Editor’s Note: Reflecting on The DI’s recent editorial


By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

Happy Earth Day, but it’s not really, is it?

In this week’s paper, The Daily Illini published an editorial about the role of corporations in contributing to the rapidly worsening climate crisis. 

Before the editorial came into existence, DI editors and executive staff had a discussion on how to approach writing about the worsening environment while acknowledging that our publication still prints its weekly edition every Wednesday. 

From our tiny basement in the YMCA, we debated our inevitable mortality — regarding both the climate crisis and potential fallout if we used a stronger profanity than “screwed” in our editorial. 

I think we discovered that the answer to the climate crisis is full of contradictions. 

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I spend a lot of time walking both on and off campus. One of my favorite places to walk is in the neighborhood of West Urbana. It’s adjacent to Lincoln Avenue and right across the street from the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. 

Last weekend, I spent around two hours walking through West Urbana. Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend the impending climate crisis when you’re walking through a neighborhood like this.

I’ve spent my entire life in Illinois. To me, neighborhoods like West Urbana are quintessentially Midwestern; they remind me of the good parts of growing up in Illinois. I remember learning about global warming in fifth grade before I even knew what climate change was.

I was still a starry-eyed 10-year-old kid who dreamed of a future where global warming was already solved, a world without the politicization of environmental activism. But it’s hard to be environmentally conscious when it’s nearly impossible to live waste-free. 

I enjoy recycling and eco-friendly modes of transportation, like walking, taking trains and biking. I also like being outside at all hours of the day, whether I’m stargazing, lounging around with friends or sitting on the top floors of on-campus parking garages.

I also enjoy going to concerts and road trips. I also like organizing my baking ingredients in plastic containers because I like it when my kitchen looks orderly, with identical canisters full of flour and different sugars. 

I love the environment, but doing my part in benefiting the environment can only do so much. I’ve lived on campus for about three years, and based on my experiences, recycling and being eco friendly is challenging. 

There aren’t enough recycling receptacles in my apartment to accommodate the number of residents, and even if there were, I don’t know how many students would actually use them. I’d say there are no more than 300 people living in my apartment complex, but what does a year’s worth of plastic waste look like in comparison to the waste generated by Coca-Cola or PepsiCo in one day? 

The solution to the climate crisis is full of contradictions. 

We’re told to recycle, yet the waste that individuals generate pales in comparison to monolith corporations. 

By recycling, we think we’re doing our part to stop climate change, but individual actions cannot reverse the efforts made by governments and corporations to destroy the environment in their process to generate profit. 

The solution to the climate crisis requires change on an almost insurmountable level, but it’s uncertain whether enough support will be mobilized to actually enact change. 

So, Happy Earth Day, but is there a chance for a happy future?