2011-2012 Commentary Slider — 26 April 2012
It’s spring, let’s go green

A part of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is damaging the environment. Image credit: rizkiilyas.wordpress.com

What are Oakland High School students doing to keep our environment green?

Rachelle-Ann Esmele

It’s March! The trees are green, the flowers are blooming the sun is shining, but it’s not what it used to be. We have lumberjacks cutting down trees for resources such as paper or firewood and wood for building houses. We also waste tons of water without acknowledging it by taking long showers.

According to nationalgeographic.com , the earth’s water is divided into three parts, fresh water, salt water, and the water in glaciers. The earth has 97 percent of salt water, 2 percent of water in glaciers, 1 percent of fresh water. Half of the fresh water is already polluted. We lose a huge amount of water every day.

“I’m depressed about that,” says senior Deborah Ramos.

We leave our faucets on while brushing our teeth. We shower for an excessive amount of time. We flush when it’s unnecessary. We throw away recyclable paper, cans, and plastic. We who have cars use a huge amount of gasoline. My family lives 3 blocks away from a Walgreens, and my dad would drive there instead of walking. That’s a waste of gas.

According to http://www.independent.co.uk a whole entire island made up of trash called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floats in the Pacific Ocean, which can create a lot of damage to the environment. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was formed from the trash collected by the oceanic currents. It also collects trash from all over the world. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California; some scientists estimate that the patch is twice the size of Texas.

According to rainforests.mongabay.com, in 2000-2005 the reason why we cut trees down is because they are an enormous resource used for paper, creating houses, and making fire. The trees that are cut down are divided up into 5 parts; 1 percent is used for large-scale commercial agriculture; 3 percent is used for fires, mining, urbanization, road constructions, and dams; 3 percent for logging; 33 percent used for small-scale subsistence agriculture; 60 percent used for cattle ranches. If we recycle one ton of paper, we save up to about 20 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.

People should be more aware of what they’re doing to the environment. Some students at Oakland High have made changes with the community and at home to keep the environment safe and clean.

“[My family] started recycling more,” said senior Tiara Barrington.

Barrington isn’t the only student at Oakland High who has made changes in her home and community.

Ramos says, “[My family] recycle, very proudly, and I drink tap water. I have some plants in my room, which help filter out carbon. When asked how others can help the environment, Ramos said, “Definitely show up to Campus Clean-Up, and stop using harsh chemical cleaners.”

Freshman Carlos Mendoza said, “We should be more concerned about [environmental health] because this is our only planet that we can actually live in and survive in.”

It is really important that we keep our environment healthy. We breathe in this polluted air, we might even drink polluted water. We can make a difference by changing at least one thing in our family’s daily routine that will improve our environment.

“We should try to help the environment, and just not destroy it more,” added Mendoza.

What can you and your family do? You can recycle paper, cans, and plastics. It’s also better to drink out of reusable canteens than disposable or recyclable water bottles, since even recycling requires water and energy. You can drink tap water. You can also use water from the rain, by collecting it in a jar or a bucket when it’s raining. You can drink the rainwater or use it to clean dishes, wash your car, or even bathe. You can use less water by turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth. Flush less: when it’s yellow, let it mellow; when it’s brown, flush it down. Take showers shorter than 10 or 15 minutes long. Walk more often for transportation, especially when you’re going somewhere that’s not far.

For you to be healthy, our environment should be healthy.

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