Monday, August 3, 2009

Something Green on Earth

(Winner of Middle School Group, Teen essay Contest 2009)
by Nathan Schwarz-Lee

Something green on earth... the wonderful things I see outside are green to my eye, the only things that aren't green are the people who use the cars! I thought for a moment, then realized that if everyone in the world didn't use cars, the world would be much greener, and the grey and dull things would be minimized. The world is a beautiful place, for there are many green things in it. But if there weren't gas guzzling cars out there, imagine what it might look like! Imagine the verdant meadows and the sun soaked trees! Imagine the wild animals fluttering about!

The cards are roaming around
Attacking the environment
Being Chinese is like being bound
Too many laws and still a requirement

I'd rather smell Chinese pork buns
Than the toxic fumes of diesel buses
They are infinitely multiplying their runs
Never thinking about their passenger' fusses

The reason I listen to my Ipod more
When the birds used to be singing
Is because of the constant engines' roar
Who tore my silence from living

So now I am sick
Of all the world's cars
I moved away from the grime of the kick
Of society's cars and tar

However, being half Chinese and American, I'm disappointed with how both of those countries are acting on this. China is one of the worst polluters in the world and they're doing very little to change this. The U.S. is trying, but they aren't making a noticeable effort. So I say that we try harder to improve our care on the environment, and either create cars that consume no gas whatsoever, or completely eliminate cars.

I see a future, where all our lives will be green. I see a very bright future. But it will take a lot of work to make it. That is where the rest of the world comes in. Everybody can make a difference to our environment. If everyone helps, we will have a good chance of succeeding.

The Fight Against a Common Enemy

(Winner of High School Group, Teen Essay Contest 2009)
by Edward Chan

Are people’s actions and lifestyles leading up to their own destruction along with Earth’s? Yes, Earth is on a collision course for destruction along with humans. The climate of earth is changing drastically and must be stopped before it leads to the end of Earth and its species. According to "Global Warming: The signs and The Science" by National Geographic, Earth’s atmosphere contains a gas called the ozone layer. As the sun heats the Earth, energy is received. Earth emits energy back out, but the ozone layer traps some of this heat. Overtime, humans give off more and more emissions called green house gases, which add to the ozone layer. This thickens the ozone layer, thus trapping more heat than usual. There is evidence that Earth’s temperatures are rising according to There are “disappearances of sea ice and ice packs, higher temperatures, melting ice caps, and climate changes.”(National Geographic) Earth’s temperature increases as a result, which pose catastrophic changes for Earth’s species’ way of life. The increases in temperature endanger Earth’s organisms. It causes catastrophes, such as floods, stronger storms and tornadoes, drought, loss of land and agriculture, disease, and rising sea levels.(National Geographic) Storms and tornadoes are stronger and occur more often, thus killing more people and leaving many homeless. Rising sea levels also flood land and cause land to disappear, which destroys many homes and kills people. More droughts occur and cause deaths and ailments, such as heat stroke. Agricultural land is also lost due to changing climates. In order to save Earth and its species, several actions must be taken. People need to find a strong leader, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and control the population. If nothing is done to solve this problem and is ignored, then Earth’s destruction is eminent. Action must be taken now or Earth and its species are bound to annihilation.
Lifestyles today, contribute greatly toward global warming. The immediate culprits for creating global warming are transportation, energy use, and industrial/agricultural. Thirty-three percent of carbon emissions come from transportation, while 33% results from industry and agriculture and 33% from energy usage. (National Geographic) Transportation involves the use of fuel and automobiles. People constantly burn fuel by using automobiles. These automobiles, in return for convenience, release carbon emissions. Energy usage is the energy that people use to power their everyday lifestyle, which releases carbon. In order to get energy, fossil fuels, such as coal, are used. Nuclear plants constantly give off carbon as a waste product to gain the energy.
Also, agriculture and industry harms the environment by contributing to global warming by energy usage. Both use machines, which run on energy. All the excess carbon, which creates global warming, creates higher temperatures. Not only do these carbon emissions change temperatures, but it also causes illnesses. (National Geographic) As the future generations grow up down the block from a factory or a farm with massive machines, it becomes a part of their lives. As the one grows up seeing it everyday, the idea that it is normal comes to mind. And as one becomes sick, he/she doesn’t necessarily point figures directly at these massive machinery using industries. Instead, the blame is wrongfully put upon something else because people cannot detect the culprit as the disappearing emissions, which these industries release on a daily basis. People become blind as one usually blames a disturbance in his/her environment or lifestyle as a culprit of an illness.
Studies from scientists illustrate that with warmer temperatures Earth’s naturally occurring process of El Nino, which is the wind and water system in which warmer bodies of water is pushed by trade winds towards the colder bodies of water to mix together. (National Geographic) Trade winds are the winds that help move these masses of water. Due to warmer temperatures, these winds don’t move in the same patterns and actually become weaker. They don’t push the warmer water away from the equator towards the cooler bodies of water to mix. The water actually ends up staying in place and/or moving back to where it originates from, thus causing climate changes. These changes cause stronger and more frequent natural disasters, such as storms, tornadoes, and drought. It also causes illnesses, rising sea levels, loss of agriculture, floods, and more diseases. All these effects people and can all lead to death.
People have stood by far too long in denial and must face global warming as a problem and isn’t just a myth. Usually, people point the fingers at each other for multiple reasons, such as over consumption, capitalism from companies, population, and denial. People blame companies as well because they are seen as the leaders to our problem. Companies are often thought of as produces and manufacturers who run factories, which emit tons of carbon into our atmosphere.
To battle global warming, scientists have so far addressed it as an issue and are trying to spread awareness of its magnitude of importance. Overtime, people have tried to come up with solutions and/or built careers around going green, which means to concentrate or something that helps the environment. Different solutions that people have came up with are using greener technology to reduce carbon emissions, managing resources, reducing consumption, and finding a strong leader to put it all in motion.
People, such as Marvin Bush, CEO of Adura Systems from “Firm Sparks an Idea to Run China’s Buses.” are currently trying to improve our lifestyle to save our environment. Adura Systems is a company trying to use greener technology for transportation. He “developed an electric power train,” which is a battery that cars can run on instead of relying on fossil fuels. They operate with buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, which are amongst the leaders of carbon emissions from automobiles. Also, the Hybrid car is invented to reduce carbon emissions. It is a combination of burning fuel with electricity power, which helps reduce emissions.
There are other ways that support the change. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has created a website that endorses its “Spare the Air” days, which are in effect now. (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) They are basically government supported days that try to persuade people to go greener and to save energy, such as taking public transit or bike instead of going to work or places in a car. In addition to change in transportation, the idea of supporting local community farms is starting to spread. Local community farms help reduce the need to release excess emissions of carbon by having food travel from great distances to get to consumers. According to "One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future" by scientists, Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, “we must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively.”(Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich) Right now, there are things in place that are a step in the right direction, such as the use of Hybrid cars and the gradually slowing of using products that are harmful towards our environment. By reducing consumption and managing resources, the risk of depleting all of Earth’s resources is reduced.
Past solutions have failed because people suffer from denial and greed. People still don’t support or believe in some solutions because they still deny the existence and importance of global warming. Others are too busy trying to improve their own lifestyles, which is similar to capitalism. According to he Merriam-Webster Dictionary by Noah Webster, capitalism is one’s attempt to gain wealth through ownership and investment in exchanging goods or the production of goods. People don’t hesitate to destroy our environment to gain money. All they see is their desire to have more and better the own lives at the cost of the environment. Even companies control the government to do what they please even if it may not be in the best interest of the public and/or environment. And some people don’t even care. There is an old saying about how one tries to “live life to its fullest,” which means to enjoy life as much as possible before death. It is another issue because many people believe that once they die, it isn’t their problem anymore. This creates the idea of questioning the need to be conservative and to stop doing activities that may harm the environment. So instead of trying to help the future generations take on and defeat global warming, some are actually making it even tougher to solve the problem.
In order to fight global warming, people must form a group of leaders that leads everyone worldwide. This group of people consists of the most educated and more aware environmentalist and scientists, which is financially supported by nations worldwide. The job of this group is to spread awareness and to be judges over proposed solutions and decide whether or not they are beneficial or harmful in the short and long run. This group of people is the catalysts for the fight against global warming. It will help speed up the steps that are necessary and enforce it as well. Even as an individual, one plays in an important role. One’s job is to help form this group by either voting upon their successors in their nations. Afterwards, one must participate along with the rest of the world to make sure that these elected leaders do their job properly and without corruption. A major key to fighting global warming is to have strong leadership. Right now, people are beginning to think about global warming and some even try to help by suggesting their own solutions, which is a step in the right direction.
Forming a group of leaders specifically to target global warming is a reasonable solution because people have already been able to elect government leaders so why not global warming leaders? Having a group of leaders is different from previous attempts for a solution because it has not been done yet. Solutions that fix a trait, feat, or action of people have been thought of and/or created, but they haven’t really worked out so well because there is not enforcement and no one to have people do it. Although this solution may seem harsh and a bit controlling, it can help change people’s lifestyles faster to accommodate the little time that is available. Currently, our lifestyles are based upon individual ideas and rules that support the ideas of one having rights as an individual. Is it not worth it to violate these rules to save humanity? No, it is worth it because an era of change and possibly lower class lifestyles can allow Earth to live to thrive for many more years or decades, or even centuries.
There is always the bad with the good. Some difficulties that may be encountered are people who don’t agree and believe this plan can give too much power to the environmentalist and scientists, racism amongst the members of the group, no compliance from the people, and not enough financial support. People might not go along with the plan because people don’t want to be bossed around and have their lifestyles changed. Other people might not believe that it is a solution that is needed. Also, when given power, corruption is often not too far behind. The members of the group or the group entirely might become corrupt. An alternative can be just having one leader instead of a group of people to represent the entire world against global warming. This person must be strong and willed.
It is important for people to try even if difficulties are anticipated. By attempting to create a solution, a number of effects may occur. It causes others to become aware of the problem and create a sense of urgency. Also, more solutions are produced as a result from more awareness and a stronger sense of urgency. There is an old saying that it is “it is better to try than not to have tried at all.” If people don’t try, then Earth loses out on possible solutions. Everyone has their own ideas. If one doesn’t use these ideas and pose an effort, then these ideas are lost. In order to save Earth and its species, several actions must be taken. Good or bad, people must anticipate the hardships by not quitting at the first sign of trouble and planning out possible problems. People need to find a strong leader and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By accomplishing this goal, life lasts for many more years as mutualism between people and Mother Nature is balanced. If nothing is done to solve this problem and is ignored, then Earth’s destruction is eminent. Action must be taken now or Earth and its species are bound to annihilation.

Work Cited:
* Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich. One With Nineveh: Politics, consumption, and the Human Future. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004
* Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Spare the Air in the Bay Area. May 17. 511 Contra Costa, Autodesk,CCSF ,Department of the Environment, Charles Schwab, Chevron, Clif Bar, Genentech, Hacienda Park, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Pixar, Safeway, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean ,Whole Foods Market , and Yahoo!
* David Baker. “Firm Sparks an Idea to Run China’s Buses.” San Francisco Chronicle. April 2009.
* Global Warming: The Signs and Science, Dir. Michael Taylor. PBS Home Video. 2005
* Noah Webster. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Inc. 2006.

Global Warming: Why It’s Happening

(Winner of High School Group, Teen Essay Contest 2009)
by Anne Fong

Global warming, what do those two words mean? If you ask, some people might say that global warming is the warming of the globe, just a temperature rise is all. Other people may say that global warming is more then just the warming of the globe. To them, global warming means more global disaster (storms, diseases, drought, fire, etc), more suffering in third world countries, and more greenhouse gases. Global warming is all that and more. It means overcoming more hurtles and obstacles.
To break down what has been happening we must first ask ourselves: how did the earth transform from a clean, green planet to a dirty, polluted planet? One of the answer lies within technology. With technology, we have cars, electronics, and home appliances. Technology has improved human life immensely. Technology has also harmed our planet immensely. All of these technology release a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 rises into the atmosphere and traps the heat coming from the sun. The heat warms the planet. This effect is called the greenhouse effect(1). It’s called “greenhouse effect” because a greenhouse is a building that keeps plants warm.
The greenhouse effect is all around us. And it's most likely going to worsen. CO2 emissions have risen so much that by 2050, scientists believe there will be billions of tons of it in the atmosphere(2). CO2 is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is affecting the polar ice caps. The North Pole has been retreating since January of 2005(3) and is still retreating. With all this ice melting, the sea level rises. Wind currents that rely on the ocean to blow change patterns. A change in wind means climate change. Climate change brings more storms, more hurricanes, and more El Niño’s. Climate change also brings heat waves that can kill people. Hot temperatures also bring disease-bearing bugs and insects such as mosquitoes.[4] These are some of the effects of global warming.
How should global warming be prevented? We currently have a few methods to slow global warming. There is solar power, wind power, and hybrid cars. Other solutions include using less water, recycling more, driving less, and buying fewer appliances that release CO2. These solutions are good. In order to implement these solutions, we must begin with educating the public. People need to be aware of global warming, understand we are the cause of it, and be part of the solution.
Some suggested solutions include population control(5), consumption taxes(5) (taxes on luxuries), and conservation of natural resources. These maybe be effective, but there will always be an opposition or someone who will refuse to change. No matter what kind of solutions we create, there will always be a downside that will lead to more problems.
In third world countries, population continues to increase. With more people, there are less living space and higher consumption of resources, resulting in a greater release of CO2. Controlling the population in third world countries means involved educating of men and women not to have many children. In these countries, the purpose for females is to have children. Women in third world countries are not fortunate like the women in America. The women have no say on the number of children they have. They are being controlled by men. The problem with population control is that it will cost a lot of money and also take time to educate the men and women of these countries.(6)
Consumption taxes are taxes that are imposed on appliances that release the harmful CO2 gas. If taxes are raised higher, then people who cannot afford the luxury will not buy it. Taxes that keep climbing higher will discourage the poor and possibly the middle class from buying the appliances. The problem is that the rich who can afford it, will continue to live their usual, extravagant lifestyle.[5]
Conservation of natural resources means we must learn to consume less. For example, in order to conserve water at home, take shorter showers, don’t let the water run while brushing teeth or washing dishes, install low-flow toilets and showerheads, and use energy-efficient washing machines.7 And better yet, sun-dry the clothes instead of using a dryer. The only difficulty with this solution is that people are not ready to give up their long, hot shower custom. Not everyone can afford a low-flow toilet/showerhead, or an energy-efficient washing machine.
By identifying the cause of global warming, we have begun addressing the issue. By coming up with solutions and aware of the obstacles that we will face, with hard work, cooperation, determination, preservation, and dedication of humankind, we can slow down the global warming. Who knows, maybe we will reverse global warming.

Works Cited:
1.“Global Warming: The Signs and the Science”-DVD
2. “Six Degrees Could Change the World”-DVD
3. Nicklen, Paul. “Life at the Edge” National Geographic June 2007
Appenzeller, Tim. “The Big Thaw” National Geographic June 2007
4. Lin, Tiffany. “The Secret Drought” San Francisco Chronicle 16, April 2009
5. Ehrlich, Paul; Ehrlich, Anne. One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and Human Future. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004
6. Leung, Rebecca. “Sudan: Rwanda in Slow Motion” 60 Minutes. 20 October 2004; with correspondent Scott Pelley
7. “Sustainability Made Simple: Everyday Choices You Can Make to Protect the Planet’s Future” California Academy of Sciences 2009

Hope for Earth

(Winner of High School Group, Teen Essay Contest 2009)
by Leanne Wu

People need to focus on Earth's deterioration. The world we now live in will not exist in the future if we continue to neglect the crisis of global warming. With overpopulation and overconsumption, our planet is being stripped of its natural resources. Factories and modern technologies, such as gas fueled automobiles, emit carbon dioxide, causing consequential damage to the atmosphere and our environment. In director Ron Bowman's National Geographic documentary, “Six * Degrees Could Change the World”, Earth's many urgent problems are displayed and explained. Earth is warming from depletion of the ozone, causing major glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise. The world's major cities will flood in a matter of a few decades. The rising temperatures also cause droughts. Just a 1 degree Celsius rise will turn the most fertile ranch land to desert, which affects food supply that is now in more demand than ever before. A 6*C cooling has caused the Ice Age. Imagine what a few degrees of warming will do. The future of every person on the planet is in danger, but the poor are the most vulnerable. As more people demand new technologies and products, the prosperous, large companies become richer as the poor become poorer. Big industrial nations are the major polluters of the world. The poorer countries will have to suffer the damage they did not cause.
The National Geographic documentary, “Six * Degrees Could Change the World”, reveals some of the underlying causes of the global issue. Global warming is caused by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions. Transportation is responsible for one third of the CO2 emissions. Heating homes, deforestation, agriculture, making cement and industry emits another third. Though electricity itself is not a carbon emitter, the power required to generate the electricity is responsible for the last third of CO2 emissions. The carbon dioxide is trapped in the atmosphere, absorbing solar radiation, heating the planet. This is the greenhouse effect. In director Michael Taylor's Global Warming : The Signs and the Science, the dangers of Earth's increased temperatures are explained. Increased temperatures melt large ice bodies. When masses of ice gets into the oceans, the natural patterns of the waters will change, causing more frequent and intense natural disasters. Melting ice also raises sea levels, putting coastlines and even some countries at potential risk of being flooded. Higher temperatures also cause droughts, destroying people's food and water supplies. Warmer temperatures bring about more, and larger insects that can transmit diseases. These diseases put animals and plants at risk of extinction. A problem of overpopulation adds to the issue because more people means higher demand for more of everything. Overpopulation also contributes to overconsumption. In One with Nineveh : Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future, Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University, quotes the modern scientific community, “...growing numbers of people, together with rising levels of consumption, especially among the world's rich, are threatening to the natural underpinnings of human life.” (7) Earth's limited resources cannot fulfill constantly increasing demands. In modern times, demand for extravagant, mostly unnecessary and even environmentally damaging luxuries, are skyrocketing. Large amounts of money are spent on these luxuries and not even attention is payed to the crisis of global warming. The government is also barely doing anything helpful to the cause, especially with corporation-hired lobbyists who can manipulate the government into enforcing their preferences and whatever they need to make more profits for the companies and themselves.
Many suggest little things such as switching to hybrid cars, using fluorescent light bulbs, and recycling reusable materials. In the CosmoGirl article, “American Waste Land”, Jessica Strul says, “What if you were to recycle all of your cans? See? You do have the power to improve the world.” The truth is that doing these small things simply isn't enough to make the impact. Not everybody is going to want to make the initial investment on a hybrid car. Hybrid cars use up electricity as well. Recycling materials also take up energy to fix and transfer those materials around, which doesn't do as much in reducing carbon emission as people think. It will take too much for individuals alone to save our planet with these little things. People must unite to make a difference, especially with the government's support . But it will be nearly impossible for the government to focus more on solving the environmental crisis with corporations constantly bribing it with money, turning them the other way. Corporations will influence government policy to benefit themselves with raised profits, whether it be through advertisements or taking in taxes, and they will leave the rest of the population to experience unfortunate financial complications. Stabilizing the population has been suggested, but there is the problem with religion. Some religions prohibit birth control. Many also believe that this means genocide.
As individuals, we must learn to rid our undeniable greed. The desire for lavish amenities is costing us our planet. Many of the 'finer things in life' are simply unnecessary objects that people desire in order to seek a little attention and make some impression of themselves. People do not need luxury, gas guzzling cars that cost more than some homes. Capitalistic minds are keeping the poor poorer and making the rich richer. To survive as a whole, society must take care of those who are incapable of caring for themselves. With enough attention to raise awareness from the public with the aid of the media, people will realize their unfortunate realities.
Education is key, which emphasizes the idea of more equal and abundant funding toward education systems. Many people must first obtain information of our global crisis in order to take further steps to help improve current conditions, and the ones who do know of global warming and deny the issue are simply consumed by self interest.
The government is no exception to having selfish motives. Money and power is its objective, as it is for the rest of the human population. In One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future, Paul R. Ehrlich states, “...the spread of Western economic values has helped to produce a dog-eat-dog world in which immediate financial gains too often govern people's relation with the environment and with one another...” (279) So the government, as well as everybody else, must consider the interest of the population as a whole before individual desires. People must learn to resist and ignore propaganda, for wealth and possessions are not reliable solutions to every aspect of their lives. Laws must be enforced to prevent people from carelessly abusing Earth's resources. In One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future, Paul R. Ehrlich states that consumption taxes on items and travel that create CO2 emissions must be imposed. Despite expected disapproval of raised water and gas prices, these must also be enforced in order to prevent wasting and further stressing the environment. Oil companies, car companies, and other environmentally negligent corporations mustn't be further encouraged by high profits.
Suggestions such as recycling are simple things that people can easily do to feel as if they are actually contributing to the solution of global warming. These 'easy-fix' solutions are so popular because people do not want to admit to their realities. Humans are innately selfish and competitive. It is vital to individual survival. But when one's greed causes another's anguish and extreme misfortunes, humans take a step back from evolving into better beings, which is what we strive for everyday. We can actually understand the underpinnings of Earth's many crises and perhaps find its solutions if we recognize, admit, and eliminate our own greed.
We humans cannot easily tell others to rid their selfishness, when we ourselves are flawed with our own greed. Human nature cannot be denied, but we ourselves constantly deny our own inevitable imperfections. Our current economy has taken some time to build, and people will not be willing to easily give up their desire for wealth. Most people are also too comfortably accustomed to their current lifestyles and it will definitely be a hardship to convert their thinking into a less capitalistic state. We must all recognize and eliminate our own, individual selfishness. We, whether rich or poor, can do this by supporting each other as much as we do for ourselves. Communities can host gatherings and all residents can contribute ideas that can benefit each other as a whole. As a big, connected group, people will acquire a better understanding of themselves as well as others through those around them, and when this happens, our greedy self interests diminish.
There may be no guaranteed solution to our crisis, but the future of the planet we humans have put in much effort to 'build' and have adjusted to as our homes is worth the attempt. In One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future, Paul R. Ehrlich states, “Dealing with population, consumption, and power will not be easy. But each day we do nothing forecloses options for creating a better future...” (15) Our every action determines our futures and the lives of future generations, so why not give Earth the proper treatment required to sustain life? We must care for our fragile, delicate home, from first conceiving the idea of global warming, to taking action to make big scale changes.

*Bowman, Ron, dir. “Six * Degrees Could Change the World”. National Geographic, 2008
*Taylor, Michael, dir. “Global Warming : The Signs and the Science”. South Carolina Educational Television, 2005.
*Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich. One With Nineveh : Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004.
*Strul, Jessica. “American Waste Land,” COSMOGIRL, December/January 2009.

Why Live Green?

(Winner of High School Group, Teen Essay Contest 2009)
by Daniel Xu

Countless centuries ago, the Earth was created. She became a planet capable of sustaining life on a large scale. She was the source of life for humans that inhabited on the planet. She provided them with food, water, and air, basically everything they needed to live and thrive on it. We humans owe her a great debt for all the things she has given us. Unfortunately, we have not paid and may never be able to pay our debt back fully. Worse yet, some of us do not realize this. It would be unthinkable if we did not repay what we owe her. And the best way to return her favor is to live green. We should start immediately living green, because doing so is good for the environment, money, and us humans.
What does “living green” mean? It is something that many of us struggle to answer and define. Most of us often associate the concept and practice of “living green” with something big, for example, treaties signed by countries to take actions against global warming. Also, most people think living green may require them to make significant and even life-changing sacrifices. Perhaps this is why many of us hesitate to act on the idea of living green. But as a matter of fact, living green can be any action or activity that results in a positive impact on the environment. Thus, living green can be done virtually by anybody, anywhere, and at any time. It is just that simple. The beneficial, “green” action does not have to be a big one. And we have no excuse of being reluctant to live green and thus pay back our due to the mighty Earth.
One advantage of living green is that it saves money. For example, carpooling can save some money. Carpooling is when a driver takes one or more passengers on a commute or short trip. My dad carpools to work and does see the benefits. Every workday morning, he goes to a place where carpool drivers wait for passengers with the same destination, San Francisco in my dad’s case. He notes that it is faster to take carpool than take bus or BART. Moreover, the entire ride does not cost him anything. It is also good for the environment, as there are fewer cars on the road than if drivers drive alone, hence causing less pollution. In addition to carpooling, resource conservation is another easy way to save additional money. One reason that some property owners pay too high water bills is that they excessively or inefficiently water their plants. Often, the plants are watered too much or the water is wasted by accidentally flowing to the pavement or the walls of a typical owner’s house. However, if the owners start to give the plants just enough water and are efficient in doing so, they will see the cost of their water bills to drop. Similarly, conscious usage of electricity will eventually pay dividends in the form of lower energy bills, as electricity is often wasted or excessively used. For example, simply turning off lights and non-essential appliances reduces electricity usage, therefore lowering the cost of utility bills, which obviously means less money to pay and more money to save. Another way of slashing utility bills is to replace old, inefficient appliances with energy-efficient ones. In addition, there is an advantage of owning solar panels. Homeowners who have installed them can make surplus electricity on sunny and clear days. They can expect to have a near zero energy bill and also sell surplus electricity back to the local energy company. The investment would pay for itself in a couple of years and a lot of money can be saved in the long term. Clearly, by using the minimum amount of all kinds of resource, savings will add up, and we humans benefit from that by having more disposable income.
Living green will also benefit the environment. Again, a good example is carpooling. It uses less gasoline because fewer cars are being driven, and in turn, less smog from cars is created. Because there is less smog being released, less pollutant contaminates the atmosphere of the Earth, leading to a less tainted environment. Also, the natural resource of petroleum, which is in limited supply, is saved because carpooling uses less gasoline. Another “green” possibility is to take public transportation rather than driving. It has a positive environmental impact, as transportation vehicles do not pollute at all or pollute very little compared to ordinary cars. These vehicles also tend to use no or little natural resources for their fuel, thus saving preciously non-renewable resources. Recycling is another simple green action that many households can take. For instance, instead of filling up limited landfill space with wasted paper, we can simply recycle it. All it takes is to put used paper into recycling bins instead of trashcans. The used paper can then be processed to make new paper and other paper products, saving extra trees from being cut down to make more paper. As fewer trees are being cut down, less pollution is created -- Cutting and transporting tree trunks require fuel. This contributes to a cleaner world. Also, having more trees on the planet contributes to a cleaner atmosphere, as they absorb carbon dioxide which is responsible for global warming. Metal and glass can also be recycled. When these items are being recycled, there is less need to mine their sources to satisfy demand. In short, recycling can conserve preciously non-renewable resources on the Earth from being depleted too quickly, save energy and money used to harvest such resources, and keep the environment cleaner.
Lastly, living green is good for human health. As mentioned above, my dad regularly takes carpool to work, and it has, in addition to the environment, benefited his health. In order to get to the carpool waiting area, he has to take a half-mile walk there. He finds that walking is good for his health. And for most public transportation users, they have to walk to the waiting stations. Walking regularly can improve their health. As I pointed out already, these types of public transportation produce less smog, keeping the air cleaner and benefiting human health. We breathe in fewer pollutants, thus reducing the number of harmful particles in our bodies and possibly extending our life spans. Also, changing the way we do our errands can have a positive impact on our physical well-being. Most people tend to drive cars to all of the locations on their to-do list. But such practice is wasteful and not friendly to the environment, in particular when the locations are within a walking distance. Gasoline is wasted in traversing short distances and unnecessary pollution is produced. If more people change the practice of driving to everywhere and instead walk whenever possible, all the human being on the Earth gets the benefit -- The Earth gets less polluted and humans get healthier because of a cleaner environment. True, some green actions entail some form of light to moderate physical activity, but we humans benefit from these actions.
Ultimately, living green saves money, conserves natural resources, protects the environment, and improves the health of humans. Being mindful and careful of our consumption of resources saves us from paying for wasted resources. Additionally, this helps conserve the limited natural resources on the Earth and saves them for use by future generations. Taking either public transportation or carpooling has a greener footprint than commuting work alone by car. Also, green actions are less harmful to the Earth, thus less harmful to our health. Moreover, taking certain green actions can improve physical fitness and health. To an individual, it may seem that green actions are just extremely tiny steps towards a cleaner future, but they become giant steps if more and more people recognize the need and importance to live green. Understanding the need and importance to live green can help us begin to appreciate all the things that the Earth has done and can do for the human being on the one hand, and realize the urgency to offer her our care and protection through green actions on the other hand. Hopefully, with this understanding, we will now start living green and fulfill our obligations to our beloved Earth.