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Environment-How Can You Help to Protect It?

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Environment - how can you help to protect it?

Environment is an important part of human life and a healthy environment is a must for human existence. Therefore, it is crucial that we take care of our surroundings and help nature maintain ecological balance so that we could hand over to the coming generations the environment as we found it, if not any better. Our planet is changing. There are a lot of things that affect our planet in a bad way but the good news is that everyone can help to reduce them and do their bit for the environment. While exploring six important topics that affect our community : Electricity (Energy), Pollution, Food, Water, Rubbish, Rainforest, I'll present the damage and a list of ways that we can all contribute to help our planet get better. 1. Electricity Energy is everywhere. We use energy to move the mouse for a computer, to jump and shout and walk and run. It takes energy to power a light bulb, and the light that the bulb gives off is also a form of energy. Other forms of energy include heat, chemical energy, gravitational energy and nuclear power. Electricity is a form of energy and this is what powers the TV, the kettle, dishwasher, hairdryer, toaster, remote control, mobile phone, fridge, stereo, electric toothbrush, and more. Our growing need for energy is one of the problems facing the world today, because producing electricity also produces our next topic - pollution. How to help? When you’re using electricity think about where it comes from and how you can use less to take the strain off of the environment- here are some simple ways to make a big difference: • On or Off? Leaving televisions, stereos and computers on standby with the little red light showing still uses up electricity, even though they might look like they're turned off. To stop this you can turn them off at the wall. • Lights out! Turning lights off when you're not in the room can save a lot of energy.

• Keep cool! The fridge is an important part of the kitchen, it keeps food fresh, cool and healthy! But it takes a lot of energy to keep cool, so help it by not leaving the fridge door open or putting hot things inside. • Harness the sun’s energy - An increasing number of people are fitting solar panels to their houses. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels create electricity from sunlight, which can then be used to power their homes. Solar heating panels make hot water, reducing the need for electricity or gas to heat water or run the central heating system. 2. Pollution An essential problem of the 21st century is the world pollution. Currently the environment is so much contaminated that urgent measures should be taken. The single individual cannot be blamed for the world pollution; however every person should take care of his habitat. In addition , it is vital that environmental issues should be treated internationally. There are trivial things that we can do individually to save the environment. In making some small changes in the way we do in daily activities, we can help to protect our environment from being polluted. The first thing that we can do is by walking or riding our bike instead of driving whenever possible. In doing so we can reduce the air pollution. Also fumes from the vehicles contain carbon monoxide which is very dangerous to human life. It can cause headache, nausea, the shortness of breath and dizziness. If we can reduce the content of carbon monoxide in the air, for sure we can also protect our earth from being polluted. At the same time we can maintain our health. As we cycling we inhale fresh air which is good for our respiratory system. Seventy percent of the Earth is covered by oceans. Oceans are vital for the life on Earth. They provide homes for millions of plants and animals, provide people with food and help regulate the climate. But now they are a big dumping ground for tons of toxic waste. Most big cities pour their waste into seas and rivers. For a long time people did not realize the danger. The first alarm came from Japan: sixty people died because they have eaten polluted fish. The Baltic sea is a special case. Because it is such a small sea, it becomes dirty very easily. 250

rivers run into the Baltic. There are hundreds of factories on these rivers and millions of people live along them. Seven industrial countries surround the Baltic. Once we have polluted the sea, it is very difficult to filter it. Fortunately, all the countries realized the problems and co-operated to solve ecological problems. I would like to elaborate some practical measures which must be taken in order to improve the ecological situation: the factories and plants must be removed from cities; green zones must be created; pollution control systems must be introduced; purifying systems for cleaning and trapping harmful substances must be widely used; almost everything is recyclable today - recycling is a great way to reduce waste. We need clean air to breathe and pure water to drink. We can't get all these things by ourselves. We live in community so we can solve our problems only working together. A lot of public organizations have been established. One of them is Green Peace which was formed in 1971 with its Head-quarters in Amsterdam. The area of operation is 25 countries worldwide. Its objectives are to protect wild life and atmosphere, to prevent disposal of toxic waste and nuclear tests. But all is not lost. We can all learn a few little tips to help protect the environment and its future: How to help? • Don't drop litter. Birds and animals can mistake litter for food. Litter can end up in rivers and block drains, or in the sea and be eaten by fish. Also, some litter will stay around for thousands of years! • Save it! All of the electricity saving tips in the above section will also help reduce pollution. • On your bike. Instead of taking the car get your bicycle out or take a walk. • Pleasing products. Many household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals which are washed down the drain. Encourage your friends to buy eco-friendly products or even make your own from natural substances like vinegar and lemon juice.

3. Food We can’t live without it! With more than 7 billion people on earth the demand for food has never been bigger. The first question is - where is all this food coming from? Our food comes from all over the world - your green beans might come from Egypt, coffee maybe from Africa, perhaps your bananas have travelled from Ecuador and apples flew across the Pacific Ocean from New Zealand. All of these ‘food miles’ amounts to a lot of transport and transport means fuel and fuel means pollution. What else does food need to grow? Water and good soil! Plants and trees that give us fruit need to eat too. Some countries and farms add pesticides and insecticides to food to keep away pests and insects. These chemicals can sometimes be harmful to wildlife and their habitats and sometimes to humans too. West countries eat 7 times more than people in poorer countries. And one thing we eat a lot of is meat and dairy food. Meat comes from animals, they also need food and water. Nowadays most farmers use a more practical and fast method to breed the animals and this occurs to have bad influence on our lives. How to help? • Meat Free Mondays are an easy and effective way to cut down on meat. Make one or even two of your days meat-free. • Eat organic. Organic foods have had no insecticides and pesticides added to them which makes them a bit more natural and healthy. Eating organic food reduces how many chemicals are made and spread across the countryside. • Washing. Always wash your hands before eating to prevent the spread of invisible bad stuff like bacteria and chemicals. It’s also good to wash fruit and vegetables before eating or cooking. 4. Water Getting water is so easy that you’d be mistaken for thinking that there was an endless supply. But the world has a water shortage. 70% of the world is covered in water - we

should call our planet ‘ocean’ not ‘earth’! But most of this water is salt water, leaving only a small percentage of fresh drinking water. Countries including Spain, Italy, Peru, China and South Africa actually import water from exporting countries such as the US, Australia and Argentina. A staggering 1.1 billion people on earth have no access to clean drinking water. This global shortage is predicted to get worse as global temperatures rise. There are many simple ways that we cam reduce our water use: How to help? • Morning habits. We brush our teeth twice a day and by turning the tap off while we brush we can save 5-10 liters of water. • Rain Gain. Collecting rainwater in a water butt in your garden is a great way of collecting and reusing the water to keep plants healthy in the summer. • Shower time. Our daily hygiene is very important. By setting yourself a challenge to cut down your shower time by 1 or 2 minutes could help the environment a lot. 5. Rubbish We throw away unwanted food, glass bottles, plastic bottles, cans, wrappers, paper and cardboard. Many of these things are made up of natural resources such as trees, coal, oil and aluminum and one day some of these resources will be used up completely. Do you recycle at home and at school? Why recycle? Well, this takes us back to the topic of energy. Recycling glass, paper, cardboard and plastic should save the energy it would take to make new paper, glass bottles and plastic containers. How to help? Thinking more about what we waste helps to protect the environment by saving energy, reducing pollution, cutting costs and preserving our natural resources. • Sort it out! Not all of our recycling is taken by helpful dustmen. Choose everything that could be reused and place it in the special areas for recycling. Don't mix it with the useless things. • Recycle Bank. Some councils don’t collect plastics or cardboard but there is always

somewhere nearby with big recycling banks where you can take them. • Fashion Statement. Give any unwanted clothes to charity shops or to a Salvation Army recycling bank. A lot of our unwanted clothes go to the homeless to keep them warm or alternatively, the clothes are sent to developing countries. • Packaging. Packaging is a big problem for the environment because once the product is open you don’t need it and it’s thrown out or, if it’s lucky, recycled. So avoid buying products that have a lot of paper and plastic around them. 6. Rainforests (Deforestation) Rainforests are valuable habitats. About half of all the species of animals and plants in the world live in rainforests and thousands of rainforest plants contain substances that can be used in medicines. Rainforests are also important because the huge number of plants and trees there provide us with oxygen and help to regulate the world's climate and atmosphere. This is why they are often referred to as the ‘lungs’ of the earth. Yet despite their value, big areas of rainforest are destroyed every year, and this is called deforestation. Rainforests now only cover 6% of the world as we cut down the trees for materials such as paper and wood and use the land for farming. How to help? • Good wood. Tropical hardwoods such as teak and mahogany are grown in rainforests and take hundreds of years to grow so avoid any products made with these woods. It is better have products made with pine, beech, ash or oak. These trees don’t come from the rainforest and can be more easily replaced as they grow a lot faster. • Save trees. Save trees by recycling your own paper. If you are buying paper, buy recycled paper, whether it is writing paper or toilet paper!

On a broader scale, ecosystems around the world can be abbreviated as TREES: • Teach others about the importance of the environment and how they can help save rainforests. • Restore damaged ecosystems by planting trees on land where forests have been cut down. • Encourage people to live in a way that doesn't hurt the environment. • Establish parks to protect rainforests and wildlife • Support companies that operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment.

In conclusion, there are a lot of factors that influence the environment in a harmful way but with a little effort from each of us we can make the world that we live in a better place. Following some simple rules on daily basis just cannot ruin our schedule in any way. Give it all a thought and start thinking green!

Diana-Madalina Nemes, International Economy and Trade, Group 122, Student ID: 9120680056…...

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