Thursday, May 31, 2012

Environmental Issues Today: Pollution

                  I believe that pollution is one of the most important environmental issues we face today. Pollution from industrial, municipal, and hazardous wastes are contributing to the detriment of our environment. One of the main causes of this pollution is the way in which we choose to live, by over-consuming and over using our earth's resources faster than it can replenish itself. Some of these resources, like fossil fuels needed for coal, oil, and gasoline create pollution and are non-renewable and yet, we depend of fossil fuels as a main source of energy to power our cars and production of materials. One of these materials produced by the using oil is plastics. I did not know how much plastics caused damage to the environment and the species that live in it. Since they are not bio-degradable, these forms of plastics stay in our environment forever. Either on landfills or floating in the oceans where tiny pieces are just circulating and zoo-plankton,  fish, and other marine life consume these plastics. Our pollution is caused by waste is either dumped into the ocean, burned releasing harmful chemicals in the ozone, and dumped onto landfills releasing harmful chemicals into our soils and water supplies.
                 What we can do as a society to conserve our natural resources, by living by the "4 R's", Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We need to only buy things that we really need to reduce over-consumption, so we can manage not having the "lasted and greatest" material things.  We can reduce our wastes by not falling into the packaging craze, by refusing to use plastic bags and bring your own reusable one.
                  With the knowledge and information I have gained in my environmental science class is to live by the "4 R's". Even the small changes I make can impact those around me to do the same. A few changes I can make is to drive my car only when needed, and carpool if possible. I can also refuse to fall into over-consuming things I don't need. When we watched the Story of Stuff in class, it explained how acquiring all this extra stuff isn't going to make us any happier, so not buying things I don't need here and there will add up. I can reuse materials like re-usable water bottles, and avoid extra packing on groceries.

Interesting Things I Learned This Semester:

                 Some interesting things I learned this semester came from several documentaries we got ot watch in class, in fact I even re-watched them at home on Netflix. The documentary, Dive, shows how even though we live in a country that can produce enough food to feed everyone, 40% of it gets thrown way and ends up on landfills.
                 Last week in class we watched a expose on "E-waste" which was a real eye opener. I did not know that the U.S. ship this electron wastes which is hazardous to China where the poorest towns live in a cesspool of "E-waste". For a few cents they sauter hard-drives and other electrons to get materials like mercury.

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