Another Earth Day just passed on April 22. Local PBS station WHYY filled their weekend airwaves with environment-related programming.
Some people celebrated by running in a 5k fundraiser along West River Drive, some made resolutions, and others did not even notice. The day itself is not what’s important. What is important is that we make an enduring effort to maintain our environment and keep our human tendency toward expansion in check.
As the human race continues to increase in population and ever-changing technology makes more material goods available to us, we consume more and more natural resources. Earth can not support the rate at which we are consuming resources.
Seafood is in such high demand and fishing technology has become so advanced that the number of fish in the ocean has been significantly reduced, according to one WHYY program entitled “Empty Oceans, Empty Nets.” Precious gems, such as Tanzanite, have been mined to the point where there is little to nothing left in the Earth to mine. The world’s supplies of oil and coal will not last forever, and our use of these fuels is contributing to polluted air and acid rain.
Earth Day serves to remind us of these things, which we usually ignore in our day-to-day lives. Earth Day also serves to remind us to make choices that are beneficial to the environment. Even though we need a healthy environment to support our own lives, these choices are often difficult to make. Choosing could be made easier, however.
It hardly takes an extra second to throw a plastic soda bottle or any recyclable into the proper recycling bin. Yet it can take more effort when recycling bins are placed inconveniently. Around Temple, recycling bins are numerous. Unfortunately, the proper bin for your recyclables is frequently not in sight. Recycling bins should be placed in complete sets, with bins for paper, plastic and aluminum, in more than one location on each floor of each building and in more places outdoors.
Cars that run on alternative fuels are available to consumers. The oldest and most popular alternative fuel technology, electric, can only provide about 100 miles per charge, but can be suitable for people who only drive to commute or to run errands. Other alternatives to gasoline vehicles are also available. Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Honda all have produced cars that run on natural gas. While California law has pushed the popularity of alternative-fuel vehicles on the West Coast, these vehicles are a mere blip on the radar of car commercials and advertisements here in the Philadelphia region.
For several years now it has been possible for people to purchase electricity generated by non-polluting methods such as windmills. Unfortunately, choosing an environment-friendly electric company often means paying a higher price, up to $13.30 more per 500 kilowatts used according to estimates by Green Mountain Energy.
To encourage more people to make environmentally sound decisions, the government should offer tax breaks to people who take major steps to live more eco-friendly, such as driving alternative-fuel vehicles or subscribing only to wind-generated electricity.
Vincent Lizzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org