I can distinctly remember what got me interested in environmental issues. When I was in 3rd grade I had this really amazing teacher who taught us about the environment. It was my first exposure to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” and she taught us about things we could do to help improve the environment. I was a little skeptical at first especially because my parents told me she was crazy. But I went with my instinct and on Earth Day I decided to go out with a garbage bag and pick up litter on the streets until I came home with a full bag. I tried to get my friends to come with me, but nobody wanted to. As I was walking down the street picking up other people’s trash, I found a brand new $20 bill lying on the sidewalk. I took this as a sign that what I was doing was right, and I continued to care about the environment despite what other people around me said.
For me Earth Day made a HUGE difference in my life. Even if people do something environmental only on Earth Day, it increases their chances of seeing the benefits of being environmentally friendly, whether it is finding a $20 or seeing the smiles on people’s faces when planting trees at a community park. If this happens, they are more likely to become environmental stewards like myself in the future.
Contributed by Andrea Maguire, University of Michigan