As Earth Day approaches, we are yet again reminded of the significance of preserving, cherishing, and loving Moth­er Nature. We rely on Mother Nature for everything and yet, as usual, many of us take Mother Nature for granted. Many of us think of Mother Nature as such a strong force but forget that she is actu­ally getting weaker by the minute. She is suffering because of our complete and utter disregard for her wellbeing. As long as we continue to live on this earth we must ask ourselves: What can we do to ensure that our planet is able to support the needs of future generations?

Each time we talk about climate change, we point the finger at factories and complain that government does too little to protect the environment. Yet, when I walk the streets at night, there is one thing that propels me to think that governments and industries aren’t the only institutions to blame; plenty of busi­nesses leave their lights on during non-business hours.

Come nighttime, everyone leaves the stores, the restaurants, the offices, and the supermarkets. Everyone goes home! So then why are the lights still on?! We have been told over and over again for years that when we leave our homes, we should turn the lights off. It appears this rule doesn’t apply to businesses. Business owners make a valid argument for keep­ing the lights on: they need to attract new customers and deter crime. But at the end of the day, businesses need to realize that investing in eco-friendly policies is the only way to ensure that their business will still be around in 100 years.

According to the Department of En­ergy, lighting makes up 50 percent of all business energy use, which in turn makes up one-third of all commercial carbon dioxide emissions. In terms of protecting the environment, keeping the lights on during non-business hour wastes tons of energy. From a monetary perspective, leaving the lights on causes unnecessary spending. Why would you spend money on something that doesn’t benefit anyone? Why would you spend money on some­thing that contributes to climate change? Making profit shouldn’t be the only thing businesses do. Businesses have an obliga­tion to society that help make their pros­perity possible.

I believe that it is indeed possible for a business to make money and be a positive role model. In America, electric­ity occupies 37 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. There won’t be any business to be had if things keep going the way they are going. Businesses must find an effective way to keep a balance between security and loving the earth.

To build a better earth, to keep an enduring earth, we shouldn’t wait for somebody else to act. We must act on our own first! If you have a friend or family member who owns a store, urge him/her to turn off the lights at the end of the day. If you are an employee working for a company, urge your boss to turn off the lights after everyone leaves. And if you yourself are a business owner, please join us and do your part in helping making a more liveable and sustainable earth.

No matter who we are or what we do, we must respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that today’s failure to do so will not only hurt ourselves but future generations.

PHOTO BY MOLLY REETZ
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