The Importance of Protecting Mother Earth

With midterm elections rapidly approaching, and following the statements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s issue “Global Warming of 1.5℃,” climate change has been a hot topic among news outlets and internet culture. During a New York press release on September 26, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres warned that “Climate change is indeed running faster than we are, and we have the risk to see irreversible damage that will not be possible to recover if we don’t act very, very quickly.” (full release found here.)

                                                                         Photo courtesy of Stocksnap

If we continue along the path of our current environmental abuse, by 2030 humanity will have passed the point of runaway climate change prevention, leaving the future in our hands, as reported by the Huffington Post.

While the already apparent devastating effects to our environment in these reports appear to be impossible to reverse, there are ways we can still help slow down the effects right here on our campuses!

1. Watching water usage ​As if we haven’t heard it once before, I’ll say it again! We have to start saving our water where we can, so always remember to turn off the faucet when you are not using it, like while scrubbing your dishes, your hands, or brushing your teeth. As reported by sustainability.ncsu.edu, a person can save up to 200 gallons monthly by simply turning off the faucet while they brush, so let’s turn it off and start saving!

2. Reducing plastic use With multiple restaurants eliminating plastic straws, the globe is already seeing a dip in its plastic consumption, but we don’t have to stop there. Using plastic containers instead of plastic bags, bringing metal spoons and forks in our lunch boxes, and reusing Hydro Flasks/cups during our dining experiences are a few small, yet easy ways to reduce our ever growing use of plastic.

3. Using alternative transportation

Hybrid cars, while an excellent stab at helping reduce global emissions, are a costly switch for those not looking to buy a new or more fuel-efficient vehicle. Carpooling, utilizing public transportation, regularly taking your car in for maintenance service, or simply opting out of driving to bike or walk instead. These are all small ways to watch your carbon footprint. Not to mention, exercising or spending time with your friends while you all take a trip together are healthier both physically and emotionally for you anyway.                                                                          Photo courtesy of Stocksnap

According to the Department of Transportation, "biking 10km each way to work would save 1500kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year," which translates to 3,306.9 pounds!

5. Remembering to recycle

Not only does recycling allow materials to be reused or created into new items, thereby reducing the production of new plastics, glass, or paper products, but it also helps reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. According to www.conserving-energy-future.com, garbage in landfills release toxic gases, such as methane, into the earth’s atmosphere and thereby impacts our climate, so by reducing the amount of waste going into one, we can help slow down toxic emissions into the air we breathe.

6. Getting educated Most importantly, staying updated on the state of the environment, current government policies regarding environmental agendas, and how you can better help the earth will all serve as catalysts towards slowing the effects of climate change. Spreading the word, awareness, or educating others about the importance of the state of our planet could help us avoid catastrophic damage to our oceans, atmosphere, and current standard of living. Researching and voting on government positions or propositions that advocate for the environment accordingly may also help ensure coherent policies are implemented to help slow the irreversible damage done to the environment.

Remember, we are the ones who have to establish healthy practices, as we are living through the years where our climate is already undergoing changes, and the effects of our carbon footprint are impacting our daily lives. It’s in our hands!