IO – It is important to remember the reason why we are celebrating Earth Day. This year on April 22nd 2018, we are going to acknowledge the home to billions of amazing creatures, natural processes, and wonders we have not even begun to understand. Earth Day is about reminding ourselves that we should make an effort to preserve our environment. There are countless species that have been lost—ancient and irreplaceable forests have been destroyed, and the worst part is that our atmosphere has been clouded with pollution. Humankind should decide whether we are going to save and protect Earth, which is our home, or be ignorant about it. This Earth Day is a great time to make a commitment to help protect the environment. There are 5 ways you can help save our home as well as celebrate it:
Do not use bottled water. True, it is very convenient, but bottled water is a plastic plague on the planet. A million Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world and this number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change. The demand, equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being bought every second, is driven by an apparently insatiable desire for bottled water and the spread of a western, “urbanized” on-the-go culture to China and the Asia Pacific region. More than 480 billion PET drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300 billion a decade ago. By 2021, this will increase to 583.3 billion according to the most up-to-date estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report.
According to Rosemary Downey, head of packaging at Euromonitor and one of the world’s experts in PET bottle production, China is responsible for most of the increase in demand. The Chinese public’s consumption of bottled water accounted for nearly a quarter of global demand, she said. In 2015, consumers in China purchased 68.4 billion containers of water and in 2016 this increased to 73.8 billion—up by 5.4 billion. Downey stated that this increase is being driven by increased urbanization. She then added that India and Indonesia are also witnessing strong growth towards bottled water consumption. That means billions of water bottles end up in dumps and in the ocean each year. Worse still, these bottles will take 1,000 years to begin to decompose. Even if we do recycle the bottles, the environmental costs that go into producing them is huge: if you were to fill a PET water bottle a quarter of the way up, that’s how much oil was used to produce the bottle itself (now multiply that by billions worldwide). Do yourself and the Earth a favor and buy a reusable bottle for your hydration needs. Also, stop using single-use plastic straws. Buying and using a reusable water bottle with its own attached straw (one not made from PET) will help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Paying online can also be your contribution. If you start paying bills and viewing statements online, it is quicker and more convenient, and it saves paper. When you recycle, you are not only reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, but you are also helping to sustain the environment you live in. You can buy recycling bins for your home to separate paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. Another easy contribution: you can conserve water in many ways. A 10-minute shower can use up to 50 gallons of water. An easy way to cut back is to leave the water off until you absolutely need it. You can use this method when brushing your teeth or washing dishes.
Last of all: since it will be on Sunday that we are going to have our Earth Day this year, can you challenge yourself by choosing not to drive? Take the day to embrace the beauty of nature by walking or riding a bicycle to go here and there. When you drive, each gallon of gas sends roughly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. Let’s celebrate this year’s Earth Day by making a resolution to better our planet. Take a look at your own life and the areas where you could improve, either by reducing your waste, more recycling, or taking public transport or biking instead of driving. Making Earth Day resolutions will make you feel optimistic and put gratitude for what you have received. (Annissa Munaf)