Lights, microphone, ACTION!
That's how it went on Thursday, April 22, 2010. We crammed around a table with a microphone an a computer and addressed the world. Rye Junior High participated in the for earth day. I was a speaker, so I'll tell you firsthand how it went. After two fifteen minute segments before my group, four of us walked into the seventh grade science room for our turn. We had planned a slide show to present what we do to our earth and what we can do to stop it. We were all nervous with excitement as we stepped in there! We introduced our group and turned on the slide show. After a few moments of dead silence, we realized our viewers sent us messages (via the chat room available for comments from the public) that the sound went down. Not wanting to give up such a chance of a lifetime, we stretched the microphone across the room and continued the slide show.
The slide show was fantastic. Our first slide featured aluminum. Did you know that a can just thrown away will still be here in 500 years? There's no limit to how many times a can can be reused or recycle, so let's make that can be recycled for 500 years instead. And, recycling just one aluminum can can power a TV for three full hours! Since we use over 80 billion cans a year, that's 24,000,000,000 hours of TV power we could have PER YEAR. Twenty-four trillion hours. Having second thoughts?
The next slide was plastic. Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles per hour. Not exactly the best statistic. Plastic saves twice as much energy if its recycled instead of burned. As well, every piece of plastic tossed into the ocean may one day kill one million sea creatures. In the Pacific ocean, there is a giant turning current full of plastic that doesn't go away called a gyre. Birds, turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, anything could get caught in them and die. Things will swallow bits of plastic and die of poisoning. They can also eat so much of the plastic they are always full and cannot get the real food they need, so they die of starvation even though they're gorged.
The next was about paper. Recycling one run of a newspaper can save 75 trees. All the wood and paper we use could heat 50 million homes for 20 years. Most of that paper is junk mail. The average household throws away 13,000 pieces of junk mail. Not only is it unwanted, but it is harmful. Trees are basically cut down to be thrown away! That's like building a house from scratch just to tear it down when you're done. It wastes money to grow those trees. The money could be used for helping the poor and homeless, donated to a food bank, to build a hospital. But no. We toss it out the door just like our trash.
On to glass. Glass is better than plastic, but it has to be used properly. Every month, we throw away enough glass bottles to fill a skyscraper. For every time we make glass, 385 pounds of waste is made. If recycled glass is used instead, we could cut that amount by 80%. That would be the better choice, because glass would take up to 4,000 years to biodegrade; even longer if it is buried in a landfill.
But here's what we can do. Let's use recyclable or reusable items instead of disposable. They might cost more, but they're mostly better in quality and better in the long run. We can use "plastic" made from wheat and corn. Those decompose. You can usually identify them by how loud they are, but they should be marked. We should also spread awareness. The more people realize the problem, the easier it will become to solve. Even if everyone recycled 10% of their cans or plastic bottles, that could make a HUGE difference. Let's try to save our Mother Earth!