Guest Writer: Alexis Martinez
Out of the 7.4 billion people on the third planet from the sun, you are only one. What makes your life more valuable than any other?
Humans are slowly killing the Earth.
The United States uses around 500 million straws daily, which equals 14 billion every month, or 168 billion every year. That’s around 4.4 billion pounds of straws that could end up in the oceans, and that’s just from the United States.
Non-biodegradable plastics that are casually thrown away make their way into the Earth’s waterways and starve aquatic life of oxygen and sunlight.
Other aquatic creatures may confuse a floating piece of plastic for their next meal. Plastic debris alone kills more than 100 million marine animals annually.
In order to save the Earth and the creatures that inhabit it, we need to decrease the amount of plastic waste produced by humans.
Perhaps the most obvious solution to this problem is to simply decrease the amount of plastics used worldwide.
One of the most popular ways to decrease the amount of plastics used is through reusable water bottles. There are endless varieties of colors, sizes and price ranges that a person could pick from. Some varieties keep your drink cold after hours in the sun, while others have an infuser so you can flavor your water. The possibilities are endless.
Steel straws have started becoming another popular way to decrease the amount of plastic straws that are used daily. Most of the straws come in packs with different sizes, shapes and cleaning supplies. They are a safe and reusable alternative to using a plastic straw every time you get a drink.
Using less plastic cups and straws would decrease the amount of plastics that are thrown onto the already suffocating mountains of waste every day.
If people use reusable options, then the amount of plastic waste would be more manageable, and others could focus on how to clean up the plastics that are already hurting the Earth.
Maybe in a couple of decades or so, plastics won’t constantly be found in marine animals, and aquatic life won’t be deprived of oxygen and sunlight.
Maybe one day, the oceans will come back to life.
Everyone on this planet leaves a carbon footprint, but humans are the only ones who can change how big that footprint is.
The conditions needed for human life are incredibly fragile. In our endless universe, there is only one place that will sustain us.
The Earth is needed to preserve human life, but life is not needed to preserve the Earth.
Alexis is a sophomore biology major from La Porte, Indiana.