My Impact on the Evironment | Teen Ink

My Impact on the Evironment

August 30, 2010
By Sar_liz GOLD, Warren, Michigan
Sar_liz GOLD, Warren, Michigan
18 articles 3 photos 2 comments

My current impact on the environment in harmful ways is fairly small. My family recycles paper, plastic, etc. Another thing we do since we live in a more desolate area is throw our food scraps outside. This (since we don't have a garbage disposer) cuts down on amount of trash we emit to the landfill. One of the things I do to help the environment is reusing plastic bags. I do this by using a plastic bag when I scoop out my cat's litter box. We don't have that many plastic bags though because my mom uses reusable bags when she goes shopping.

Don't get me wrong plastic bags are very harmful to the environment. I hope in the future I will be able to toilet train my cat so I don't have to use them to clean a litter box. One of the reasons plastic bags are so harmful is because they can take months to hundreds of years to decompose. Also when they decompose tiny toxic bits seep into the soil and wreck the land.

Although we do good for the environment we also do bad too. One of the things we do is drive places, since we live in a more rural area we have to drive to go somewhere. My parents both work about 20-30 miles from our home and I also take a dance class once a week in the same area. Now that it's winter though we try to cut down on our driving because the roads tend to be bad. Although we do drive quite a bit regularly we try to carpool with friends if we have the opportunity. One example of carpooling is when I went to a town four hours away with my basketball team. Since there was two teams we had two vans. This was good because then not everyone's parents drove to the game. It was a good opportunity to reduce emissions while bonding with my teammates.

When we clean we also do some good for the environment. Did you know some cleaning products can be harmful to the environment? That is why we don't use many cleaning products and the ones we do use don't contain phosphate which can pollute the water. We use mainly vinegar which we put in a spray bottle. I use vinegar to clean pet litter boxes and I also use vinegar to clean the bathroom. Sometimes instead of using paper towels to clean I grab some old rags to use. This helps to reduce the amount of paper towels ending up in the landfill and the number of trees used to make them.

Did you know cat litter is also harmful to the environment? Common (clay) cat litter is harvested using strip mining. Strip mining is when miners use heavy equipment to strip off the top layers of the earth to get to the buried clay. This type of mining is very harmful to the land. Disposing of the used cat litter is also toxic to the environment. Another reason why I'm going to toilet train my cat.

Appliances all use energy which is bad for the environment but we reduce our energy emissions by using high efficiency appliances. We have a high efficiency washing machine which uses a quarter of the water our old washer used. This saves water and energy for heating the warm water used. Our refrigerator is also high efficiency which saves energy. Our microwave is old and very large meaning it probably isn't very energy efficient.

Every summer we grow a food garden. This helps reduce emissions because we aren't driving to the store to buy produce. Another reason our garden is good is because we don't use any chemicals or fertilizers in it which would end up pouting the earth's water supply. We do water our garden with a hose, collecting rainwater for watering plants would be more enviromentally friendly.

Overall my family affects the earth in both good and bad ways. Some of the good ways we affect the environment is by recycling, using a high efficiency washer and refrigerator, using reusable bags, and carpooling. Some of the negative affects we have on the environment are we drive often, not all of our appliances are high efficiency, we use clay cat litter, we don't always turn off all our lights/electronics at night, and we use some plastic bags. Therefore we still have lots of work to do to be a more enviromentally friendly home but I hope by sharing this with my family they will help me make our home more earth friendly. I also hope by telling my friends about the affects of harming the environment they will make positive changes to help the environment as well.

The author's comments:
I got my inspiration from my life skills class. We talked about our impact on the environment. Have you ever heard the term "Carbon footprint?". Well the class inspired me to write about how my actions effect the environement. It also led me to do research. The results of my research was a worried teen with a message. A teen wanting change.

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