Health, STEM

Wasting the Planet

We only have one planet – and it’s going to waste.

We’re wasting its resources. We’re burning through non-renewable resources and are expending energy in our use of renewable resources. Developing countries with reckless environmental policies and developed countries unwilling to make the sacrifices it takes to keep our planet healthy are putting the Earth at risk.

And we’re filling Earth with our waste, polluting it with greenhouse gases while filling landfills with litter.

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We’re wasting the planet by wasting its resources and filling it with waste. And it’s ourselves that will be wasted, in the long run: rising sea level threaten our population centers, dangerous storms are hurting us more frequently, and our lives are emptier without the beauties of nature.

But waste not, want not: if we turn the tide, we will benefit for generations.

Wasting resources

The Fuels of the Future

The planet provides for us in many ways. But if we don’t take our stewardship of our planet’s resources seriously, we’ll find that even Mother Nature has her limits.

The Fuels of the Future

Our taste for non-renewable resources like fossil fuels has been a big problem for the Earth, and it is becoming a big problem for us. We’re burning through our fossil fuels fast, and while new ways of extracting the fuel have kept costs down, we will eventually have a scarcity. In the meantime, our constant burning of these fuels is heating up our Earth and causing environmental disasters.

Then there are the renewable resources. These can be with us forever – if they’re well managed. But if we don’t plant new trees when we cut down old ones, we’ll eventually run out of trees just as we’ll run out of fuel.

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Fortunately, there are reasons to believe we’re making progress. Recycling is now the norm in developed countries, and we’re tracking how we consume our resources. Businesses and individuals have an incentive to save money, so it’s natural that we’re looking for ways to monitor our consumption (just look at the Abest Meter and other products designed for measuring everything from the flow of water in irrigation systems to the energy efficiency of manufacturing tools). With the right financial incentives, government policies, and personal values, we can commit as a species to making more efficient and careful use of our planet’s resources.

Our own waste

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Of course, no matter how efficiently we make things, we eventually throw them out. And that’s becoming a real problem.

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The fact that littering and landfills are bad for the environment has long been known. But while we’re more aware than ever of the problems with styrofoam and other old foes, we’re becoming worse and worse about technological waste. As computers and smart devices become more affordable, they also become more disposable. More are sold and more are thrown out. And, as made clear on, tech waste is a real danger to our planet.

How To Be More Environmentally Conscious

But here, too, there is reason for hope. Good government policies and an increased understanding among the public have helped make it more common for folks to dispose of technology properly. With further improvement and the right legal and financial incentives, we can hope to stop dumping our waste where it doesn’t belong – and avoid wasting our planet.

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