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Last updateWed, 04 Dec 2019 3pm

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You Too, Can Save the Planet

Easy Ways to Live Green


Save the PlanetNow inhabited by nearly seven billion people, the planet is constantly facing human activity that negatively contributes to the environment. However, there are plenty of ways people can become more environmentally aware and do more to better sustain the planet.

According to improvinghealthandenergy.com, the term “green living” refers to “any actions or activity that results in a positive impact on the environment so that the planet can continue to support future generations.” In order to live green, people simply need to make better choices in their daily lives, such as “choosing paper instead of plastic grocery bags, recycling newspapers and soda cans, driving a fuel efficient car, or eating organically grown food.”

Dr. Kenneth Stunkel, Professor of history and co-author of Economic Super Powers and the Environment: The United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan, said, “Being environmentally conscious is a matter of understanding the fact that I’m a biological organism dependent for my well-being on natural systems, such as fresh water, fertile soil, a healthy atmosphere, and other living creatures.”

He said that green living is important because, “When natural systems are degraded, such as water being polluted, soils failing to support crops, or oceans being acidified or overfished, hundreds of species that hold the ecology of environments together become extinct and my own life and its prospects are diminished.”

In an effort to better preserve the planet and the environment, there are many simple things that people can do every day which require little to no effort. For example, earthtrends.org suggests activities as simple as turning off the water while brushing one’s teeth, running the dishwasher and washing machine only when full, and repairing leaky faucets. Water is vital to the survival of both people and ecosystems, making conservation a top priority for those who endorse green living. For example, one drip of water from a leaky faucet per second wastes 20 gallons of water per day.

Energy conservation is also important. From the type of light bulbs people buy to the way they insulate their homes, much can be done in an effort to save energy. Minute tasks such as changing the type of light bulb one uses or unplugging unused electronics or appliances can save a lot of energy per year. According to earthtrends.org, despite the higher cost, “compact fluorescent bulbs save people money in the long run by using only one quarter of the energy of an ordinary light bulb and lasting eight to 12 times longer.”

Stunkel said, “We must be aware and informed of the impact humans and modern industrial civilization are inflicting on nature; we consume too much, produce too much waste, destroy whole ecosystems with development, and assume that physical growth can go on indefinitely without grave consequences.”

He said, “Most people have no idea what natural systems make their food possible or how much fresh water is left on the planet or where it comes from.”

People are also encouraged to recycle. Earthtrends.org estimates that the average person produces over four pounds of garbage every day, despite the fact that nearly 50 percent of everyday, ordinary garbage can be recycled, including batteries, ink cartridges, and cell phones.

“Recycling should be required by law wherever and however it can be done,” Stunkel said. “Recycling must be accompanied by more energy efficient production, durable products, and reduced consumption.”

People should also re-evaluate the types of houseware and kitchenware products they use. “Avoid using throw-away products such as paper napkins, plastic silverware, and paper plates,” earthrends.org recommends. “One should store food in reusable containers instead of using plastic bags, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap.”

Industrialization has also had a major impact on the sustainability of the planet. The Chinese rely heavily on coal, a highly polluting fossil fuel, which contributes to the high rates of pollution in China. Also, with over one billion cars globally, automobiles have been a contributing factor to the ever increasing rate of atmospheric pollution.

“Most people do not know what it means to pump carbon dioxide and ammonia into the atmosphere,” said Stunkel. “With 2.5 billion of the world’s seven billion people, India and China still use chemicals that eat away at the ozone layer that protects us from harmful radiation for air conditioners and refrigerators.”

From a population of one billion in 1820 to seven billion in 2011 and a projected nine billion within the next few decades, the earth only faces continued long term effects of human activity that is in unhealthy for the environment.

However, people can do more for the well-being of the planet if they take the time to educate themselves on what it is they can do in their everyday lives to be a positive influence on their environment. It does not take require much time, money, or effort, but it instead requires a concern for what is best for the sustainability of the planet.

“Overwhelming human demands on nature account for the decline of all major ecosystems, reduction of other life forms, harmful chemicals everywhere, melting of arctic ice, climate change due to the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, the decline of many oceanic fisheries to the point of distinction, the spread of deserts, and more,” Stunkel added.

“People have children without asking themselves what kind of world that child will be obliged to live in. Without a proper world with sustainable resources, there can be no tolerable human life; physical, intellectual, spiritual, or otherwise. Consider the fantasies of those who dream of colonizing the moon or Mars when we can’t even assure the health of our own planet.”

PHOTO COURTESY of nationalgeographic.com

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