By James Baratta
What do you think of when you hear the word Earth? Beautiful mountain ranges, ferocious beasts that roam the untamed plains of Africa, vast oceans that still remain partially unexplored? The world has changed quite a bit since its birth about 4 and a half billion years ago. As what we call “life” moved along with the birth of infinite time. How do we define life non-biologically? We learn new things every day and we wonder about what we may stumble upon in the road ahead. What we are, mankind, has many goals and one of our main ones is discovery, acquiring new information about ourselves, the universe, how we came to be, and of course the world around us. Our curiosity fuels our attempt to find the meaning of things that happen in nature.
Mankind has such an impact on the world that I don’t even possess the words to explain it.
What we do every day as the sun rises, sails across the sky, then sets, has an effect on the future of our planet. We have the power to destroy it and we also have the power to ensure its prosperity in the future.
There is a story about a little girl throwing a starfish back into the ocean when they wash up on shore in an attempt to save them. The beach is covered with these starfish as far as the eye can see. A man walks by and asks, “What are you doing?” She responds, “Saving the starfish,” as she resumes to throwing them in. He says, “There are so many of them, you aren’t making a difference.” Ignoring him, she presumes to throw them in. He stands there and looks to the left and right. He stands next to her and begins to help her throw them in. Then another person walks by and another person and another person and so on. They all help them and soon enough the starfish are saved.
What do you have the ability to do for this planet? There are numerous things that you can do to help our planet, and I know what doubtful thoughts may drift across your mind in thinking, “There is no way I can make a difference.” That is an untrue mindset, you can make a difference. You are even stronger with others lending a helping hand. Anything is possible in the world with enough willpower, people, and determination.
Now, what exactly can you do to help our planet? Let’s begin with what you can do at home. This is the scenario, you just got home and you sit down in the living room.
You turn on the TV and watch for a while. Also, your phone is at 58% battery and you want to charge it; so you plug it in. Then you go to the bathroom to take a shower and you stay in there for about a half hour. As you walk out, the vent and the lights are on. You go to your room to get dressed and your laptop is plugged in from this morning. You then unplug the charger from the laptop itself and continue to enjoy the television while you chow down on the leftovers you just put in the toaster oven to make them nice and crispy. Some time has passed and it is getting late. Your phone is fully charged and you unplug your phone and leave the charger in the outlet like you did with your computer. You brush your teeth and leave the water running the entire time you brush; also, the vent is still on. You turn it off and leave the night light on with the electric – consuming light bulb. Then it’s off to your room for some shut eye.
Do you know how much electricity you just used and are still using? A whole lot!
- When you are not charging your laptop, phone, or tablet, unplug the charger. This also applies to when you are not using your toaster oven.
- Everybody likes long hot showers, but you use 75 gallons of water if you take a 30 minute shower (2.5 gallons per minute). There are two negatives to this, a high water bill and a waste of water.
- Also, a vent in the bathroom uses 162 watts of electricity if left on for an hour.
- When you brush your teeth, leaving the sink running for 2 – 3 minutes uses 2- 3 gallons of water. Imagine how much water you will save if you brush your teeth and only use the water when needed.
These aren’t the only things you can do to help your planet at home. Recycling your recyclables, using less non-metal utensils, and reusing plastic cups. Be creative, think of your own ways to save the planet!
In the world, pollution is a major contributor to global warming and ocean acidification. Global warming is the increase in the Earth’s temperature due to greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants. Ocean acidification is the decreasing pH of the ocean, causing it to be more acidic. Organisms in the ocean need calcium carbonate to regenerate their shells, skeletons, etc. The carbon dioxide that diffuses into the ocean takes away the carbonate ions and makes it harder for these organisms to calcify their shells. Therefore, leading to vulnerable prey and their extinction; in which will disrupt the aquatic food chain. In the end, it all leads back to us. There are a few things that you can do to cut back on these emissions and help our planet.
- Instead of driving to the convenience store that is only a few blocks away, walk, bike or skate. It’s good exercise and it stops unwanted pollution!
- Smoking and the use of drugs isn’t just an awful thing to do to ourselves, but it is extremely harmful to the environment. It adds to the carbon dioxide emissions and promotes climate change. Don’t let drugs and/or nicotine control you.
Take what you have learned to do to save you planet and do it! Your difference is meaningful! It’s not easy to stand alone and encouraging your family, friends, etc. to stand with you will have an even more meaningful effect on our planet. This Earth is the only one we have, let’s make the best of it!