A day to celebrate mother nature

April 22, 2010 by Shannon Ostrowsky NMSU Round Up

Students invited to examine new ways to help the environment


Today marks the 40th national celebration of Earth Day, and to celebrate, community environmental activists say students can make simple changes to help conserve the environment.

Connie Falk, advisor for the Organization of Aggie Students Inspiring Sustainability, said students can start by becoming more aware of environmental issues.

“There are environmental classes you can take,” Falk said, which can help make a difference in the long-run.

Falk said understanding current issues can help students decide what changes can be made, such as preserving a habitat or joining environmental organizations.

There also are a lot of standard behaviors students can make to set themselves on the right path to change, Falk said. Shorter showers and turning the lights off in vacant rooms are measures anyone can take, Falk said.

OASIS held an Earth Day celebration Saturday at Young Park, with activities for all ages, Falk said.

“We had a lot of local vendors at the event, educating others on green sustainability and ways to conserve energy and resources,” Falk said.

New Mexico State University also has room to make a difference, by creating more natural landscapes to help stop the flow of conservable rain water wasted in gutters, Falk said.

“We should also purchase our food locally, instead of from trucks that come from thousands of miles away,” Falk said.

According to the student hotline, students can bring a recyclable can or bottle to Corbett Center today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and have the chance to win a free recycled T-shirt, hat, koozie or tote bag.

To help the environment, Falk said The Southwest Environmental Center encourages many locals to lend a helping hand.

Las Crucens can take action by calling the secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and asking to protect the land of Otero Mesa and a new plan to support and protect New Mexico wolf recovery, said Kevin Bixby, executive director of TSEC.

Curbside recycling also is a major development TSEC employees hope to see in the near future, said Jason Burke of TSEC.

“Some people will recycle if it’s made easy,” Burke said, “and it will help if there are curbside bins with different bags for certain recyclables.”

Burke said if people do not become more environmentally friendly, it can have a dramatic impact on the New Mexican climate.

Burke said Otero Mesa will eventually turn into one giant oil field and fragment the habitat. Burke said there are 42 New Mexican wolves remaining, and the extinction of the wolf will change the environment. To prevent this, Burke said, sustainability measures must be taken now.

“[New Mexico wolves] are a natural predator and changes to the ecosystem [will occur] if they are not helped,” Burke said. “In 2002, our goal was to have 100 [wolves] by 2006. We are not even halfway there.”

Burke said the limited area of the Earth should not be filled with garbage dumps, and recycling can help decrease the amount of trash dumping.

“It can be so easy,” Burke said.

The “go green” revolution has helped by many city programs and NMSU organizations, Burke said, and is seeing a “real push.”

“Compared to a lot of Western states, New Mexico is ahead on [going green],” Burke said. “We need to keep this momentum going.”

Shannon Ostrowsky is a staff writer and can be contacted at trunews@nmsu.edu.

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