This weekend we celebrate the 46th-annual Earth Day, a now globally honored tradition. With continually increasing concerns about climate change, it is important to remember how far we have come.
Until 1970, when the original Earth Day was declared, most municipalities in the United States lacked sufficient or basic water treatment facilities. Environmental engineering has grown into a dedicated field of study, with a constant influx of projects on land decontamination and pollution reduction. Even big corporations like DuPont have joined the efforts over the years, like in 1986 when the major CFC producer pledged its support for the chemical ban in the United States. DuPont became a major proponent of environmental justice (insofar as they could keep making money and prevent others from profiting off the compound).
Because of these steps forward, both environmentalists and corporate leaders have joined together in a spirit of unity and merriment for the Northeast Ohio Consumerism Festival, since it has been determined that “We’ve made it thus far okay, and our ultra-spending American lifestyle is more sustainable than ever,” according to Thneed Corp CEO Humphrey Wagner.
Case Western Reserve University has offered to host the festivities across campus, in an attempt to be at the forefront of professional and social movements. The general consensus among CWRU students is that it is much easier to feel less guilty about general wastefulness knowing that we have kind of been doing better. According to one freshman, “We’ve been trying to be responsible for a while, so it’s time we had a little splurge,” citing the fact that the awareness campaign for recycling and energy usage is going strong.
As is common in today’s society, Earth Day has been decidedly stretched into Earth Week, in order to further spread the message of hope and vision, but also basically Earth Month, because only seven days of debauchery is thoroughly unpatriotic. Tables and tents have dotted every open space in University Circle, from Rascal House to Wade Lagoon. A favorite among students is the lean finely textured beef demonstration, dubbed the ‘pink slime soirée.’ Also popular among the youth is the Wade Lagoon septic scuba training session.
Some have spoken out about the festival, however, citing the copious amounts of litter that have accompanied the vast crowds and the general lack of focus on the environmental concerns Earth Day was founded on.
Other festival attendees told us that the presence of Smart cars, green light bulbs, and Freon-free refrigerators left open on the Case quad, proves that this extravagant way of life is more than justified. Leading CWRU student environmentalist James Conroy said, “This is a year of hope, but also of concern. Yes we can feel glory in the achievements we have made, but if we get ahead of ourselves, we will soon forget that this battle is far from won. When the polar ice caps melt, it will be hard to ‘chill.’”
Conroy then worked his way towards the free samples at the Thneed kiosk set up next to Melt University in the Tinkham Veale University Center.