A lot of people seem to think that pollution, carbon footprints, and climate change are all concerns that don’t really affect us as Americans right now. Sure, maybe in a few years we can start worrying, but not right now. But the evidence is mounting: climate change is real, it is affecting our lives, and we’re polluting our planet and blowing through the last of the resources it has to offer. But why should you care? You’ll be dead by the time that’s all an issue anyways.
If you think that you’re going to just skate through life without feeling any of the effects of pollution or climate change, you’re dead wrong. Already, we’re seeing increases in temperature, more natural disasters, rising water levels, and decreased ozone coverage. Pollution affects the air, water, and soil, and we are all dying of diseases and conditions that were considered rare only a few decades ago. If you think that pollution doesn’t affect you now, you should know: odds are you’re going to die from something related to your environment, and if you’re not aware of it, you’ll likely die much younger than you thought you would.
It Affects Everything
Pollution kills more sea life than humans consume fish and shellfish every year. More marine life has to be rehabilitated and rescued because they ingested or got tangled in some sort of plastic trash humans released into the water. Animals are going extinct because their natural habitat is diminishing due to climate change, destruction of habits for human resources (logging, deforestation, expansion, etc.). Children are born with more diseases and conditions than ever before, believed to be caused by air pollution and lack of healthy nutrients in the soil and food. People are obese and sicker than in any generation prior because of the sedentary, resource-reliant lifestyle they lead. And worse yet, people in undeveloped countries are feeling the effects of the drains the developed world has placed on resources. The top 1% of the world uses more than 70% of the resources – how is that fair? CO2 and other greenhouse gases are heating the planet up to intolerable temperatures, killing off the world’s diversity, and possibly sending us into the next ice age. Everything is connected.
It’s Just Cheaper
If all of those things make you shrug in apathy, here’s one last ditch effort to appeal to your common sense. You should care about the earth, being “green,” and preventing pollution because it’s just plain cheaper. Consider all the single use junk you spend top dollar on – it’s cheaper to spend more money on an original product that you can use for the foreseeable future. It’s cheaper to have a smaller house or car that consumes less energy to keep going. It’s cheaper to eat green, fresh food instead of prepackaged junk (do the math, really it’s cheaper to eat healthier). It’s cheaper to teach our kids healthy habits than pay to clean up their mess later, as well.