April 22, 2015
Ah…spring in Michigan. This morning I was literally scratching a mosquito bite while I shook snowflakes out of my hair. How can that be? One minute I’m basking in the sun on my deck and the next I’m looking for the gloves I thought I wouldn’t need again until fall. It’s like the weather in my state is completely confused, suffers from a split personality or just truly wants to be mean.
Yet for all the times I shake my fist at the outdoors, when it comes down to it, I can’t get enough of it. I love the feeling of the sun on my face and the smell of rain. I love the stillness of a softly falling snow and the raging temper of a thunderstorm. I love sand between my toes and waves breaking over my ankles. I love the symphony of birds and the lullaby of crickets. There is a lot to love on this big place we call earth.
It’s easy to forget, especially in spring, that every day we’re actually doing quite a bit of damage to this beautiful planet. It’s not that we’re all consciously out to kill the place we love, it’s just that the way we live can cause some pretty serious consequences.
When I was growing up, I remember being taught not to litter and to recycle my pop bottles. For a while, that was about the extent of my education in environmental responsibilities. But at the time, I didn’t really understand it. For me, it was more simply about keeping parks looking nice and getting 10 cents back from every bottle. Of course as the years went on, I learned a lot more about how we can protect our environment.
At MSU, we often talk about being green – but usually it’s in relation to our colors, green and white. Yet, in reality, being Spartan green is about so much more than being a fan. At MSU, green is always in season.
Today the world is celebrating Earth Day. It’s a special day set aside to talk about protecting the earth. At MSU, we’re doing that every day. The university is a leader in sustainability and conservation and we’re doing more and more to make the planet cleaner and sustainable. Check out the beautiful MSUTODAY FEATURE: Earth Day. Every Day. to learn how Spartans on campus are going greener than ever.
Of course it’s not just sustainability efforts on campus that are important. Every day Spartan researchers are studying water, air, crops, plants, animals and more to discover ways to make a difference in protecting our planet.
Warren Wood is one of those researchers. He is a visiting professor of hydrogeology in the Department of Geological Sciences and has spent the past 30 years researching water issues largely in arid areas. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Loving Water but Working in the Desert, to learn more about his work.
It’s also not just researchers who are finding ways to protect the planet. Students are stepping up to the plate to take responsibility for the earth’s sustainability.
Students like Elizabeth Brajevich, an environmental economics and policy junior and Honors College member, are already making an impact. She was recently named one of Glamour magazine’s Top 10 College Women for her leadership and environmental work.
She was honored for her “Worms Eat My Garbage” initiative for which she wrote a grant and founded at MSU. Students in the Worms Eat My Garbage group compost coffee grounds, apple cores and food waste in their rooms, with the help of a worm bin through a process known as vermicomposting. The end product is a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer for MSU’s Bailey greenhouse, which supplies food for some of MSU’s dining halls.
Students from all colleges and majors are taking an interest in environmental topics.
Aniela Butler, is a student in James Madison College majoring in international relations. Last summer she participated in the William A. Demmer Scholars Program, which places students in internships with federal agencies or non-governmental organizations that focus on natural resources. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Demmer Scholar to learn more about what she learned during her time in our nation’s capital.
Even as I watch rogue spring snowflakes swirl around outside my window, I can see blooms on the trees, grass greening and flowers poking through the ground. I know that shortly campus will be awash in stunning beauty. John Keats once said, “The poetry of the earth is never dead.” In a few short weeks, the earth’s poem will be shouting from all corners of this beautiful campus. As Spartans, it’s our responsibility to make sure that poem is never silenced.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz