By: Ava Silvestri, ‘25, and Gaby Becker, ‘25, Editorial Staff
The Earth – a wonderful place where animals thrive, the grass is green, and the waters are clear – is in danger. For the past 50 years, plants have been turning brown, animals have been dying off, and waters have been filling with plastic and waste. But the crisis is at its worst right now. This issue is most commonly known as “global warming”: the long term heating of the Earth’s temperatures because of human activities. Global warming is not the only issue, there’s animal extinction, extreme plastic pollution, climate change, and many other environmental issues.
Animal extinction is the gradual dying of animal species over a period of time. Many animals commonly known today, such as pandas and elephants, are in danger. The next generation will be learning about pandas in history class and how they were great animals but died off. Animal’s natural habitats are getting warmer, affecting their everyday lives. Most animals can not adjust to different temperatures then they are used to. Polar bears are mainly found in Antarctica and other colder climates. As the Earth gets warmer, polar bears will not be able to adjust to the changes.
Plastic pollution is another major global environmental issue. Plastic pollution can occur both on land and in the oceans negatively affecting animals and humans. Some causes of plastic pollution include water bottles, grocery store bags, fish nets, and milk cartons which take about 400 years to decompose. About 12.7 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year resulting in the injury and death of marine life, due to the exposure or consumption of toxic debris. Plastic also contains harmful chemicals such as carcinogen vinyl chloride (VC) which causes cancer and other health issues. Some ways to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the environment include using reusable bags rather than plastic, recycling rather than throwing products into the trash, and using reusable water bottles rather than plastic. Due to the extreme amount of plastic dumped into the ocean, a 1.6 million square kilometer “island” has formed, known as the Pacific Garbage Patch. This further emphasizes the changes needed to be made in daily life to ensure plastic pollution decreases.
Although global warming is a big issue, there are actions that can be taken in your daily life to help. Purchasing an electric car instead of a gasoline one or putting solar panels on the roofs of your houses are major changes that can be taken. However, simple actions can be taken. When you leave a room, make sure the lights are turned off. Turn off the tap when not in use. Walk and ride your bike when the weather allows. Use reusable items, such as metal water bottles and metal straws. These are all ways to help save the planet. Although they may seem simple, if everyone comes together and starts to make simple changes, we can better the environment for a more positive future.