Recycle, recycle, recycle. Let me get one thing straight here: I am not going to talk about recycling. In my opinion, we have all heard it so many times and we are sick and tired of it.
Now that is out of the way, I am just going to start off with the “why” of helping the planet. No, I am not just going to regurgitate what we have heard over our entire lives. This is just from a high schooler for a high schooler.
The age old reason is “for the future generations” but let’s face it, right now we are only just thinking about our future, let alone the future of our kids. In reality, I think we need to see the impacts that affect us and not how others are affected. That being said we are selfish teenagers and all.
Let’s start with animals. Have you seen all those deer, groundhogs, raccoons and such around your neighborhood? Well, let’s thank good old urbanization for that! Tearing down all those natural habitats so you can have that nice third shopping mall option or that closer McDonalds.
When these homeless animals invade your “territory” what do we do? Why we kill them of course! Or maybe we are a bit more humane and just capture or repel them. Can you just feel the love?
After you finish shooing that racoon away, let me ask you drivers a question. How are your wallets? Those gas prices are just killer, are they not? Those prices just keep going up as we get lower on our reserves of natural gas. So, that $3 gas price is not about to go down. But that wallet of yours getting thin is just a minor effect of the constant usage of harmful natural gas.
Now, that you see how helping the planet affects you personally, let’s talk about what to do about these problems. These are things that we can do or petition our school to do… other than recycling.
Well, on a personal level, you could carpool with friends or even ride the bus, sigh. Carpooling even has a double benefit: less cars to compete with in the parking lot. However, I will acknowledge that getting up in the morning is hard enough, let alone getting up early enough to pick up even more people. Just rotate who drives every week or so, so that way, you will get to sleep in some mornings.
In five, 10 years from now, as you get older and grow tired of that racoon bugging you, try advocating to preserve some wildlife land. Just argue that it is to protect your property from the wildlife incursion. Or if that is not your cup of coffee, maybe just settle on a slightly smaller house to preserve some nature.
But that is in the future. What do we do now? What is our school doing to preserve the environment?
For starters, those lunch trays, biodegradable. What a lovely idea, now if we could just have non-toxic food… Moving from lunch to class, the outdoor classroom could be considered a way to raise awareness on nature or a little protected plot of nature but I think most of us just think it is pretty.
And of course, all the recycling bins. With just the paper recycling bins in classrooms, we recycle about 990 bins of paper a month.
There is still more our school could do to help advocate and help the environment. For a start, the school could encourage carpooling and bus riding for the whole gas problem. Then they could make an effort to make teenagers care about the environment in a way that actually works, instead of putting us to sleep.
Unfortunately, I now have to break my promise of not talking about recycling for my final point. While there are recycling bins of all kinds all over the school, I have still noticed a problem. In the classrooms, there is supposed to be a trash can, paper recycling, and commingle recycling bin. As I’m sure you know, the other recycling is just a trashcan painted to say recycling.
Really, that commingle recycling bin is just another trashcan. More effort should have been and should be made to distinguish the two apart so the commingle recycling can be used as it should. I don’t think a paint touch-up will do: the entire commingle recycling bin needs to be painted a different color from the other two and clearly have written in permanent marker: “Plastic and Metal Recycling.”
Here at the end you may still be thinking, “So what? It is not like any of this could ever affect me.” That is your opinion and being this close to the end, I really do not know if I could change that at all.
But for all of you who do not agree, I have one final thing for you. Yes, realizing something needs to be done is a big part of change but there is something more important than that. The most important part of change is action.