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Sophomore analyzes environmental changes around Earth Day

Mackenzie Brown, Staff Writer

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When Earth Day is just around the corner, people begin to wonder whether small changes in their lifestyle could actually make a difference. Some are skeptical of their ability to have an impact on the environment, while others are determined that they can do something.

People should incorporate small changes into their lives because what seems like an insignificant detail to one person could positively impact the environment.

Over one million tons of aluminum cans end up in worldwide landfills every year, which is over half of the cans that are produced. When new cans are made, the production wastes energy and resources. For instance, harvesting and processing materials like bauxite ore pollutes both groundwater and surface water. Aluminum can be recycled an innumerable amount of times without losing quality, which means that if more cans were recycled, the need for new materials would decrease. Aluminum can be turned in at scrap yards in Longview with other metals, and is one of many common items that can be recycled successfully.

There are several changes a person can make in their house that will save energy, money, and the environment, and one of the most beneficial changes a person can make is to invest in a reusable water bottle. Buying plastic water bottles that can be thrown away is an easy habit and it gives people the illusion of health, but there are actually more health regulations on plain tap water than bottled water. Even if these bottles are recycled, plastic is much more difficult to sort and process than paper, glass and metal. Another smooth transition into a greener lifestyle is to unplug devices in between uses, because many appliances use up energy as long as they’re plugged into an outlet. Other simple changes people can make in their homes are to donate old clothes rather than throwing them away and and to start using CFL light bulbs. These acts require little to no extra effort for people, especially after a habit has been formed, but they allow people to help the environment immensely while saving money.

There are also small changes one can make in their lifestyles, which mostly consist of being conscious of how their actions affect the environment. According to EcoWatch, an organization that releases environmental studies and articles, if someone cuts out just 10 minutes of idling their engine per day they avoid releasing a pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To do this, people should park their cars instead of utilizing drive-through lines whenever possible and implement a 30-second time  limit on warming up a car on cold mornings. Another change that greatly benefits the environment is the transition from plastic to cloth grocery bags. Plastic bags usually end up in landfills, and they aren’t biodegradable. They break into small, toxic pieces that contaminate both soil and water. Every person that switches to cloth or canvas bags contributes to the betterment of our environment. People impact the environment every day, but there must be a conscious decision in order to make this effect positive.

Some people argue that it’s too late to preserve the environment and that people should focus only preparing for restoration. However, this takes attention and effort away from simple solutions that must be addressed by individuals in their everyday lives.

No matter what people do, they will have an effect on the environment around them. It is time to step up and find ways to make this a positive effect.

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