We are residents of planet Earth. That’s a blessing and a curse because it’s our responsibility to take care of it. Since we live off of it, when we destroy it, we are also destroying ourselves. Whoa! Did that come as a shock?
Let’s start with air, the stuff we breathe. You can make a huge improvement in air quality by trading in your family’s vehicle for a hybrid car. This cuts down on the pollution put into the air. You’re probably thinking, No way, I’m not giving up the SUV. No worries. You can get a hybrid version, just as spacious but with less gas consumption which saves money, too. Hello, big-screen TV!
Now, moving onto how to conserve the world’s oil. Replacing your gas guzzler with a hybrid is one part of this, but there’s more. How often do you hear, “Would you like a bag for that?” Your answer is probably yes. Do you really need a bag for one item? Say no to that plastic bag and you’ll be saving a drop of oil, and those drops add up.
What’s in your water? Is it possible that you’re drinking chemicals? If you dump paint, cleaning agents, or other chemicals in the ground, then it’s likely you’re drinking them. Discard chemicals in a safe place, like your local dump that can handle hazardous waste disposal. After disposing of your chemicals in the correct way, you’ll be able to drink water without worry.
Do you have any idea what pesticides are on the produce you eat and what they do to the environment? It’s pretty disgusting. Go to your local farmer’s market where you can buy organic food. You’ll be cutting down on the amount of pesticides going into the environment and taking a big step to keep yourself healthy.
What happens to the aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass jars you throw in the trash? They take a little trip to the dump and sit there ... wow! Let’s cut to the chase: it takes a really, really long time for that stuff to break down, up to a million years. Isn’t there a better way to get rid of them? It’s called recycling. No more sitting around and doing nothing. You should be happy, too, because you are saving the earth’s resources.
Do you want to take a shower in brown water? Do you want to have to wear an air mask just to breathe? Yeah. That’s what I thought. No one does. Only you can decide what’s going to become of our world.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.