This archived article was written by: Kellie Henderson
Did you know that 70 to 80 percent of waste can be recycled? Do you know how much of it actually is? The number varies from state to state, but nationwide the average is about 15 percent. According to a Deseret News article, Utah recycles 2-5 percent of its waste.
Whether you believe Global Warming is a natural process of the Earth that will not have adverse effects in years to come, or is the result of human activity and will greatly affect our posterity, we should all be concerned about the Earth.
Conservation is not just propaganda of the greenie, Global Warming theory – or scare, depending on whether you’re a democrat or republican- it is a way of life that we should all adopt. Pollution, species extinction, pesticides, energy crisis and loss of rainforests are just a few of the problems that face our Earth.
The more we try to reduce our effects on the environment, the more we are at peace with ourselves and the more we can enjoy our wonderful planet Earth.
We should all have a desire to help, but it is understandable that we may not know where to begin. I have spent a lot of time researching ways to save the Earth, and have created a condensed list of 10 actions to help you get started.
1. When it comes to produce – grow your own, buy local, organic or share a garden. According to the book 365 Ways to Save the Earth, the average tomato in the grocery store has traveled as much as 1,500 miles from where it was grown.
Buying local produce reduces transportation that contributes to pollution, and also provides a fresher product. Try buying your fruits or vegetables from a Farmer’s Market whenever possible.
Also, if you cannot grow your own garden, some communities have programs that allow people to share garden space with their neighbors. Unfortunately, Price does not have such a program.
2. Try to refill, reuse, buy second-hand, use less and buy reusable products. Many items can be recycled, however, this process requires transportation and the use of machines that requires energy, and although it is preferable to disposing of garbage, it is best to re-use the item in your home before putting it in the recycling.
Refill your water bottles, save cardboard boxes and collect any gift bags you receive for future use.
3. Set your thermostat a few degrees lower than normal in the winter, and a few degrees higher in the summer. If you live in a house, most energy companies will provide an energy audit for free.
An energy audit is an inspection to calculate the energy efficiency of your home. Not only will this make you feel better about your contribution to the Earth, it can greatly reduce your energy bill.
4. Take shorter showers (this is something I struggle with) in cooler water and wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
5. Avoid plastic whenever you can. According to AlterNet.org, a plastic bag takes about 1,000 years to break down. If you must use plastic, make sure to recycle it. Some grocery stores, including Wal-Mart and Albertsons, allow you to return your plastic shopping bags.
6. Pick up a few pieces of trash everyday. We have a beautiful campus at College of Eastern Utah. If you see a piece of trash lying around and defacing our environment, pick it up. Don’t expect someone else to do it.
7. Carpool, walk, bike or use public transportation. If you try to use your car less, you will save on gas, help reduce pollution, and decrease the need for further construction of roads, which leads to lower taxes and preservation of the environment.
8. Instead of relying on video games or cars to have fun, try getting to know people, meditating, learning a new skill or just being with your friends.
9. Pay your bills online, use Internet maps and phone directories, and e-mail assignments to your professors who allow it.
10. Recycle everything you can. Thanks to the wonderful SUN Center at CEU, there is recycling on campus. Although it is not provided in the dorms, it is possible to deposit your recycling items in the blue recycling bins around campus
I love the Earth; it is a wonderful, beautiful planet. In our entire solar system, and possibly the entire universe, no planet hosts as much variety in weather, landscapes and as much life as our own.
In fact, scientists have yet to discover even microscopic life outside of our Earth. This isn’t a question of being a tree-hugger or environmentalist; this is about respecting our home.
Karma is basically the principle of “what goes around comes around”. According to this principle, all actions have consequences. We can’t treat the Earth however we want and expect our actions to be free of negative effects for ourselves and our children.
This is not an issue of a passing fad or even politics; this is an issue of moral responsibility. We are all earthlings, and we have an obligation to maintain our place of residence. As 365 Ways to Save the Earth states, “It is easy to think one small, damaging action does not endanger the Earth’s future.
In practice, however, such actions are never isolated events! In the same way, small, isolated gestures to preserve the environment will not improve matters on its own. It is all the small gestures, repeated every day by millions of people that will have a significant effect when added together if the majority adopts them as a way of life.”
This is a condensed list. There are hundreds of individual things everyone can do to help make our world a better place.
The word environment should not be a buzz word implying completely irrational ideas about giving up electricity or other ridiculous things. The environment refers to where and how we live. Hopefully this will inspire you to do your part in contributing to a better world.