FAHAD asks: How can we clean up the environment?
Hi FAHAD –
Your question is very broad, you know! When someone says “the environment,” they really mean the area around them, wherever they are. My environment might be the forest around my doghouse, or the floor of Handsome’s living room. Right now yours might be your bedroom, or a library, or a classroom. And how you clean up any one of those is very different.
For example, in the forest, “cleaning up” usually means people cleaning up after themselves, so it’s the same as before they got there (so picking up any trash, etc.). But in Handsome’s living room, “cleaning up” is much more detailed – it’s about vacuuming, dusting, wiping… making the whole place clean enough for a King and Queen to eat off the floor (which is silly, since I’m the only one who ever eats off of it!).
Now when people talk about “the environment,” they’re usually talking about the natural places of our planet. But when you ask about cleaning it up, do you mean in the way I talked about cleaning up the forest area around my doghouse (just picking up trash), or do you mean a huge gigantic job, like cleaning up the air and the water from all human pollution?!
And here’s the reason I’m asking so many questions, FAHAD. It would be absolutely impossible to truly clean the earth’s environment of all human pollution. The goal of environmentalists is to clean up what’s there, and to reduce the further destruction of the environment, as much as possible.
Now if you’re asking how to do that, no one can do it all, but everyone can do some. Here are some ideas:
1) Pick up after yourself. This is the least anyone can do. Don’t litter, put trash in trash cans, and check wherever you’ve been when you leave to make sure. And please, if you have a dog, pick up after us too! We don’t have the ability to put our poop in the garbage!
2) Recycle. If there’s any way available, instead of just throwing everything into the trash, put metal, paper, glass, and recyclable plastics into special places where they’ll be taken to factories and made into new materials. This reduces not only trash, but also the need to take trees, minerals, etc. from nature.
3) Clean up after others. If you go on a hike, take a bag with you, and pick up the cans, bottles, and papers that other people have left there before you got there. What’s that? You say it’s “unfair?” Unfair because you didn’t throw it, but I’m asking you to pick it up? Well look at it this way: we animals have to live in a world you humans have been messing up for centuries, and put up with everything you folks have been leaving around all this time. And we have never created a single bottle, can, or plastic bag. Now that’s unfair!
4) Make ecologically-minded purchases. If you have the choice, buy recycled paper when you can. If you’re going to buy a car, try to get one with as low gas mileage as possible. If you own a house, look into getting solar cells for your electricity. In other words, just keep aware of the environment as you make the decisions that fill your daily life.
5) Be Proactive. Do you have a particular interest in a part of the environment? Maybe you want to work on protecting the rainforest, or the ocean, or the desert? Or you want to help a type of animal, or help some people get clean water in their village. What can you do for your cause? Can you raise money, or create more awareness? Could you even devote time to actual hands-on helping? Anything you can do is great, and the more the better.
6) Vote! Do you live in a place where you can vote for your leaders? And are you eligible to do so? Electing governments of people who care about the environment might be the single most powerful act anyone can do. Our political leaders are the ones who make the big decisions – about pollution, mining, energy, and transportation – that make the most difference. Do what you can, and change the future!
So, FAHAD, those are my main ideas. Now, again, will doing these things clean up the environment of the planet Earth? Not a chance. But if you, and billions of others, do these things, you can do something even more important.
You can manage the environment, to be a place where everyone can live in peace and happiness.
Now THAT’S better than just cleaning up your room, isn’t it!