Nowadays many environmental issues are in the news. All of them have a devastating effect on the Earth and people on the planet. If they are not being tackled it can turn out that people boost the dying of their planet.
The first urgent issue is the pollution of air, water and soil. Air pollution has a strong link with the traffic problem I'm going to speak about a bit later. Besides that polluting of the world's air is caused by poisonous wastes of industrial enterprises. This burning problem makes people do something about it, otherwise it won't be possible to breathe in industrialized towns and cities. This problem is being solved by filtering fume emissions and by moving industrial enterprises out of cities and towns.
Water or marine pollution is also partly caused by flowing of the poisonous water to different rivers, ponds, lakes and seas. But we also have to face the problem of oil in the world's waters. Oil tankers are not safe enough to guarantee the full isolation of the oil inside. Oil in the sea kills both flora and fauna and makes the water totally dead. This acute problem needs to be solved in a short period of time.
Soil pollution is caused by car fumes and misusing of it. Environmentalists say that it will take ten or more times more time to make it useful again than to pollute it and make it unsuitable neither for cultivating crops nor for growing trees.
Rare animals and plants extinction is also in the news these days. This issue is connected with cutting down forests, illegal hunting for fur animals and pollution. The idea is that every species is connected with all others and if one or more of them die out the link will be broken. This can lead to unpredictable consequences.
Perhaps one of the most burning ecological crisises is the greenhouse effect that leads to another one - global warming. The greenhouse effect is the property of the atmosphere to pass the solar energy to the surface of the Earth and to detain the thermal energy. The greenhouse effect causes acid rains, changes global weather patterns. Due to the global warming the greenhouse effect can lead to the melting of the polar ice caps. This will lead to the rising of the sea level, will cause floods, famine and people concentration.
Ozone depletion is also very dangerous. Ozone holes appear in the ozone layer of our planet. It has an extremely devastating effect on people - it can cause skin cancer, blindness and the suppression of immunity.
Energy consumption includes overusing of non-renewable sources of energy. No matter how strange in may seem but we are short of energy. Fossil fuels are exhausted. According to some environmentalists, it will take not more than a century for fossil fuels to be totally exhausted. That's why we are to search for alternative sources of energy such as solar power, wind power, geothermal power and so on.
Cutting rainforests means cutting our planet's lungs. Two thirds of the whole oxygen in the world are produced by rainforests. There's more to it, some medicines are made from rainforest plants. Many kinds of animals and plants are lost when the rainforests disappear. Even weather is changed by the destruction of rainforests. All these reasons should make the humanity stop destroying rainforests and take on active recycling instead.
And finally the most acute problem that is regarded as a social one is a throw-away society. At least one tonne of rubbish is thrown away every year by an average family of four. Only a little waste of glass is recycled, plastic is almost not recycled at all!
Billions of drink cans are thrown away instead of being recycled. This problem is closely connected with people's lifestyle. Some of them change their way of life to become more friendly to the environment.
Being "green" means being aware of urgent problems of the environment and being interested in all things to do with the environment. Not everyone can campaign for environmental protection or animal rights but every human being is able to realize the need to protect the planet against destruction.
Using environment-friendly goods is not so difficult but is saves the environment. Ozone-friendly sprays and aerosols, washing-up liquids and washing powders are available in any shop and anyone can contribute to saving the planet by only using them.
Consuming water and energy prevents the Earth from being exhausted soon. Running on unleaded petrol means less car fumes in the air. Moreover, unleaded petrol is even cheaper and you'll save both the environment and your money by using it. Some people prefer bicycles to cars definitely because they want to keep the air cleaner!
The problem of rubbish can be partly solved if we will be more "green". We can avoid following a throwaway lifestyle by sorting rubbish and bringing it to recycle plants and centers or special banks separately. Most of household wastes can be recycled.
The idea that looking after animals is as important as looking after the environment is widely spread nowadays. There's no doubt that animals are part of the environment, but as I see it, changing eating habits and becoming a vegetarian is too much. I don't see any cons of eating meat. I suppose that killing animals for food is OK because some of them are grown up for being killed for meat and fur. The argument for thinking is why don't we kill animals if sometimes they kill human beings? Moreover, animals kill themselves. However, there are many people considering killing animals to be out of moral. They campaign against testing drugs and cosmetics on animals, hunting animals for sport and many other things of this kind. In my opinion these things are quite possible if they don't seriously harm the natural link between species.
Which means of transport should you prefer when you're going on a trip? If you care about the environment you'll definitely choose one that doesn't harm the environment. Modern towns and cities faced the traffic problem long ago. The specialists suggest different ways of its solution. Some people think that if we build more roads the traffic will move more quickly and there'll be no traffic jams during rush-hours. Others suppose that if there are more roads there'll be more cars to fill them and they will be even more congested with traffic. Environmentalists suggest that we should develop the system of public transport for example, railways. If trains carry more people, the streets will be less congested with traffic and people. Moreover, cars pollute the air more than trains. Experienced motorists know how many people are killed and injured in road accidents.
However, cars are symbols of freedom and wealth for most people. According to researches, the number of cars will double in ten years and we'll inevitably have to solve the problem.
If you ask me about how "green" am I it will be difficult for me to give a short, definite and truthful answer. The first reason why I can't do it easily is that I still don't feel that all the environmental issues are global. Furthermore, many people believe that a problem doesn't touch their interests until they face it. No matter how strange it may seem, but I'm in the same situation. In addition, it's rather difficult to do something about the environment when most of other people around don't. However, I try to avoid using cars and try either to walk or to travel by public transport instead.
Anyway, I'm not ready to join Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth yet. Even if I want to join I'm sure I won't be useful. But I hope my attitude to the environment will change when I become a little older.
To draw a conclusion I can say that it's up to everyone to choose what to do to contribute to the saving of our planet. I wish everybody on the Earth were as willing to save the planet as people from Greenpeace.
Alexander V. Myskin, gr. 1o1