Saddleback College needs Captain Planet now

Jennifer Fink

When April rolls around, one rarely thinks of the rainy month as “Earth” month. Sure, there’s Earth day on April 22 (and who counts down the days until Earth Day?), but what about the rest of the month?

The April attraction that first comes to mind happens at the beginning of the month: April Fools Day. And truth be told, this years April fools didn’t go unnoticed. I myself gave a little chuckle when finding my favorite search engine had changed its name to ‘Topeka’ for the day. Happily Google was back to its infinite self on April 2. Oh Google, what will you do next?

But enough about April Fools day. That’s in the past (or in the future for you optimists). Earth Day is quickly approaching, and before we know it May and all its flowery glory will be here without warning. Until then, it only seems appropriate to honor Earth Day with an entire Earth Month starting this very moment.

We can become our very own Planeteers, which may even cause Captain Planet to exclaim, “By your Saddleback powers combined, WE are Captain Planet!”
Okay, maybe Captain Planet won’t jump with excitement out of a nearby BGS building bush anytime soon, but our increased efforts will surely place smiles on many of the maintenance staff’s faces.

Currently, there is an overload of littering on campus, and the question is why do we litter?
Littering can be accredited to laziness, inconvenience, or downright rudeness. There are trashcans all over campus, sometimes two next to each other, not to mention recycling bins, therefore there should be absolutely no excuse.

Every morning the maintenance staff scours each parking lot for trash, collecting what students leave behind every day.

“It’s a huge issue for us. We have grounds keepers who have to pick up the parking lots every morning,” said John Ozurovich, Director of Facilities. “We have probably 15 people from 6 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock every day just picking up trash on campus.”

It seems such a waste of time and skill when these same grounds keepers could spend their valuable time elsewhere, maybe maintaining buildings instead of playing housekeeper to students. In fact, littering can be a one-way road to rat and insect infestation. How would you like to step out of your car at 8 in the morning only to have a rat run across your feet? No, thank you.

Stepping away from the school grounds, there are many things people, especially students, can do while at home to help save our planet inch by inch.

Plant a “victory garden.” The phrase has gone out of style since the end of the second World War, yet the idea was fabulous. Citizens were urged to plant at home gardens with vegetables and fruits in order to help our troops and ease war efforts during the first and second World Wars. Now, I’m not saying we’re in the midst of World War three, but a modern day “victory garden” could not only help to get rid of mass corporation produce production (say buh-bye pesticides and salmonella, and hello organic bliss), but also help people to understand where food actually comes from. And no, the answer is not your neighborhood Albertsons.

From personal experience, organic fruits and vegetables taste better, and are healthier all around. The organic produce is not shot up with growth hormones, resulting in more vitamins and minerals per capita. No wonder everyone “needs” to take their daily vitamin! We just aren’t getting the nutrients that are expected from our now hormonally enhanced food.

Organics are more expensive to buy, but by planting your own produce, you’ll most likely save money and your health. So there is step one: save the humans to save the Earth.
There are endless ways to improve your relationship with our planet, and certainly now more than ever it is easier to come up with ideas. The Internet contains thousands of pages dedicated to eco-friendly living. While perusing the web I stumbled across where it lists ways in which to honor Earth Day and Month.

You don’t need to do them all at once (though if you do, more power to yah!), but just pick a few from the list that seem easy enough to accomplish. Hopefully over time such practices will become habit. And remember kids, “The power is YOURS!”


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