Saturday, March 07, 2009

You as Superhero!

I just finished reading a book titled Exodus by Scottish writer Julie Bertagna. It begins in the year 2099. The Earth has succumbed to global warming and much of it is under water because the polar ice caps have melted. What once were great expanses of land like Europe, Asia, and North America are now small dots of islands, and only those where the continents' highest mountain peaks are able to remain above the ever-rising waters. As the ocean begins to overtake her small island that used to be England, the main character Mara, a 15-year-old girl, must find a way for her people to leave the land and survive.

Over the last few years, I’ve read different opinions on global warming. Some experts say we are destroying our own planet. Other scientists say the temperature increases and polar ice melting are normal events that have a natural cycle. Regardless of what the science says, I believe we all have a moral obligation to be good stewards of the land, energy, and water we use. Being a good steward leads to what all the scientists agree on—sustainability. That means people who come 30, 50, 100, 200 years after us will have trees, clean water, and clean air.

So many times in our lives we face the question, “What can I do as one person that will make difference?” When it comes to taking care of the environment, the answer is, “Plenty!”

I live in South Carolina where, in the summer, it’s pretty darn humid, so the first thing I’m NOT going to tell you is to “Set your thermostat to 72 degrees in the summer months.” Doing that in my house would earn you a painful beat down! But what you can do is turn out (or cut off as we say in the South) lights or the television as you leave a room if you’re the only one in the room. Turn off things like computer printers and gaming systems that stay plugged in, but aren’t always in use.

One of the biggest things you can do as an individual, and you can start right this second, is recycling. Almost everything we use is packaged in plastic, glass, cardboard or metal. When my daughter was a Sunshine Scout, she pledged to recycle. I bought a second trash can for the kitchen and reserved it for recyclables. I was amazed! We, one family, cut our garbage that went to the dump by one-third. (Yes, I measured it. I’m anal sometimes.) And we've been doing it for five years. Can you just imagine what we haven't sent to a landfill?

Now our daily newspapers, drink bottles, vegetable cans, glass containers, and cardboard packaging go back for re-use. Our city sanitation department picks it all up at the curbside from my bin.

These are only two ideas, but they save a ton of waste. Do I believe in a 100 years the Earth will be drowning under water like Mara’s world in the book? Not really, but I still want to do my part. What are things you can do? Whatever it is, trust me, like a hero in a book, you’re saving your world.

4 comments:

Martin said...

Sam,

Very good point. I'm European and I was taught in high school to treat the earth with needed respect and recycle. Number one sin: Oil spills. We were taught that one single drop of oil (motor oil's etc) will contaminate 1000 liter of water. I've once witnessed as a friend in Germany changed the oil on his car, he wasn't doing anything wrong, but. He was parked near a sewer when he did it and some observant neighbor called the authorities. Next thing you know, a fire truck came down the road. They cleaned a few drops that spilled on the asphalt four ft from the sewer. Our friend was fined for inadvertence.

--Martin

http://martinbartloff.blogspot.com/

Iris said...

Recycling is incredibly important, and I don't think that many teens my age realize just what a difference it makes. Recycling is a great way for one person to make a huge impact... and it is a habit that can be practiced for forever.

Iris said...

Recycling is incredibly important, and I don't think that many teens my age realize just what a difference it makes. Recycling is a great way for one person to make a huge impact... and it is a habit that can be practiced for forever.

Pam Ripling said...

Sam, what I love is that our children are being taught off the get-go to recycle. When I was a child, we thought nothing of tossing a candy wrapper out the car window (the horror!) -- there weren't any litter laws back then. Now, my kids have grown up with having 3 cans at the curb: recycle, "green" waste and trash. We are diligent. Our recycle bins double what we throw in the trash.

Thanks for the review of Exodus, too. Sounds like a good book.

Pam
http://readingwithscissors.blogspot.com