Make small sacrifices for the planet

Katie Smith, Editor- in- Chief

An estimated more than 9,000 gallons of fuel to have been used on Air Force One to transport President Barack Obama to Florida’s Everglades, where he cautioned audiences about climate change Wednesday.

The trip covered 1,836 miles roundtrip and consumed 9,180 gallons of fuel, according to a CBS DC story published Tuesday.

Environmental issues like climate change and pollution are valid and real concerns. As much as Obama may have wanted to show up the political opponents who he believes need to further address climate change, his trip was unfortunately counter-productive.

We are prone to committing the same hypocrisies – on a smaller scale, granted – every day while performing mindless tasks. In honor of Earth Day, here are some ways you can help the planet:


The National Recycling Coalition and U.S. EPA found less than 35 percent of households and 10 percent of businesses recycle. They reported that if national recycling levels can reach 75% it will be the environmental benefit of removing 50 million cars from the road each year and has the potential generate 1.5 million new jobs.

Recycling is easy, particularly at Eastern, which The Princeton Review reported as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada. The university has designated bins for trash, cans, plastic and paper and those who live off campus can take their recycling to one of three drop off sites located in Mattoon.

Bottled water

Investing in a reusable bottle not only reduces the amount of plastic dumped in landfills, but it also saves money. About 90 percent of plastic water bottles are not recycled, and each can take thousands of years to fully decompose.

Eastern has fountains throughout campus specifically designed to fit and refill reusable bottles while keeping track of its positive environmental impact.

Go cruelty free

Safe, quality lives are just as important as having a clean livable planet. Popular companies like Clorox, Revlon and Johnson and Johnson test its products on animals – and that doesn’t just mean rats and mice. If you know me, you know I love rats, which is a big reason animal testing is such an important issue for me. But they aren’t the only animals that are exposed to unsanitary and dangerous living conditions in cosmetic and pharmaceutical laboratories. Rabbits, cats, dogs and primates are abused and killed every day, despite successful alternatives to animal testing. includes a list of more than a thousand cruelty free companies, meaning they do not test any of their ingredients on animals.

Go digital

Paying your bills and subscribing to publications online significantly cuts down on paper waste while also making documents more accessible and easier to organize. Paying bills online alone could save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.

If you celebrated Earth Day, do not let it be for nothing. Making small lifestyle changes has the potential to yield a huge impact on the environment’s well being. And if you’re headed to the Everglades to lecture about carbon emissions, consider Skyping in before flying on a private jet.

Katie Smith is a senior journalism major and she can be reached at [email protected].