Ah, yes, you say. Of course the environmental studies major is writing an article on why I should care about the mess our planet is quickly becoming.
And, better yet, she's not even completely sure she wants to major in ENST. Actually, though, I'm not trying to tell you that you have to do anything. It would be amazing if everyone heeded my advice and did as much as they could to reduce their carbon footprint immediately, but that's not feasible.
I do think I have the potential to convince a few of you, at the very least, that changing your perspective on caring about the environment is worthwhile.
So, why should you consider being more environmentally friendly?
1. The bees
Bees and pollination go together like peanut butter and jelly. If they go extinct, we lose at least 1/3 of our food choices, including blueberries, apples, and almonds, not to mention all the money invested in the bee/honey business and the animals that rely on bees.
2. The trees
Too bad trees only provide us with oxygen and not, like, wi-fi or anything. On a serious note, deforestation results in a plethora of issues like a decrease in air quality, loss of habitat (and thus biodiversity) for several species and an increase in greenhouse gases circulating the atmosphere.
3. The animals
Animals are adorable; how could you not want to save them? Imagine never being able to see a tiger in the wild, or even in a zoo at some point. I don't think this point needs any further explanation.
This goes along with #3. If we continue to harm the environment via transportation emissions and mass deforestation, for example, we will continue to see a decline in species worldwide.
While extinction of certain species is natural, anthropogenic (man-made) climate change is speeding up extinction rates. Loss of biodiversity leads to problems like pests taking over crops because there are no natural predators to keep their numbers down.
5. Your (physical) body
If you put something into your body that is not good for the environment, it's probably not good for you either. For example, look at a Cup of Noodles. First of all, there's a ridiculous amount of sodium and saturated fat in them.
And what even are the ingredients? Chemicals? Food? Who knows.
And the fact that you microwave or put boiling hot water in the styrofoam cup means the chemicals in the styrofoam leaches into your food and is ingested. Then the cup is tossed into a trash can, goes into a landfill, and takes decades and decades to decompose. Cup of Noodles aren't good for your gut or the planet. If you eat crap, you're going to feel like crap.
6. Your happiness and mental health
There is scientific evidence that nature sounds, sights, and smells physically improve your mood and boost serotonin levels. Just sit outdoors where you can see green or go a park and try this idea out for yourself.
Also, if greenhouse gas emissions are decreased or soil nutrient levels are richer, you will be breathing better air and eating better quality food, respectively, which will undoubtedly help you to be happier.
Aesthetics are important to most people, especially the millennials. If we continue to treat our planet in such an unsustainable manner, the lack of TLC will show and the earth's beautiful landmarks will be further destroyed, as is happening with our melting glaciers and dismantled Amazon rainforest.
The point of this article was not to discourage you or portray myself as being superior to anyone; rather, the takeaway points were that, 1) if everyone does something to help, we can make a difference and 2) the environment matters because of how much it directly (and indirectly) affects us as humans.
Time is not on our side but IT IS POSSIBLE TO TURN THINGS AROUND at this point. I still have tons of work to do and occasionally eat Cup of Noodles myself, so I've got my work cut out for me. Next week, I'll be talking about how you can make a difference!