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We must take better care of the environment

Lexi Hooten, Staff Columnist

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We need to take better care of our planet. Whether you think global warming is real or made up (its not), everyone should still take care of their environment better. It does not take much effort or time to clean up after yourself. We take care of our internal environment by exercising and eating right, but we forget about our external environment that cleans our water, purified our air and regulates the climate – which is just as important! Our health and well-being is determined by internal and external factors, which we all need to pay attention to in order to keep our environment healthy for us and for future generations.

An easy way to take care of the environment is to limit the amount of things you throw away. This means substituting reusable water bottles for store bought plastic bottles, limiting use of paper and Styrofoam products especially and cleaning up around you.

Some places, like Hawaii, have done away with plastic bags completely, only allowing the use of reusable or paper bags in stores. More places need to begin this as well, but for the time being you can still buy reusable bags on your own to take to the grocery store. This one thing would help tremendously to cut down on amounts of waste.

Restaurant chains are also starting processes to make their products more environmentally friendly, such as Starbucks’ plan to eventually stop using straws for their drinks, and Smoothie King recently stopping the use of Styrofoam cups. More restaurants need to do things like these due to the amount of waste they produce daily in carry-out and delivery packaging. According to Nicholas Mallos, director of the Ocean Conservancy Trash Free Seas Program, every year 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans. If businesses like these took the time to make conscious efforts to buy environmentally friendly products, our water would be cleaner and our trash wouldn’t have as harsh of an effect on the environment.

Most arguments around this topic stem from accessibility, finances and ease. It is much easier to use a plastic bottle and then just throw it away when you are done, but instead, try carrying around a refillable water bottle. When making changes to be more eco-friendly, there can be some direct benefit for you as well. By using a reusable insulated water bottle, your drink will stay colder longer and be more enjoyable for you. It is not always cheap to use environmentally friendly products such as beauty products, but find a fun way to try out new things that keep our ecosystem clean. Try phasing out old beauty care products for new eco-friendly products as you run out; this will make it easier on the wallet and give you chances to try out new things and find your perfect fit. Accessibility is the hardest part because a lot of stores and restaurants do not offer environmentally friendly alternatives, but you can always ask!

Cutting down on meat consumption, carpooling with friends and recycling at home are easier ways to make a difference.

At home, we keep our possessions clean and well maintained. Food gets thrown away, we vacuum and dust to keep the air clean, and we wash our clothes, towels and bedding. All of this is done to keep our living space clean so we can stay healthy. Why do we not look at the environment in the same way? Everything in the environment affects us in one way or another – yet we do not seem to fully grasp that. Our living space is the entire world, which needs to be kept clean as would our homes. We need to come together as a society and agree to taking better care of our home, treating it with the love and respect it deserves.

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We must take better care of the environment