Our Earth is a bright blue jewel in the midst of an endless pool of blackness. It rotates monotonously around the vibrant sun, turning and traveling through deep, dark folds in the fabric of space. It shines with its own special light. It stands out just like a red dot on a black page, since it is the only known planet to hold life. Even though we all know this crucial information, we act as if we don’t.
Our planet has been around approximately 4.543 billion years, and it will not be around forever. Scientists estimate the habitable lifespan for only 1.75 to 3.25 billion years more. Already, the Earth is halfway through its life, yet we treat it as if we want to speed up its aging process. We are all to blame for this. This type of thing happens in many ways. First of all, we have littering. A sad statistic is that many Americans admit to littering in their lifetimes. Furthermore, the average American walks only a couple steps, and then dumps their garbage on the ground without even searching for a nearby trashcan. About 318.9 million people live in America. Imaging what our world would be if each of these people threw a soda bottle, or a plastic bag, or even a napkin on the ground every three steps. This trash doesn’t just disappear off the streets. It finds itself in storm drains, where it is carried off to the ocean where wild animals and their ecosystems are damaged. Also, chemicals seep into our very Earth and pollute our precious groundwater. Ninety percent of the fresh water we use comes from the ground. Imagine if you had to drink water that was polluted with all the chemicals that the Earth had to suffer from.
This type of carelessness is not the only way our world has taken advantage of our planet. The world also produces too much waste. Right now, the United States is in the lead of this, with around 236 million tons of waste annually. This can be caused by the lack of knowledge, and the lack of care. What I mean by this is some people just don’t know how to take care of their waste. Some people are just not sure how to sort trash from recycling, or the other way around. Others may not want to go through the hassle of sorting their trash. Moving on, a way to solve this issue is by creating less trash in the first place. By buying in bulk at the grocery store, bringing reusable bags with you everywhere, and by replacing single-use items with returnable, reusable, or refillable products, you can eliminate unneeded trash.
Our land is not the only part of Earth that is being polluted… so is our atmosphere. If our atmosphere was not protecting Earth, nobody could be capable to sustain their life. Air pollution that we create when we directly burn gasoline for energy, or indirectly cause from buying goods that require a lot of energy, all destroys our very atmosphere. When this air pollution is caused, there can be some serious results. These include the melting of our polar icecaps, which not only is one of our reservoirs of fresh water, but can also cause the sea level to rise and increase the chances of natural disasters. There can also be food and waste shortages, and more. All of these things affect our whole planet and put a lot of stress on our important ecosystem. The Average American can cause 27 tons of Carbon Dioxide, 325 pounds of Ozone Pollution, and 411 pounds of Acid Rain Pollution per year. There are many ways, though, that we can eliminate this gaseous pollution. By conserving energy, washing clothes with warm or cold water, choosing products that have less packaging and are reusable, and using rechargeable batteries, you can save our air.
Last of all, we are all polluting our water. When we throw a, for example, soda can on the street, it slowly makes its journey into the perfectly placed storm drains that empty into the ocean. Imagine if a sea creature saw this can, and thought it was a toy… or maybe even dinner. Scientists estimate that over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed per year due to ocean pollution. Yet this is not all. There are about 10 million factories in the world. What if every single one of these decided to dump a pound of sewage waste into the ocean per day. That would mean about 3.65 billion pounds of toxic waste let out into the ocean annually. Humans depend on the oceans for many things, including climate regulation, food, transportation, medicine, recreation, and even our own economy. Imagine if you were supposed to go to the beach today, but the city issued a warning. There was just a huge rain, and there could be some possible chemicals in the water. The citizens of Long Beach, California, actually can suffer from this. After a rain, citizens could even need to stay two weeks away from the ocean! We can all stop this by doing a couple of things. First, we can all eliminate trash and pick up after litterers. Second, we can eliminate the use of chemicals like pesticides that are carried into the ocean. By doing something as simple as picking up after your pet when you walk it, you are saving our oceans.
Our Earth is suffering too much from all these problems. But we can all fix it. By doing all the things we can, working together, and keeping an open mind, we make a difference to the Earth’s future. It is important to remember that we are doing this not only for ourselves but for future generations that are going to call Earth their home. The Earth will still be spinning for some more years, and it is all our job to preserve it as much as we can.”
Inspired by Joshua? We surely are! Join the Grades of Green community here and start greening your school and instilling environmental values in your students to make a difference today!