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Commentary by Sariah M.

Weve all learned about the food
chain, how one species consumes
another which then consumes
another. As children wed joke
about being the big fsh. And
we learned about the water cycle,
how evaporation leads to conden-
sation; clouds form and rain falls.
We learn about plants and trees
and soil and bees, but it isnt until
much later that some of us learn
the word ecology.
Ecology is the study of plants and
animals and their interactions with
each other and the environment.
The science is broad, but it helps
explains things like why spe-
cies go extinct, and how humans
effect the planet. Human beings
are a species too. The Earth is our
environment and our communi-
ties are our habitats. We live our
lives at the top of the food chain,
and we impact every aspect of the
world around us. Climate change,
energy, land and soil degradation,
pollinator decline, population and
pollution are all ecological issues
that will not only affect our planet,
but our future. Without nutrient
rich soil to seed crops or bees to
polinate them, our food suply will
dwindle. Droughts and unusual
weather problems will persist as
the climate changes. And sink
holes and earthquakes will only
become more frequent as we con-
tinue to dig for resources. These
problems will continue to worsen
if they go unchecked, and future
generations may not only sruggle
to provide for their material wants,
but potentially suffer from the lack
of food, water, shelter and heat.
We can no longer afford to debate
the reality, or refuse to take action
due to our disinclination change.
The next time it comes up con-
sider; the Earth will renew itself,
and life will go on, but it may not
be human life. These issues arent
destroying the planet; theyre
making it uninhabitable for future
generations of the human race.
What you can do:
Newspaper, cardboard, plastic,
and glass are all recyclable. Check
with your local garbage collection
company for guidelines and col-
lection information. Large appli-
ances and metal can also
be recycled, and many
companies offer incen-
tives to do so. If you dont
have a metal recycling fa-
cility or collector near by,
it might be worth looking
outside your local area.
Dont limit recycling to
the obvious. Clothing,
furniture, and odds and
ends can be refnished,
remade, or repurposed.
Minimize Waste:
Dont just choose reusable wa-
ter bottles and drink containers;
repurpose grocery food containers
and jars to hold leftovers, knick-
knacks, craft supplies, etc. Dont
throw out used toys and
clothes; donate them to
charity or thrift stores.
When grocery shopping,
dont be fooled into
thinking you need that
big package for more
when a small package
for less will do. Buying
in bulk only saves you if
you use it all up.
Buy Durable Goods:
In our disposable society consum-
er responsibility is more important
than ever. Its not 1978 when we
could take the broken toaster to
the fx-it shop. Check for the qual-
ity, manufacturing, sources and la-
bor practices that go into creating
what you consume, they matter.
Growing an organic
garden can be easy and pleasur-
able. You dont need a lot of room
or very many plants to make a
signifcant difference. Many gar-
den vegetable plants can be potted
on a porch or patio. The savings
extends not only to your pocket
book. Soil, land, water, fuel and
energy resources are all conserved
by growing a garden.

Water, electricity and fuel are
major resources the availability
of which affects everyone. Small
actions like turning lights off
when not in use and setting the
thermostat on a timer can make
a big difference. Carpool when
possible. Look into solar and wind
power if applicable. Save water
by investing in shower control
heads, or water conserving toi-
lets. And if thats not practical,
shorten your shower time or bathe
instead. Showers on average use
gallons more than baths, and
cooled bath water can be used to
water house and garden plants
or poured into the washing ma-
chine. Dishwashers can save on
water, but only if they are properly
loaded and full.
Dont pass it up; pick it up:
Whether camping, hiking, or just
walking down the street, dont
pass it up, pick it up. Leave only
footprints, take all the garbage.
And dont limit this guideline to
rubbish. When you learn some-
thing new, or see something
wrong, dont pass up the opportu-
nity to change, or the opportunity
to share; pick it up.
Ecology 101
The Earth will renew
itself, and life will go on,
but it may not be human
life. These issues arent
destroying the planet;
theyre making it
uninhabitable for future
generations of the
human race