Keeping it Green: 8 New Ways to Help the Planet

What’s wrong with our planet? The Earth’s many ecosystems are in a bind right now. People are crowding out animal and plant populations, using up the energy resources, over-fishing the seas, and throwing trash everywhere! It has been slowly destroying animal and plant habitats for centuries and polluting the air, land, water, and soil. If you are outraged, don’t just Girls can take steps to help.

You probably know these basic steps already:

  1. Turn off lights and TVs to save energy
  2. Recycle plastic, paper, and glass
  3. Cut six-pack rings to prevent birds and fish from getting tangled in them
  4. Buy products made from recycled material, including printer paper
  5. Take the bus to save gas or better yet ride your bike
  6. Use rags instead of paper towels

Have you ever thought of saving the environment by practicing the following steps?

1. Make a Compost Pile!
This is a fun way to create your own fertilizer. Instead of filling landfills up with kitchen plant-wastes like grape fruit rinds and corncobs, some people put them into a pile in their own backyard, called a compost pile. The dead plant parts eventually decompose to make super-nutritious soil that you can put on your garden. This soil, called humus, is a substitute for chemical fertilizers, which pollute soil and groundwater that fill fish habitats. Your compost pile won’t smell that bad at all. The fresh air and wind takes any stenches up into the sky. Some extra advice: make sure you stir up your compost so it will decompose faster. Also, some people like to cover their compost piles with ventilated, colorful bins to add decoration to their yards. Build one with a family member; it’s a wonderful memory, trust me.

2. Watch out for Wet Grass
We all see grass as the layer on top of dirt, but it’s actually a complicated, little habitat. It’s bustling with tiny creatures like beetles, fireflies, and toads. For little folk like them, the grass gives shade, keeps them cool, and it’s a bug buffet for birds. So, girls, we have to keep grass alive! Don’t walk on it, especially when it is wet. There are air pockets in the soil that provide oxygen for grass roots tobreath. When the dirt is dry the air pocket walls are strong, but when the dirt is wet from a rain, the air pocket walls are weak. When we walk over wet grass, we crush the air pockets below and suffocate the grass, destroying a habitat. You might think that small areas like this are insignificant, but they contain life.

3. Say Adiós to Bottled Water
Plastic water bottles aren’t biodegradable, so they will eventually overflow from the landfills. According to Citizens for Recycling Solutions, Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour! Girls can help by carrying and refilling reusable water bottles wherever they go. You can pick out a sleek sports bottle to match your personality at any store near you. Also, instead of drinking bottled water at home, buy a water filter that you can keep in the fridge or fill up gallon-jugs at the gas station. http://www.akcenter.org/crs/pages/plastic.html

4. Save the Earth from your Bathroom
Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Just two minutes of teeth-brushing can waste 10 gallons of water! Also, save water by taking showers instead of sit-down baths.

5. Keep your Neighborhood Beautiful
People usually don’t litter in areas that look attractive because it’s human nature to want to live in and preserve a pretty environment. It’s when there is already trash on the ground and weeds overtaking the lawn that people feel its okay to litter. They don’t think about the possible beauty they might be destroying? It’s all about psychology. If we keep our yards groomed, the trash out of our gutters, and if we pick up litter wherever we see it during the day, by making the world more beautiful people will litter less.

6. Never Throw Away Batteries
Batteries contain mercury, which can leak into the groundwater beneath the landfills. The groundwater then runs into the streams and poisons the fish. Collect your batteries in a shoebox and take them to the recycling center at the end of the year. You can also buy rechargeable batteries.

7. Find a Recycling Center in your Neighborhood
Go to this website by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to find out where the closest recycling centers in your area are, as well as what items they accept. http://washingtondc.earth911.org/usa/master.asp?s=ls&type=1

8. Research the Internet for more Earth Saving Tips
Try this website for High Schoolers from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): http://www.epa.gov/highschool/index.htm

Latinitas, feel proud this upcoming about your Earth. You are the youth who will reverse the Earth’s environmental problems. As intuitive girls, we understand very well we are strong enough to help our Earth out.

By Rachel Briles

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