Every year people worldwide celebrate Earth Day and use it as a call to action for all things sustainability, conservation, and clean living, but what is Earth Day exactly? And how do we at Symton play our part?
Symton Gone Green
At Symton, we strive to integrate the practices encouraged on Earth day into our every day. In August of 2022, Symton Inc was awarded the Green Business Award by Brazos County in collaboration with Keep Brazos Beautiful, a local organization here in Bryan, Texas with the goal of educating both youths and adults on litter control, recycling and beautification efforts (keepbrazosbeautiful.org).
Symton is also proud to boast a zero waste policy by making sure all of our byproduct is used. Our frass produced by our main product, black soldier fly larvae, is bagged and sold as a composting implement.
Any excess worms we have at the end of every week are donated to local reptile and animal rescues as a nutrient-rich food source. We also collect all cardboard boxes that we receive each day and drop them at our local donation center to be repurposed.
Lastly, we sell compost-grade larvae to encourage individuals to start their own organic composting systems at their own homes.
Black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) are an incredible organism with a wide variety of uses that contribute positively to the environment. In a study conducted by Amrul et. al, “compared to conventional composting, BSFL are more effective in reducing 50% of organic waste in a shorter period. Because of this, researchers have focused on using BSF as a sustainable alternative for treating organic waste…Organic waste treatment with BSF is cost-effective and emits less pollution.” They are considered an excellent alternative to certain mineral-based fertilizers and pose an excellent and non-polluting solution to breaking down organic waste. The frass the larvae produce also has countless applications in modern composting and waste management and the larvae themselves are actively being researched to discover the true potential of their nutritional benefits on a human scale (we already know how amazing they are for your pets and ours). Interested to learn more? Stay in this space as Symton Learn continues to expand your knowledge of the world of BSFL, animal care, and environmental awareness.
A Brief History of Earth Day
The very first Earth Day happened on April 22nd, 1970 and has been a solid tradition ever since. Considered by many to be the start of the modern day environmental movement as we know it, Earth Day was spurred on as a reaction to the many ways people all over the world were contributing to massive overconsumption of harmful products which in turn supported unchecked industrial pollution (Earthday.org). People like Rachel Carson and Gaylord Nelson created lasting legacies within the environmental movement, helping to shape climate-friendly U.S. policy and Earth Day as we know it.
One of the first major calls to action was the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962. The book presents Carson’s research on the effect of insecticides (specifically DDT) on bird populations but was immediately met with hostility from chemical companies who claimed her work was unscientific despite her various credentials. The importance of Carson’s work was to highlight the unintended consequences of these chemicals on nature and how consumers and manufacturers combined should be more aware of them (Smithsonian).
Fun fact: The publication of Silent Spring led to an increased public awareness of humanity’s impact on nature and is credited with the banning of DDT in 1972.
The man said to be the ‘father of Earth Day’ is Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin senator who had been active in politics starting in 1948 and who sat as a state senate representative from 1963-1981. Environmental care, conservation, and awareness had always been passions of Nelson, but witnessing a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, along with current anti-war protests from students, would be the catalyst to further action that he thought was missing in the world. Following this environmental tragedy, Nelson began reaching out to institutions and well known activists of the time to begin coordinating what would soon become the first Earth Day. He learned of “teach-ins” and used this as his angle to spread news of this event across the country (nelsonearthday.net). April 22nd was chosen as the ideal day as it fell after Spring Break and before final exams, which would hopefully maximize the level of student participation at these teach-in events. Other organizations also contributed to the effort to spread news of the event and host events of their own such as churches, businesses, and other smaller environmentalist organizations.
This strategy would pay off as Earth Day 1970 would roll around with over 20 million Americans participating nationwide- about 10% of the population at the time (earthday.org). The fledgling holiday ended up being a massive success and became a major talking point on news stations both within and outside the United States. To further emphasize the impact this event had on environmentalism, it is important to highlight the various laws and acts that developed in its wake such as: the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (earthday.org). In total, 28 separate pieces of legislation would come out of Earth Day and would leave the 1970’s known as the “Environmental decade” (nelsonearthday.net). All of these would come to pass in the immediate years after the first Earth Day and are acts we know to still be alive and well today.
In 1990, Earth Day would reach the global scale with over 200 million participants over 141 countries. By 2010 Earth Day was then a well established global sensation engaging over 1 billion people each year and is the single most celebrated secular holiday in the world today (earthday.org). For his efforts, Gaylord Nelson received the Presidential Freedom Award from President Bill Clinton in 1995 (nelsonearthday.net).
Thank you for reading, and have a happy, productive Earth Day!
“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all living creatures.” - Gaylord Nelson