Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast community celebrates Earth Day, reflects on environmental change

Monday, April 25, 2022
Kimberly Necas, Adjunct Instructor of Chemistry and Physics, presents fossils from multiple periods of our Earth’s history. Understanding the past, Necas said, is the key to understanding our future
Photo by Koki Lynn

All around the world, people celebrated our planet Earth on April 22, 2022. Earth Day is an annual event that demonstrates support for environmental protection. On SEMO's campus, students celebrated with displays and tables dedicated to the history and preservation of Earth from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Magill Hall.

At the celebration, students from all majors filled the atrium of the building, participating in the various events and displays. From the Pollination Pledge — a pledge to protect bees and their habitats — to a live display of a mastodon scapula found in the Mississippi River, these displays were all found at the celebration.

Kimberly Necas, adjunct instructor of chemistry and physics, presented a fossil table with pieces from multiple periods of Earth’s history. The display included cephalopods, from 2.6 million to 16,700 years ago, to pachyphyllum — also known as a succulent bean — from 419 to 358 million years ago. Necas said the fossilization process shows environmental changes from before humans roamed the earth, which scientists can use to understand what changes the Earth.

“Everything that is inside Earth, everything Earth is made of, helps us understand the processes that are going on today and might be going on in the future,” Necas said.

Pamela Mills, instructor of chemistry and physics, said fossils can give us records of the past.

“Recorded in the rock layers, like the pages of a book, are what happened to the earth. Fossils become very important, not only in the theory of evolution. How would we know how things evolved if we didn’t look at what was recorded in the rock layer?” Mills said.

Besides fossils, students also discussed the environment and ways it can be impacted by daily actions.

Kayla Meier, graduate assistant in the environmental science department, said Earth Day is a day for people to understand the impact they have on the environment and how they can better preserve it. Anything, from recycling to carpooling, can be steps toward a better future, Meier said.

“Earth Day is the one day of the year that we get people to realize the actions they need to take to protect and preserve our beautiful Earth. Really, every day should be Earth Day,” Meier said.

Junior Jacob Adams shared this sentiment, emphasizing sustainability is the most important part of keeping the planet healthy.

“Without pollinators, we’ll pretty much lose agriculture, since we can only pollinate so fast. So, pollinators, deforestation — we’re getting a lot of awareness around the world,” Adams said.

For more information, visit the Department of Environmental Science website.