For a long time we have made the Earth sort of our slave, exploring it, taking whatever we can from it without caring about the consequences, spoiling it and not taking care of it, and right now we are simply starting to let it die in a way.
This fact is very concerning because all of us are only guests in this world we live in and at any time we can get “thrown out”, risking all of our lives and all of our investments in this planet. But despite what many people think, this moment is very near. This is all because human beings have caused a massive ecological instability due to their massive consumption habits and pollution. We have to think and consider our actions and reverse them before it’s too late for our planet and for us. We are quickly running out of resources like water, fossil fuels and other raw materials, like wood, and we pollute far too much and produce vast amounts of garbage that could easily be recycled. We should recycle to avoid a far greater degradation of the situation that we are in now.
Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse,Recycle" waste hierarchy.
Recycling is the process of taking a product at the end of its useful life and using all or part of it to make another product.
Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, metal, plastic, textiles, and electronics. Materials to be recycled are either brought to a collection center or picked up from the curbside, then sorted, cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials bound for manufacturing.
To reduce is the process and the policy of reducing the amount of waste produced by a person or a society. You can reduce your waste production by:
• Buying only the essential things, so there is no waste.
• Printing or copying only in the needed amounts.
• Looking for products that have a recyclable packaging.
• Preferring glass bottles over plastic ones (glass is more easily recycled).
So the consumer must have the care to buy products that he/she really needs and that are preferably packaged in a rational and ecological way and the industry, in its turn, should change its perspective and way of production, by making them compatible with the goals of the environmental protection.
To reuse is to use an item more than once. You can reuse items by, for example:
• Using the back of printed paper sheets for drafts.
• Printing on both sides of a paper sheet.
• Using the leftovers of fruits and vegetables to make compost.
• Using certain packages, like cans, for other purposes instead of throwing them away.
These measures are a simple way that you, as a consumer, can help the environment and help preserve natural resources from being depleted.
How much time does nature take to absorb certain residues?
• Newspapers take two to six weeks.
• Paper packages take one to four weeks.
• Paper napkins take three months.
• Cigarette buds and matches take two years.
• Bubblegum takes five years.
• Nylon takes thirty to forty years.
• Plastic bags and cups take two hundred to four hundred and fifty years.
• Aluminum cans, batteries and bottle caps take one hundred to five hundred years.
All of us are free and so we must be aware that if we don’t contribute for a healthier planet we can hardly guarantee a place on Earth for future generations. Much like our ancestors achieved to guarantee our presence on Earth today, we have the obligation to heal the disease we have caused on our planet and ensure that future generations have a good quality of life.
Besides the 3 R policy we should obtain a more civilized and honest behavior, like for example, saving indispensable natural resources, such as water which is diminishing, lessening the excessive waste of energy, since it constitutes a great source of pollution, essentially lessening the amounts of waste and pollutant gases produced .
So summing up, our planet needs our help to continue living for many years to come. Let’s take care of the Earth, let’s live!
By Inês Macedo, nº15 and Isabela Bica,16 - 11ºB