Small changes can save planet from pollution

Saving the planet — it’s as easy as turning off the lights right before you leave a room. Turning off the lights not only decreases electric bills but saves energy.

John Rihm, science teacher at Greenfield-Central High School, provides his definition of pollution as “any substance that is introduced into the environment that is harmful.”

In addition, fellow science teacher Rebecca Fields added, “pollution is an overabundance of something that is natural in the system or something that is unnatural in a natural system.”

Have you ever come in contact with a green or blue bin that features a “chasing arrows” symbol that is located on the center of the bin? These are recycling bins to help encourage people throughout the world to recycle their waste. In schools, these bins are located in every classroom and every office.

When students have paper or assignments they don’t feel the need to save, they should put it in the recycling bin. Putting reusable papers in the trash instead of the recycling bins kills more trees and injures the land we call home.

Many towns, cities and organizations promote this healthy behavior with advertising slogans and signs.

“‘Reduce, reuse, and recycle’ is an old slogan that is still valid,” Rihm said.

Technology is a major priority to the human race, but technology also destroys our planet. For example, the first mobile phone was introduced in the 1970s. With each new version, the previous cell phone becomes an outdated “dinosaur,” ending up in landfills when it is discarded.

“Technology has added to that trash pile with outdated devices,” said science teacher Candy Smith.

Fields suggests pollution can be prevented through education. If youth understood the impact of pollution on the planet, they might reflect on their actions and think and act differently.

“The youth better realize that the trash they produce now will be here the rest of their lives,” Smith added.

Smith said she believes very few recycle.

“We have to figure out a way to recycle more,” Smith said.

Author and scientist Stephen Hawking once said, “We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.”

In society today, finding ways to save the planet may seem like a difficult task to accomplish, but recycling and reusing is easy.

Reusing containers, recycling ink cartridges, buying rechargeable batteries, buying cloth bags instead of paper or plastic, utilizing cloth towels rather than paper towels or purchasing recyclable items that can be reused are all doable.