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In every heaping landfill, there lies a storage of valuable resources--reusable
glass containers, metals, recyclable plastic and paper, and waste that
is high in organic content. Recycling can help us reuse much of what
we throw out before it reaches a landfill.
What do we throw away that can
- Paper: Paper makes up of 36% of our solid waste!
The burning of paper gives off air pollution, while the recycling of paper
cuts our waste load over a third, and saves precious forests.
|By recycling all of your newspapers for one year, you alone can
save four trees, 2200 gallons of water, and fifteen pounds of air pollutants!
Paper recycling uses only one fourth to three quarters of the energy
used to produce paper from raw materials, and half as much water.
Recycled paper is useful in the production of cereal boxes, newsprint,
cardboard, tissue paper, wallboard, and the bases for writing pads.
The only negative side to paper recycling is that the bleaching process
used to clean the paper creates pollutants.
Aluminum cans: These cans take a lot of energy to be made from
scratch. If you recycle soda cans, the energy used and air pollution
is cut by 95% than the production of cans from pure bauxite. Each
soda can recycled saves energy equal to half a can of gasoline!
Steel cans: These cans, just in U.S. landfills, weighed about
2.5 million tons in 1986. These cans have an outer coating of tin,
which is very expensive and imported into the U.S. This tin can be
recovered and resold, or used to make new cans. The steel can should also be
Glass bottles: Glass bottles comprise 8% of our garbage.
Two types of glass bottles are manufactured--refillable and nonrefillable.
The reusable type is heavier and sturdier, and just needs a thorough cleaning
for it to be recycled up to thirty times. The other type, which is
nonreusable, can be melted with raw materials to produce new glass bottles.
However, this option requires a lot of energy, so the refillable bottles
Plastics: Plastics make up 7% of our waste by weight, but a
shocking 32% by volume! Plastics take hundreds or thousands of years
to decompose, so they are essentially permanent in the landfills.
Plastic is currently made from petroleum and natural gas, but future plastics
are most likely to come from plant and animal matter.
Yard wastes: Organic wastes make up 1/5 of the garbage flow,
which is about 28 million tons every year. Instead of being thrown
out, yard waste can be composted to make nutrient rich soil.
The United States generates more garbage than anywhere else in the world.
You can realize that we are running out of landfill space! It has
been predicted by the Environmental Protection
Agency that soon nearly half of all available U.S. landfills will be
Why are trees so important?
|Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there were two evil friars
living outside this small village. The friars had tried unsuccessfully
to overtake and capture the town, but finally this time, they believed
they had hit upon a foolproof scheme that would allow them to rule the
village. They had, through mad scientist experiments in their floral shop,
come up with a plant that would devour the townspeople one by one until
none were left. They set forth to put their plan into action by planting
the man-eating plants so they encircled the village.
As the plants rapidly grew, they began devouring everything living in their
path. The townspeople grew frightened; who or what would save them from
their eminent doom? Finally, the town's elder remembered Hugh, a woodcutter
who lived on the outskirts of town. Frantically, the townspeople penned a
desperate plea for help, tied it to the leg of a pigeon, and directed the
bird toward Hugh's cabin.
Meanwhile, outside of town, Hugh had received the note from the townspeople,
and realizing they were in grave danger, set forth to do what he needed to
do. He honed his mightiest axe to razor-sharpness, grabbed his hat, and off
Chopping his way through the dense vines, he single-handedly destroyed the
carnivorous plants one by one, until all were destroyed. Then he set out to
rid the village of the evil friars, chasing them out of town. The town was
saved!!! The people rejoiced and knighted Hugh for his brave and timely
efforts to save the village!!!
|And the Moral of this story is: Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars!
A major consequence of the Industrial Revolution is
deforestation; this can have some dire consequences. Trees are very
important because they act as the earth's lungs through the process of
photosynthesis. They take in our exhaust (carbon dioxide) and use
it to make food and oxygen. Furthermore, they act as sponges, slowing
down runoff and holding water. When trees are removed, there are
often severe floods during the rainy season. Trees are also the main
home for the diversity of life on this planet. As more and more trees
are uprooted, our climate becomes hotter and drier--like a desert.
"A people without children would face a hopeless future;
a country without trees is almost as hopeless."
Paper or Plastic?
How many times have you been asked this question in
the grocery store? Environmentalists have often debated over the
correct answer, which turns out to be NEITHER! To help the environment,
you should purchase reusable canvas bags, which will never have to take
energy to be recycled or take up space in a landfill.
|Most CDs are sold as a "package within a package," meaning
that the actual CD is housed in a plastic "jewel box," which
fits into a cardboard box, twice its size. This is the prime example
of useless packaging, just to make the consumer believe they are buying
more. These cardboard boxes from CDs alone now add up to 23 million
pounds of trash annually!
over 123 million cars drove on the highways of the United States. These
cars have contributed to cause more traffic, disappearance of wildlife,
more road kills, and more people injured and killed in accidents. Our life
is run by these pollutant yielding vehicles. Car emissions contribute
to the pollutants which cause acid rain, the greenhouse effect and smog,
destroy or disturb the habitats of wildlife, nitric oxides and carbon
dioxide pollute the atmosphere, and the air pollution which they cause
reduces crop yields.
Have you ever wondered what happens
to cars after you sell them or get rid of them? Here are the facts:
- A dismantler first removes parts that can be resold, such as the battery,
tires, gas tank, and operating fluids.
- The hulk is crushed and sent to a shreader
- The shreader tears it into chunks which are seperated into iron and
non iron metals.
- 75 percent of the weight of automobiles is recovered and recycled.
- The 25 percent which remains consists of 1/3 plastics, 1/3 rubber and
other materials like it, and 1/3 glass, fluids and fibers-called fluff.
- Fluff makes up to about one percent of all city wastes.
- Occasionally fluff is contaminated with oils and heavy metals, or other
- Now automobile companies are exploring how to make automobiles 100%
The Total Cost of Transportation
|A. Direct Costs
||Billions of $
| road construction
| school buses
| air pollution health
The gases which we release into the atmosphere
because of transportation has or will eventually raise the temperature
on the earth, this will effect the ecosystems, biodiversity and the major
cycles of nature. Our earth has withstood so many changes such as the movement
of the continents, bombardment of space debris, the ice ages and many more.
Now our species alone threatens not only it's survival but our own. The
average temperature has risen from the last ice age nine degrees, and the
temperature will rise three to eight more degrees by the year 2050, and
then every 60 years from there after.
If the global warming continues scientists have predicted
these events will take place;
- When water becomes warm it expands, the sea level will rise and the
ice caps will melt, creating more floods.
- The difference in temperatures will increase the amount and the intensity
- There will be changes in the productivity of organisms and the ocean's
- How ecosystems function, the interactions within organisms community,
evolution, breeding and the ability for organisms to survive are predicted
to be altered.
- Plants and animals capacity to change may become slower than the climatic
changes which occur, making it difficult for them to adapt to oncoming
- Vegetation species will alter in position, and deserts will move northward
and vegetation will increase in the north.
- Different species will be affected; the migratory patterns of birds
will alter due to the different distribution of their food sources, the
sex ratios of crocodiles and alligators will alter for their sex is determined
by the temperature of the egg during incubation, and Spring will come earlier
and Autumn will come later- effecting fruits and flowers (there is a lot
more but I think you get the point).
- The wetlands will flood, and the saltwater will erode them.
- Whatever wildlife is left will be housed in air conditioned zoos.
- The moistore of soil will decline, increasing the amount of fires and
the distribution of species. This will allow pests to spread.
In Glacier National Park, near Logan's Pass, there are many Rocky Mountain goats who don't make their
home in their natural ecosystem, but lounge around the parking lot.
They enjoy licking the anti-freeze from cars, because they like the salt!
Here are a few photographs of these goats in their natural and human-impacted
Recreation and Tourism
|-"The capacity of the human species to show concern for the
future of other species is a kind of superiority. May we use our greatness
|Quote by Aldo Leopold
Recreation and tourism can benefit and
yet harm nature. It is up to us to make our travels filled with safety and fun, both for us and the environment around us. In order to do this we
have to depend on clean ecosystems-and keeping it that way.
These trips and travels which we all go on have
a positive and a negative side.
The negative impacts of traveling and recreation are;
- A particular site is visited so much the carrying capacity exceeds that
of the site (an example can be seen in Yosemite National Park).
- Visitors pollute, walk and destroy fragile ecosystems, disrupt wildlife,
and take advantage of the local inhabitants.
- The people who do not receive financial benefit or do no participate
in ecotourism are the local people.
The positive impacts are;
- Through the funds of ecotourism protected-area's of land can be purchased
and be managed.
- Income is provided for local communities and governments.
- Tourists learn about different environments and how to act in them.
- Wildlife and many environments are protected.
By following and remembering these principles of ecology we can learn
and become more responsible in what we do during our recreation and traveling
- All things are connected to one another.
- The earth is fragile and is houses a closed life support system which
cannot be endlessly developed and survive those by-products.
- Every single environment has a "carrying capacity".
- Nature is a place where there are huge amounts of organisms working
together in symbiosis (symbiosis means a partnership or coming from the
Greek work it means "life together").
- Through small relationships with the soil, water, and climate cycles,
organisms have adapted to their particular ecosystems.
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