Saving Our Dying Planet

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Saving Our Dying Planet

Anna Wheeler, Staff Writer

Climate change is real and it’s killing our Earth. This man-made crisis poses a fundamental threat to all species living on our polluted planet. Human activity plays a huge role in the rising temperatures and decreasing of biodiversity that is now impossible to ignore. The environment faces progressive contamination and scientific evidence points towards the overuse of fossil fuels and non-biodegradable products to being the source of its destruction. Fossil fuel companies’ tyrannical reign narrows our window of action to preserve our precious planet by creating a dependence on their products. While as individuals we may feel small, meek, and unable to make a difference, banding together to save our world may be our only hope.

Recently, environmental activists have been publicly pleading for help to save our planet through their usage of social media and other online networks. With their increase in digital popularity, many organizations have seized the opportunity to spread awareness through a specific type of Instagram post.

Such posts are seen as controversial, as they typically claim that they will “plant a tree for every 100 likes” or “donate $10 per 1,000 likes” which is on one hand, good as they are helping the environment and spreading awareness at the same time. They are able to get millions of Instagram users, especially teenagers, to repost these messages across their stories and feed, allowing for a new generation to feel obligated to save their home that might not last as long as they do. This “fear factor” is what is making the topic so popular, as those who are younger and more impressionable are more likely to be terrified of not having a planet left for them when they get older. These posts are also seen as a gateway to helping our planet despite being only one person.

On the other hand, there is a fair share of people that are questioning the true intentions for these posts, seeing the need for likes to plant a tree unnecessary, as the multi-million dollar corporations promoting these taglines bring in enough donations by themselves to do what they promise without the need for likes. People also express the concern that these posts are now being reposted more for the “aesthetic” rather than addressing the actual issue.

I have admittedly once reposted a video about the environment on my story to raise awareness, but then I questioned how much I actually contributed as I had done nothing to help the environment before, at least nothing hands-on. After many hours of research, I have found a list of simple things that you and I can both do in our everyday life and in our community that would actually be beneficial to our planet.

These are little things you can change in your everyday life that will make a long term difference:

  1. Replace your regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. This will save around 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  2. Drive less. Alternatively, you can walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation. One pound of carbon dioxide is saved per mile that you don’t drive.

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  3. Recycle more. You can save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide by recycling household waste that you would usually throw away.
  4. Plant a tree yourself. One ton of carbon dioxide is absorbed per tree.
  5. Use less hot water. Mundane tasks such as cleaning dishes, showering, etc. can all be done using less hot water, saving approximately 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  6. Use metal straws and replace plastic cups, grocery bags, and other products with reusable alternatives. By reducing the amount of plastic you consume, you are lessening both land and air pollution caused by the creation and destruction of these goods.
  7. Use less electricity by turning off electronics when they aren’t needed. This saves thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  8. Adjust your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter to save around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  9. Switch to using more eco-friendly beauty products such as makeup, skin care, and shampoo that uses zero-waste packaging and natural ingredients that don’t harm the environment.
  10. Don’t wear or buy clothing from fast fashion brands and instead purchase clothing from sustainable brands. This will reduce the amount of textile waste that ends up polluting the environment.

These are some ways you can get involved and save the Earth in your community:

  1. Organize a beach clean up. If every community pitched in, we would have significantly
  2. Donate uneaten food to soup kitchens instead of throwing it away.
  3. Donate old clothes to thrift stores.
  4. Volunteer to pick up litter on highways.
  5. Spread awareness through social media of local opportunities to help the environment. But not just for the likes, make real steps towards improving our earth!

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