The photograph I chose for this post is one in which I find myself walking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, at the National Park, El Calafate, Patagonia Argentina. In the pic I am drinking the fresh water of the glacier. When you travel to these kinds of destinations and get in touch with the immensity of nature it is clear how little we actually are. And yet, the human race has drastically changed the environment. For us and for the rest of the species.
We are quickly running out of space, that’s a fact. It’s time to apply the three R’s of the environment: reduce, reuse, recycle. Then practice what you preach: don’t buy things you don’t need or items that come in wasteful packaging or that cannot be recycled. Reuse and recycle whatever you can.
Many of the things we use every day, like paper bags, soda cans, and milk cartons, are made out of materials that can be recycled. Recycled items are put through a process that makes it possible to create new products out of the materials from the old ones. In addition to recycling the things you buy, you can help the environment by buying products that contain recycled materials. Many brands of paper towels, garbage bags, greeting cards, and toilet paper, to name a few examples, will tell you on their labels if they are made from recycled materials. In some towns, you can leave your recyclables in bins outside your home, and a truck will come and collect them regularly. Other towns have recycling centers where you can drop off the materials you’ve collected. Things like paper and plastic grocery bags, and plastic and aluminum cans and bottles can often be brought to the grocery store for recycling. Whatever your system is, it’s important to remember to rinse out and sort your recyclables!
Instead of throwing things away, try to find ways to use them again! For example:
Bring cloth sacks to the store with you instead of taking home new paper or plastic bags. You can use these sacks again and again. You’ll be saving some trees! Plastic containers and reusable lunch bags are great ways to take your lunch to school without creating waste. Coffee cans, shoe boxes, margarine containers, and other types of containers people throw away can be used to store things or can become fun arts and crafts projects. Use your imagination! Don’t throw out clothes, toys, furniture, and other things that you don’t want anymore. Somebody else can probably use them. You can bring them to a center that collects donations, give them to friends, or even have a yard sale. Use all writing paper on both sides. Use paper grocery bags to make book covers rather than buying new ones. Use silverware and dishes instead of disposable plastic utensils and plates. Store food in reusable plastic containers.
Reducing the amount of waste you produce is the best way to help the environment. There are lots of ways to do this. To be aware is a beginning. If we are responsible consumers, the companies will try to improve their procedures in order to sell their products and services to this new consumers. You have the power. Be the change you want to see in the world. Let’s make all together a cleaner planet to live for us and the future generations.