Addressing Sustainability Issues

U.S. landfill

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U.S. landfill

Ella Troiano, Staff Writer

 Imagine a world without any coral reefs, no rainforests, flooded cities, extinct animals, and little to no clean air. That will be the future if we don’t do anything to stop it. That will be 2050 if we don’t do anything to stop it. 


Sustainability is becoming more and more important. I’m sure you have all heard of the word sustainability but can you define it? Sustainability is the focus on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. 


In order to protect the future of our planet, we all need to individually reduce our environmental footprints and as a population becomes more sustainable. “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” 


Two of the main issues that we need to address are the lack of recycling and renewable energy. 


“There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” Do you ever think about where your Chick-fil-a bag goes after you throw it away? Or what happens to your plastic fork after you finish using it? Every year, about 230 million tons of “trash” goes to the landfill each day in the United States. 9/10ths of all solid waste in the United States does not get recycled. Roughly 500,000 trees are thrown away each day in the form of newspapers. We only have one Earth which means anything we use will remain on this planet, unless we start recycling now. 


Not only do we not recycle enough but we don’t use enough renewable energy. Renewable energy is a form of clean energy that is provided by natural sources present in nature. The main forms of renewable energy are solar, wind, hydro, biofuel and geothermal. None of these sources ever run out. But we don’t use them enough. Humans still heavily rely on nonrenewable energy sources. Everyone is guilty of it. We all fill up our cars with gas, we all air condition our house, and we all turn on the lights. But once again, it comes down to that important question. Do you ever think about it? Do you ever think about what you’re using? That eventually you may no longer be able to fill up your car? Or air condition your home?


So what are we going to do to solve this crisis? How are we all going to do our part to limit our environmental footprint?


We need to recycle more. 9 out of 10 people said they would recycle if it were “easier.”So make it easier but make it easier for yourself. Add a recycling bin inside your house so it’s easy to access and easy to make the right choice. Be aware of the paper that you use. Print double sided, use recycled paper, and do homework online. Everyone needs to become more aware of the things they buy and the things they throw away. Try to buy goods with less packaging. And if recycling isn’t an option, reuse. For example, my family tries not to use plastic bags. We use containers and large cloth bags. We also all have cloth napkins instead of throwing away paper napkins. But we can all do more. The little things add up. Recycling doesn’t have to be hard. 


In addition to recycling more, it’s possible to use more renewable energy. Solar panels are an effective energy source that can be used in your home or business. It saves people money in the long run but more importantly provides energy without negative impacts on the environment. Another solution is to drive a hybrid or electric car. Those fancy Teslas that you like to point out to your friends while on the road, are doing their part. They are reducing their energy intake and saving natural resources. We have so many options for renewable energy. How many wind turbines have you seen?  Just 1 wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power 1,400 homes. We need more of those. And we need to put in more effort into using better energy sources. 


All in all, we need to do better. I’m asking each of you to do your part. Recycle more and try to use more renewable energy. “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”