Why It Is So Vital That We Appreciate The Earth

It Is So Vital That We Appreciate The Earth And Protect It With All Our Might

The Earth is a beautiful but finite collection of resources. In order to preserve the atmosphere we inhabit, we must be cognizant of our choices when it comes to protecting the Earth.

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Earth is something that we often take for granted. Picture this scene: it's a Monday morning, right before your 9 to 5 job. You're already late and are stressed from the swamp of work you already have. Before heading out the door, you realize you forgot some water. Will you choose to grab a plastic bottle from the garage, or head back inside, get out the Brita filter, and fill up your reusable bottle? The short answer is, most people would sadly choose the plastic bottle. With the nature of society today, life sometimes becomes too hectic to make rational choices about the environment. But, we also must be cognizant that practical changes cannot be made unless all hands are on board.

The reason that many people don't try to make these small life changes is often because they feel their impact is too small to do anything reasonable. In a way, they're right. Their one small lack of conservation probably won't do much. But the problem is, they're not the only one with this mindset. So many people have this lack of motivation, that piled together, their lack of conservation does do a lot. Until we all begin making the necessary strides to practice earth-friendly techniques, no tangible changes will be made.

Think about your last vacation. I'd assume it's somewhere that is in some way, visually appealing. For me, my last vacation was to Ireland and England. It gave me a new mindset because I realized that a lot of nature and sights that I saw would not be there if we keep doing things that threaten the Earth. Sure, our lives are great right now, and truthfully, we may not be affected much by the immediate changes occurring. However, future generations will. And I'm sure you wouldn't want your grandchildren or great-grandchildren suffering those consequences.

So, I urge you to begin making these small changes. Whether it's shifting from a plastic water bottle to a reusable one, turning off the lights when leaving a room, carpooling, or living sustainably in any way. Because contrary to what many people believe, your small efforts WILL make a difference if you let them. And the more we instill the idea of collective responsibility, the more likely it is that our beloved Earth will make it through all of the hardships we have placed upon it. Remember, Earth provides you with a home, so be sure to reciprocate with the kindness of a guest.

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Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?

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When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

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Vinicius Amano

@viniciusamano

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Staying Indoors Is Alright, But Going Outside Opens The Door To Endless Possibilities

Sometimes, we need to be outside in order to realize how delightful the world truly is so that we can limit our frustrations when things don't go as planned.

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Staying inside is a great feeling, I get that! But you certainly cannot choose to stay inside for a longer period of time because it will definitely lead to heightened levels of anxiety, stress, loneliness, fear, and irrational thoughts. After all, "an idle mind is a devil's workshop." I feel the same way and just love to be outside embracing the amazing sunshine when the weather's resplendent or even if it is raining.

This semester, I have had the pleasure of taking a biology course titled, "Field Ecology." Field Ecology is a dynamic course where the majority of the time is spent outdoors as opposed to inside the classroom. This class focuses on the hands-on application of locating extraneous organisms and plant-life that are a part of the NJ Bioblitz. Honestly, I have learned an extensive amount of information regarding the names of certain species that I have never even heard of and also learned more about certain species that I have certainly seen throughout my entire life.

In other words, being outside amidst nature reduces a tremendous amount of stress and makes you feel more rejuvenated than before. While a person may rejoice surfing the net or even doing simple errands indoors, they will not be able to experience the pure joy of interacting with the biodiversity found outdoors.

As a matter of fact, I love to bird watch and just hearing and seeing birds makes me further realize how beautiful life really is. Sometimes, we need to be outside in order to realize how delightful the world truly is so that we can limit our frustrations when things don't go as planned. For instance, TIME writer, Markham Heid writes, "Think of nature as the counterpoise to the scatteredness of your attention when you are swiping and clicking through different work, entertainment, and social sites. These "media multitasking" behaviors have been linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression-both of which time spent outdoors seems to combat."

This stands absolutely true to the fact that such tech-savvy activities will cause a person to lose moments of self-satisfaction and self-motivation. These activities are considered dry and will tend to exhaust individuals even more. However, an alternative solution is to go outside even for a few minutes to reassess your own personal level of growth and optimism. After all, have you ever met anyone who would prefer staying inside rather than outside for most of the day?

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