Earth Day is held each April to remind people of the importance of caring for our world, according to USC Environmental Health Sciences Professor Joe Jones. He practices what he preaches, as he regularly takes his students outdoors to pick up trash that has washed into a campus creek from Columbia’s Five Points area, where many students eat and drink. He tells them that if trash could wash from one part of town to another, it could also get into the Congaree River and thus to the coast, and, ultimately, wash up on the shores of other countries.
Geography Professor Kirsten Dow advises people who want to care for their planet to not only do individual acts of saving energy such as turning off unneeded lights, which cuts down on the burning of coal needed to generate that electricity – still 40 percent of South Carolina’s energy comes from coal- but to take their actions to work, and encourage their employers to use their purchasing power to do things like buy recyclable products and conserve energy on a larger scale than individuals can do. Her fellow geographer Dr. Greg Carbone echoes the sentiments of both Jones and Dow. If mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, or any other conservation issue, is considered too expensive by society or politicians, he says, how expensive will it be in the future if we don’t conserve now?