This blog entry appeared in Christian Brothers University's Galleon as a contribution from Tioga Vice President Larkin Myers.
I have been concerned about the care of our environment since I was a little girl. When I was about 10 years old, I learned that Styrofoam does not degrade and the use of this product is dangerous to the future of Earth. I was so alarmed that I petitioned TCBY to stop using Styrofoam products because it was damaging our community. This obviously didn’t work!
My concern for the environment and for future generations’ enjoyment of our world is still a passion of mine. Taking care of our environment can be something that is very easy to do with a little attention to your daily routine.
Here are a few tips from my personal life so that you too can help save the planet:
1. Recycle: This is one of the easiest habits you can form, and Memphis is about to make it even easier. The city is in the process of providing new large cans for household recycling and they are accepting more materials. I keep an extra trashcan in my kitchen for recycled materials to make it easier.
2. Stop using paper materials: Disposable items, like paper towels, plates and napkins, only further fill up our landfills. Opt for reusable items, like traditional ceramic or glass plates that you can wash over and over again and cloth materials that can be laundered in place of napkins and paper towels.
3. Don’t litter: When you throw a piece of trash out of the window, it ends up washing down the street and landing in the gutter. It then flows into a creek or stream, polluting our waterways and the slopes around them.
4. Pick up your pet’s waste: While this may seem harmless, pet excretion can contaminate our stormwater, which may lead to contamination of our creeks and streams. I carry a plastic bag and pick up my dog’s waste so that I can throw it in the garbage.
5. Reduce your oils and greases: When you put oils and greases from cooking down your sink, it can result in a clogged sanitary sewer pipe. These clogs lead to overflows in our sewer system. You should let the oils or grease cool and then throw them away in your trashcan.
6. Walk or bike instead of driving: Protect our ozone layer by using clean forms of transportation if you can.
7. Use earth-friendly cleaners: Not only are these products safer for the environment, but they also help protect you and your family’s health as well.
8. Don’t use pesticides; Some insects are good for your yard, like the bee population! Pesticides and fertilizers also run off into our water sources, which is dangerous for our health, as well as for plant and animal life.
9. Volunteer: Organizations like Memphis River Warriors host cleanup projects for McKellar Lake and are always looking for volunteer assistance. You’ll be surprised and amazed at how much garbage can be removed from common spaces.
It’s pretty easy to make a difference with these tips. If you’re interested in finding more ways to make a difference, check out this USA.gov site which talks about energy efficiency and waste disposal.