TEENS: I’ve received many letters from teenagers who are interested in being good citizens and stewards of our planet Earth. I’d go so far as to say this generation has the most heightened awareness of environmental issues I can recall in my lifetime.
Many teens offer suggestions on how we can all help be more environmentally conscious, whereas others write in and ask us how they can be of better service to our planet themselves.
Here then are some suggestions that we should all heed and participate in whenever we can. If everyone takes conservation and recycling seriously, these actions will truly add up and help our planet immensely.
—Don’t use lawn chemicals on your home lawns and gardens. It does not take much for chemicals to be washed off during a rain and to find their way into waterways, streams, rivers and the ocean.
—Carry reusable cloth bags to the grocery store and to other markets and even restaurants you plan to pick up to-go orders from. Plastic bags will often be used and given to you otherwise. The world already has too many plastic bags that end up in landfills — or worse, the ocean, where marine life can be negatively impacted.
—When packing a lunch or snack food for consumption later in the day, go with small reusable containers rather than plastic bags.
—Avoid single-serving packages of small items like yogurt and juice. These small sizes are accompanied by a lot of extra packaging that ends up in landfills and other areas.
—Plant a tree or adopt a tree that needs someone to water it, maintain it and be sure it stays healthy.
—Reuse as much paper as you possibly can. Many of us use electronic devices to maintain our business and personal files, but for those notes that must be written down, reuse as much notebook and computer printer paper as possible.
—Don’t ever flush any household hazardous waste down the toilet or drain. This applies to showers and bathtubs as well.
—Do volunteer work whenever and wherever you can, especially at local zoos, animal shelters, aquariums and other venues that help the animals that inhabit our planet.
—Do not purchase or wear animal fur garments. “Fake fur” looks just as good, costs less and helps the animal kingdom immensely.
—Pick up trash whenever you have a few minutes, particularly at parks, the beach, near lakes and other places that are right up against the open spaces of nature where fish and animals live and thrive.
—Recycle as many items as you can! Always recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper products, batteries and every other item that can be dropped off at a local recycling center. Not only will you receive a small payment for most of these items, but the positive impact of volume recycling pays us all in ways that benefit humanity on many levels and help Mother Earth keep providing us the wonders we enjoy and often take for granted.