Environmental preservation is necessary because Earth’s resources are limited and threatened by human activity. Environmental protection focuses on efficiency, protecting wildlife and flora, and minimizing carbon footprints. At the macro level, environmental preservation is carried out through legislation, community outreach, and increasing the public’s environmental awareness. However, you can also help the environment right at home. Everyone, including yourself, can play a hand at being environmentally friendly.
Diana Goldin: “Morning lake and mountain reflection in the Eastern Sierras.”
When you’re disposing of trash, make sure that you are following the law and using the right trash receptacles. If you’re not sure of your communities guidelines when dealing with trash, do not hesitate to contact local authorities or legislators. Paint, electrical car parts, and batteries post a unique hazard to the environment. Proper disposal will ensure that these materials are not leaked into the environment.
When recycling glass, make sure to remove all lids and stickers. If an opening lid is embedded with other materials, then you can leave it. These items will be incinerated during the recycling process. Make sure that these glass containers are free of food particles and oils. Some communities may have specific instructions when disposing of mirrors and windows. Contact your city’s recycling programs to stay informed on the latest recycling directions.
Bizarre chairs made from recycled plastic; photo by Mary Anne Enriquez.
Plastic is uniquely more complicated to recycle. Plastic tends to be extremely hard to biodegrade, with many types of plastics being able to exist in the environment for many years. Among other problems, this poses a choking hazard to wildlife. When plastic infiltrates the food chain, then it will tend to travel up to the apex predator. For example, a large fish can consume a large amount of plastic. A seal can then come and consume this fish with the plastic inside of it. A great white shark will then eat the seal with the fish inside of it, potentially compacting its intestinal tract. This is assuming that the fish or seal has not died already from eating plastic.
Most plastic materials will have a number imprinted on it. You will find this identification stamped on the bottom. These numbers will run from 1 to 7. Different numbered plastics will require different procedures when recycling. Make sure to clean all plastics with soapy water. Recycle the plastic by grouping the same numbers into its own clear plastic bag. The hardest type of plastic to recycle is plastic that is imprinted with the number 7. These tend to be difficult to recycle because they are usually made with different types of plastics. Number 7 plastics are seldom collected or recycled. Determined the consumers can return these number 7 plastics back to the manufacturers for proper disposal.
Installation of The Recycling Labyrinth from United States Mission Geneva (Flickr).
The preservation of water is also an act of environmental protection. Even though 70% of the world is covered with water, only a small percentage of it is suitable for human consumption. Many people take water that pours out of their faucet for granted. Remember, about 1.1 billion people are without access to fresh water for cleaning, bathing, or cooking. Small habits can make a big difference in water preservation. Whenever you turn off the faucet, make sure that water is not dripping from it. Turn off the water when you’re actively brushing your teeth. Purchase a home filter so you and your family can enjoy clean drinking tap water instead of purchasing bottled water. Also make the habit of cleaning clothes with cold water, unless you are battling a stubborn stain.
Help the preservation of tropical forests by using suitable types of woods and staying away from wood derived from exotic trees. Woods like mahogany are acquired from exotic rain forests, and will take many for mahogany forests to recover. Oak or pine are more suitable forms of wood because they are fast-growing and do not come directly from endangered forests.
Posted by Mark Contorno