Rolling Back Pollution This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 10, 2010
Everybody knows about it. We see the pictures of polar bears stranded on floating ice and the pictures from China where the smog is so great you can barely see in front of you. The world is warming, our atmosphere shrinking. Because of us. Energy use is killing our once beautiful planet Earth. There are few people who are devoted to saving the wildlife, but slowly, more and more are appearing before our eyes. We all need to care about the environment; but unfortunately, most businesses and manufacturers don’t care. For them, money is everything.
Wal-Mart is different. In 2006, company officials announced that Wal-Mart would spend 500 million dollars annually to reach their preservation goals. They have recently opened an eco-friendly store in McKinney, Texas. Standing proudly next to the parking lot, there is a 120 foot tall electric wind mill. It provides 5% of the energy used there, which is a lot if you think about how many fluorescent lights hover above you as your shop. The roof is equipped with solar panels, and there is a retention pond outside to irrigate the landscaping around it. They have also announced that, by 2015, their semi’s fuel economy will double. That alone will save around 300 million dollars. They have 8 first class hybrids added to their fleet of over 7000. Wal-Mart is the biggest private user of electricity in the United States, which made it a necessity to make this switch. Before the energy transition, each store used about 1.5 million kilowatts a year.
Wal-Mart was the only store that was willing to go as far as it did. The staff there is also encouraging customers to follow their lead. They estimated that if everyone who goes to Wal-Mart in a week buys one fluorescent light bulb, total electricity bills would reduce by 30 million dollars, and billions of coal would be saved from use. Not every large user of electricity wants to switch, though. Sadly, Wal-Mart is the only department store to go to this extreme. Though they are losing money, many other stores think the maintenance costs would surpass the money saved. Slowly, however, little steps are being taken to stop the climate crisis. Starbucks has not been opening as many locations as it has in the past, but it wants the ones that it does open to be environmentally friendly. Target has started selling houseware that is made from recycled materials. Best Buy and Home Depot have also recently developed plans to become more environmentally friendly. Yet getting other companies on board isn’t the only challenge

There is a downside to being eco friendly, as other stores have mentioned. The wind mill in front of the McKinney Wal-Mart has to undergo constant inspections, and the retention pond isn’t always working as well as it should. Yet the total profit has outweighed maintenance costs. An identical store in Aurora, Colorado also stands, but two “Green” stores aren’t going to rescue the thousands of acres of land covered with concrete. Wal-Mart is saving thousands of dollars a day, and every person and company is soon to realize they need to make the change.
Imagine going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday, the air you breathe clean and recycled, the items you buy contained in environmentally friendly packaging. We can all agree that everybody wants that. Other companies are soon to follow, also. This is our home. We need to keep it beautiful. Soon, our world will be wonderful again. But for now, we all have a common goal- to save our planet.

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