping. The average plastic bag is used for only 10 to 20 minutes but can live for as long as a 1,000 years in a landfill. What’s more only 1 percent of grocery bags are returned to the store for recycling.   

Earth Day has passed, but everyone should still be encouraged to take one simple green act, because as Al Gore, founder and chair of The Climate Reality Project says, “The reality we now face, implores us to act”. 

Nilofer Couture


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