Author’s Notes: Sorry, gang, not sure what I was thinking when I wrote this one, especially the title. But I hope you enjoy.
The quality of our environment is something about which every human on the face of the earth should be concerned. Unfortunately, some are uneducated regarding the various aspects of environmental quality, and even more unfortunately, some people just possess a great deal of apathy (Wow, what a reality check! Apathy exists not just in regard to the environment, but all over. Can’t believe that mouthful came out at the age I was when I wrote this!) If humans as a race are going to survive on this planet, we must begin to care. I feel very strongly that we as a race have less to 250 years to avoid making the entire planet toxic to human and non-human life. To some, this might seem like doom-saying; to others, it might be exceptionally generous.
There have been many suggested solutions to the problem of environmental quality. A few have been implemented; a prime example of the implementation of suggested solutions is the mandatory recycling some communities have (wish I lived in one) and the emission filters compulsory on exhaust systems in California. However, in my opinion, not enough is being done. That is why, were I to become dictator of the globe and supreme master of the planet for life, I would implement many of the suggested but ignored solutions in favor of leaving being an environment suitable from children and my children’s children. (Huh, I was really hung up on the whole kids and grandkids thing. And why was I using children’s children instead of grandkids?!?)
The first action I would take would be to make recycling of paper, aluminum, and plastic mandatory (globally). Recycling of each of these materials would help to reduce the stress on land fill capacities. The recycling of paper would lessen the need to take down as many trees for the purpose of paper production. Perhaps the measure would also allow the protection of the habitats of several endangered species whose natural homes are in danger of destruction by lumber operations. Although aluminum recycling would be more expensive in the areas of time and energy consumption than making new aluminum soda cans, there could come a time when all the aluminum naturally appearing might be consumed. In that day, we would have to start recycling aluminum. Why not start now and postpone that day? Plastic recycling would reduce the amount (number?) of two-liter soda bottles, laundry detergent bottle, and other such bottles that society puts into lad fills each year. While not cheap, plastic recycling is a far better option than trying to find new land fill space and angering a community when their surrounding environs are chosen as the next land fill site.
I would mandate the use of compost heaps for all organic wastes like fruit and vegetable peelings and seeds, leaves, and weeds. (Comma issue: unknown number of series items.) Not only would this lessen the load on land fills, but it would also save money because compost heaps are a natural source of fertilizer.
I would mandate that all fast food restaurants begin to use paper or other biodegradable containers for the food which is served. Thus, styrofoam, a material which biodegrades with a great deal of difficulty (how about it doesn’t biodegrade?!?), would no longer be a necessity and could be outlawed. I would also mandate that all food containers in the grocery stores be made either biodegradable or recyclable, once again to ease the strain on land fill capacity. (Obviously, you weren’t buying groceries for kids. The cost to recoup research into these materials would be astronomical, thus increasing the cost of the groceries.)
Emission filters on exhaust systems would become mandatory all over, instead of in high smog areas. This would help make the air more breathable for both healthy and respirationally challenged people. (Nice… I created my own word and I didn’t get caught. Good job! And that was before I accepted that I could not live without writing.)
A halt on manufacture of those things that result in the production of toxic by-products would be enacted. The halt would continue until researchers found a way either to degrade the toxins to less toxic by-products or to render the toxins non-toxic. This is quite an unrealistic goal and would probably never be accepted by big business or by the consumer society existing today; however, I would still enact the measure (After all, I’m dictator and supreme master and all that jazz. I can be egotistical and maniacal and make everyone do what I say *snort* ).
The final measure I would enact would be the mandatory powering of homes and businesses by solar power and wind power. Even if the power generated would not be enough to achieve 100% powering by sun and wind, it would be enough to lessen the need for fossil fuels. Lessened fossil fuel use yields lessened emission of the by-products responsible for acid rain; lessened use also yields preservation of the source of fossil fuels, for fossil fuels are not without end.
Looking over my ideas (They are not really my ideas. There is nothing new under the sun. I’ve just collected them in one place and presented them my way.), I see that most of them are quite reasonable and very easy to enact (with the exception of the halt on production idea–that is a little far fetched). (Um, this whole essay was far fetched, but more on that below.) I cannot understand why many of the planet’s countries have not enacted them. Complacency and apathy are no excuse. We have a responsibility to take care of our planet and preserve it, and we have not been doing a very good job. The question is not one of cost; it is one of whether or not we as a species care enough about our home to treat it with respect and give it the same care we give a precious gift we have received from someone whose attention we treasure and need. (Uh-oh! Melodrama alert… this belongs more in a greeting card or self-help book than a college paper.)
In some ways this was a paper on solid ideas. In other ways you can see how the liberal environmental agenda had crept into every pore of my being. However, I’m not in favor of polluters, either. I think we need a balanced approach toward the environment, and we just haven’t found the right combination of time, talent, and treasure to make it happen.