Earth Day sparks initiatives

As Earth Day approaches, national, state and local organizations are taking action to support a safer and healthier environment.

Gov. Charlie Crist along with 1,000 students will celebrate April 22 at the Capitol.

Established in 1970, Earth Day’s mission is to unite the world toward a common cause of environmental protection and conservation.

For this year’s Earth Day, FAMU’s Environmental Health & Safety Department will be supporting the efforts of several groups including the FAMU Environment & Sustainability Council, The FAMU Green Coalition and Focus the Nation by hosted an event already on April 18 at Florida State University.

Ryan Mitchell, a senior environmental specialist for the Environmental Health & Safety Department, said he hopes students understand that they are vital to their environment.

“We have the responsibility of ensuring that our resources are well managed, pollution is minimized, our kids are raised with a sense of environmental responsibility, and our decision makers act appropriately in making the choices we want and need to ensure a sustainable future for our children’s children.” Doug Tobin, press secretary for the Florida

Department of Environmental Protection, agrees saying, “We hope that people learn about Environmental Protection, Conservation and Stewardship,” Tobin said.

Being a good steward of our environment can be as easy as picking up trash around campus or recycling the soda can in the recycling bin instead of throwing it away in the garbage.”

According to Tobin, The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and The Florida Department of Education will be partnering to celebrate the 39th celebration of Earth Day at the Capitol, along with Gov. Charlie Crist and 1,000 students on April 22.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Green Schools: Creating Healthy, Efficient, and Productive Learning Environments.

With events occurring around the country, many may wonder if people are actually getting the message about protecting our environment. According to experts, the answer is yes.

“There is a strong interest in protecting the environment. Al Gore’s movie and Green Festivals alone have recently illustrated renewed interest and we hope that interest and action continues to grow,” said Melissa Tobin, communications manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mitchell agrees.

“Just last month I accompanied the FAMU Green Coalition on a trip to the nation’s Capitol. The call was for significant change in environmental policy. I am unspeakably proud of the Rattlers who made this honorable trip on behalf of all of us, to ensure our voices get heard,” Mitchell said.