Campus News

Editorial: The importance of World Consumer Rights Day

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There are some serious issues facing the world right now. People complain of political disarray and social problems arising day in and day out. There’s hunger for growth and development for us as a nation, but what about where that nation is located? Fun fact: our nation is located on Earth, and, frankly, this planet is facing some very troubling times. World Consumer Rights Day Climate change, global warming and “save the polar bears” are common household cries from environmental agencies all over the world, but how many of their outbursts are really making their way into the public’s knowledge? One example of a typically unknown environmental outcry is coming up, and I’m guessing you may not have even heard of it. It’s called World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), and it takes place on March 15 every year. The annual environmental/consumer holiday celebrates consumer initiatives, which were first proposed by former president John F. Kennedy. It was first initiated on March 15, 1962 when president Kennedy proposed actions to Congress in an effort to implement a voice to what he coined, “consumer rights.” “Consumers, by definition, include us all," Kennedy said in his address. "They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group... whose views are often not heard.” There has since been a push for these “consumer rights” from the consumer movement. Organizations such as Consumer International (CI) acknowledge a recurring set of eight basic consumer rights: the right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, the right to redress, the right to consumer education and, debatably most important, the right to a healthy environment. The latter addresses the need to secure an environmentally stable and healthy landscape for both current and future generations. This emphasis upon creating a more stable environment is as true and needed today as it was back when Kennedy first "rallied the troops of progress" in 1962. Look around you, Bethel College. Squirrels on Bethel’s campus are losing their fur for strange reasons, which may relate back to people’s treatment of the environment. Alternative energy is an idea many are considering, and one Bethel faculty member’s husband is even putting this to practical use with his own personal use of a solar energy house, located near campus. The South Bend/Mishawaka area is becoming packed with buildings and structures that sometimes take away the potential use of farmable land. However, Bethel has now found a way to create growth in both vegetation and community with the city’s newest ‘unity garden’ located just off of the campus’ east entrance. And let us not forget about the recurring scream of seemingly every environmentalist: global warming. Is it a thing? Is it really possible that not just our nation, but also our world could be at risk? Some people look to Indiana winters’ 12-plus inches of snowfall as a reason to dismiss any thought of such a rise in climate temperatures. But then there are winters like this one, which bring with it February days ranging in the 60-70s. I sit back and have to wonder, how can climate change not be a thing? For example, 2016 set NASA’s records for global temperatures, which reached their highest level of all time for the half year (January-June) since 1880. 2016’s average temperature was approximately 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than temperatures in the late 1800s. NASA also reported that all but March in that same span of months each recorded new records in the smallest monthly amount of ice in the Arctic Sea since satellites began monitoring the growth in 1979. All of this is to say that there are some serious environmental concerns worth looking into. World Consumer Rights Day is one of many environmental holidays that seem to fly under our radars, while our world rapidly changes in unhealthy ways. As this environment and consumer awareness day approaches, look for The Bethel Beacon to provide continued coverage of various environmental events and issues throughout this week.
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