Earth as of Right Now

Jasmin Ladher

Imagine you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and there’s a slight breeze. You spot land and steer towards it. You close your eyes and take a deep breath when suddenly the sun beams are no longer hitting your face. You open your eyes, there are thick clouds of smog. The sun is barely visible, just peeking through patches of cloud. You lose your balance when your boat strikes something. You look around and there’s a large pile of trash floating around along with dead fish as they seemed to have become one with the pile, considering the plastic tied around them. The happiness you had a couple minutes ago seemed to have disappeared just like that.

We don’t seem to realize how cruel we act towards our Earth and how the place that provides us shelter and food is the same place that we continue to mistreat day after day. Pollution and climate change is nothing more than a consequence of our own actions. Everyone seems to have their own opinions about it, that it’s horrible and that it can be fixed if everyone starts using metal straws, but the truth is we’ve ignored it for so long that it’s now irreversible. Animals are going extinct, the poles are melting, sea levels are rising, the weather is getting hotter and hotter, there are abnormal storms, and that’s not even all of it.

I spoke with Ramandeep Kaur from Florida, an environmental protection agent, and she seemed to have strong opinions about the topic. She stated, “There has been a lot of awareness over the last few years. More awareness will cause us to go in the right direction.”

Obviously, everyone knows about the climate change issue, or at least has an idea of what it is. Although that’s the case, nobody goes out of their way to do their part. Even myself, I’m aware that I’m at an age where I feel like I can’t really do much to help because it feels like no matter what I do there is no difference. And if kids in high school were to “do their part”, it would not lessen the impact, it wouldn’t even make a dent. Freshman Melany Sanchez, “I recycle all of the plastic I use, and I teach my younger siblings to recycle.”

It’s not easy to create change, especially in our own families. Everyone has their own concerns and worries and climate change is usually the last thing on our minds. But, it’s important to remember that our world will no longer be the happy place we see now. Soon, there will be water lapping at our feet and the heat will be too strong for us to go out. It seems like a really scary fiction story but if we continue down the path we’re on right now, it’s going to be a slap to reality. What we can start doing is throwing out plastic water bottles, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and straws. We can stop burning wax candles. Even though we know it doesn’t do much, imagine if seven billion people all decided to quit plastic altogether and the difference it would make.

It’s not just land that’s being affected, it’s also the oceans. There’s so much trash and chemical waste being thrown into the oceans everyday which leads to so many animals dying, food chains being destroyed, animals’ habitats and lifestyles being thrown off and so much more. One really good example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Because of swirling ocean currents, the garbage seems to collect in one area and National Geographic describes it as “marine debris.” Most of this being comprised of plastic, and of course, plastic is not considered biodegradable because of how long it takes to degrade. So, it will not break down, it just breaks up into smaller pieces but doesn’t “go away.” It covers 1.6 million square kilometers and 70% of marine debris has already hit the ocean floor.

Aside from water pollution, air pollution is a health hazard not only to animals but to humans as well. It could lead to diseases and lung cancer. Studies show that in 10 to 20 years, air pollution will be so bad, and the air will be so toxic that we won’t be able to go out without oxygen kits.

According to Climate.nasa.gov, global warming is a big effect from pollution. Water levels are rising, and ice is melting. Polar Bears are losing their homes and are dying. The climate is changing and it’s getting much hotter all around the world.

If we keep dumping trash in our soil, it will no longer be fertile, and we won’t be able to grow crops to feed families. Pollution is also creating many unnatural dead zones.

Tips from Vicky Kaur, an Ultra Clean Technology Worker who manages the chemicals and other waste that is discharged into the environment. There are very simple things that everyone can do to help the situation like recycling. Vicky mentioned that recycling is the biggest and most effective thing to do to help. She also said to do community pickups in parks, schools, rivers, and near streets. Other areas like The Bay have community clean up days with the entire school. Buying and using green products also has a big effect. Eliminating uses of plastic products, especially plastic bottles. If you can completely stop using plastic bottles for certain reasons, limiting the amount you are buying can also help. She also says “Plant. Plant trees around your neighborhood, in your backyard, in your front yard.” Lastly, one of the more important and easiest things you can do is teach someone about this topic. Chances are you know a lot about this topic but someone else might not. Tell your teacher, your younger sibling, your neighbor, your friends from a different school, your friends from the same school, tell your soccer coach or your piano teacher, just help spread the information to help destroy pollution before it destroys us.