Save The Planet, It’s Our Only One!

Lauren_Frederick_webYou’re killing me. I’m also killing you. We’re killing each other. We’re killing our loved ones. We’re killing our home. We’re killing Earth.

Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years, but how much longer can it deal with us? We have inhabited Earth for thousands of years. We started out loving this planet, respecting nature, but do we love it now? In short, no.

Pollutants fill the water we drink and the air we breathe. Forests are being cut down, leaving thousands of plants and animals without a place to live. Runoff from farms creates dead zones. Plastic kills, literally. It kills thousands of animals each year. Efforts have been made to stop this horrendous damage to Earth, but is it enough? How can we teach others about the happenings of this planet?

We’re not in the movie Wall-E where we can get on a spaceship and leave Earth. This is the only place we have and we’re killing it.

Sulfur and nitrogen oxides from power plants and cars pollute the air. These gases lead to acid rain. Did you know that the rain is always acidic?

Water should have a pH, or potential hydrogen, of 7.0. Normal rainwater has a pH of 5.0-5.5, making it acidic. It can even get as low as 4.0. Acid rain degrades our planet. It makes lakes, streams, and rivers become very acidic which is toxic to those animals who live in or drink this water. Acid rain also speeds up the rate of decay, causing quicker erosion.

Clear-cutting of forests leaves many without a place to live. Animals are forced out of their home because people need more land so they can build houses or farms. Where are these animals supposed to go? To many, it doesn’t matter. They’re animals, who cares, right? What about those animals, like salmon, who travel back to the same place generation after generation so they can give birth? They won’t be able to find where they were born because of the destruction of their land.

Farmers around the world use pesticides and herbicides to keep their produce pest free. That’s good for the farmers, but what about the aquatic animals? There is a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that continues to grow each year.

Dead zones make it impossible for plants and animals to live. Fishermen have to go out farther and farther each year just to catch shrimp and fish.

What causes this? The runoff from farms. The runoff leads into the Mississippi River which eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. This particular dead zone has almost reached Texas.

A lot of this dead zone includes nitrogen, which is very toxic to humans and animals. If we were to drink this, we would become really sick and possibly die. To get rid of the nitrates in our water, it goes through a large filtration system.

Did you know that Des Moines Water Works has the largest nitrate removal system in the whole U.S.?

Their website says it takes $7000 to run it for one day. I don’t know about you, but, I’d rather receive $7,000 each day than spend it.

Plastic was made to benefit us because it doesn’t break down. It still benefits us, but it doesn’t benefit marine life.

Many animals have died because they got caught in plastic and weren’t able to get free.

Like I said, plastic doesn’t degrade. It breaks into smaller pieces of plastic that animals will think of as food.

They can choke on these small pieces and die because it isn’t food and it shouldn’t be ingested. You know how when you were young and adults would tell you “don’t put that plastic bag over your head?”

This is the same concept except we grow up and learn to not do that while animals don’t know that and will die in the end.

How many of you would like that feeling of guilt because you know you killed your pet but could’ve prevented it? I sure wouldn’t.

Next time you have aluminum, plastic, or paper on campus and you want to throw it away, look up at the signs the Environmental Science Club has put up. Ask yourself, “Can this be recycled?”

If the answer is yes, put it in the recycling bin which sits right next to the trash can. Save our planet, because, I really don’t like killing you. 

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