Our Education System is Destroying the Ecosystem

June 6, 2013
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Paper. It’s a significant part of human life. Humans use paper for writing, printing, tools, and decorating. But this valuable substance is constructed of an even more precious resource: trees. In America’s schools, thousands of kids carry hundreds of papers to and from school every day to complete their assignments properly. It is not only bad for the environment, but it creates unnecessary stress for students and teachers. Paper use should be reduced in schools and in the workplace to help conserve natural resources.

We need trees to do their natural job, not to be made into paper. Trees, along with other plants, take in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and give back oxygen. Humans release an exorbitant amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. The cycle of the planet deals with carbon dioxide naturally, but human activities are not only releasing more CO2 into the air, they are altering nature’s way of balancing it. Forests are just one of the ways this is done, and unfortunately they are being destroyed to make paper.

During the process of making paper, chlorine is an integral part of bleaching the paper. It is extremely bad for the environment and releases unwanted toxins into the water and air. Sweden required all of its paper mills to be chlorine-free by 2010. France, Germany, and Canada have all begun to discard the use of chlorine in their paper bleaching process. Unfortunately, eliminating chlorine out of the process is costly and has not yet reached the United States widescale. Paper production introduces harmful chemicals to the environment that contribute greatly to climate change.

Along with the negative impacts on the environment, paper is also much more difficult to keep organized, for workers, teachers, and students alike. A teacher who brings home a laptop consisting of all her students’ work via email will have an easier time than a teacher who must bring home twenty stacks of papers to grade. An interviewed student agreed, but also stated it may be difficult if students do not have access to computers. Two students said that computers are much easier to use than paper and only one student said that they think technological issues could easily affect your homework and therefore using computers is a bad idea. These small problems could easily be repaired simply by putting more computers in schools and giving students more allotted time to finish their work during school hours.

Students can use technology for an impressive array of different projects. Going on the Internet to find information is much easier than searching it up in a paper encyclopedia. Using Microsoft Office, Publisher, and Powerpoint, you can create posters, presentations, and assignments much neater and cleaner than handwriting. There are also hundreds of creative things to do for art and music classes. For example, ArtRage and Sketchbook Pro are just two of the computer programs that can be used creatively, along with online metronomes and composition programs. Books can be read on tablets like the Kindle and the iPad, along with educational applications as well. It expands the opportunities for learning without consuming paper.

Paper is an incredible resource that many take for granted. Using it to such a wide scale extent, however, is bad for the environment and for consumers. Paper is expensive, bad for the environment, and fragile. Going on the Internet and making a Google Docs account is free, environmentally friendly, and lightweight. It is unreasonable to expect hundreds of students to carry hundreds of papers around the school every day. We are harming the whole world in the process.

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