How F#!%ed Are We?
These Climate Changes Will Kill Us, and…No One Seems to Care
By Jamie Switzer (Contributor)
We’ve all heard talk in recent years of global warming. It is no longer a dispute to most of us, nor has it been to scientists for years – environmental change is occurring as a result of human activity. I will aim to explore this process, and examine human behavior both as a cause, and in response to our imminent (if not already progressing) environmental crisis. There is often talk about different aspects of this issue. However, this article will focus on plastic, litter, and garbage.
When we no longer have use for something, we throw it out. Most often, we will toss it in the garbage. Sometimes, however, we will recycle it, if the facilities permit us to, and on occasion, we may compost. But inevitably, some people will simply litter their trash wherever they are situated. Abbott has a fairly large recycling program available, yet about 50% of what is thrown in the garbage bins around the college is classified as recyclable materials. On the grounds of the school, there are numerous garbage and and recycling bins, and yet one would be hard-pressed not to encounter trash lying idly in the grass.
When we leave our lunch bags, or plastic bottles outside, it intensifies the already devastating effect our species has on the surrounding area, and on the other species that inhabit it. Some animals attempt to eat the littered food packaging, which can be toxic or fatal to them. Trash breaks down over time, and exudes various chemical pollutants into the soil or water.
Dumps are Montreal’s current method of waste disposal, which are quite literal in their name and funtion – they are simply heaps of garbage dumped upon one another, and buried beneath layers of soil. Out of sight, out of mind indeed! Though placing our junk into a trash can is far less damaging than littering, the superior choice is always to recycle, compost, and to simply use less!
When considering how to reduce the amount of plastic littered or incorrectly tossed on campus, a simple question emerges: why even use plastic water bottles? Water bottles often do not consist of regulated, or even strongly filtered water, the plastic they are sold in is harmful, and they are excessively priced. Bringing a durable, reusable bottle from home will save money, and reduce our carbon footprint greatly. A filtered water-bottle fountain is situated in front of the library on the first floor, and the school plans to add more in the coming term.
Perhaps the college is somewhat to blame for the abundance of plastic, through the vending machines residing around the school. However, over 70% of the plastic bottles littered around Abbott come from off-campus. Clearly the issue is the attitude shared by many of the students, who either don’t realize the true impact of their complacency, or do not actually know what can and cannot be recycled.
Most plastic can be put into the various blue bins around the campus, as well as glass, (clean) tin foil, and any dry paper or cardboard. There are bins all over the school; holding onto your trash until you encounter one won’t hurt you! If you see a plastic bottle outside, don’t be afraid to pick it up and recycle it, you can always wash your hands!
With the soon-to-be-open Tim Horton’s in our school, we have to act responsibly and enforce environmental sustainability: If you can bring in a coffee mug from home instead of receiving a temporary one, or compost your leftovers, then please do. We must be vigilant to avoid as much packaging as possible. Do you really need a paper bag for a donut, or a cup-tray for two drinks? We, as students, and as the inhabitants of this world, must demand a clean, sustainable future from the school, from Tim Horton’s, and especially from our peers.