Empty soda cans and torn candy bar wrappers lie scattered on the ground. Landfills overflow with plastic bottles and cardboard. This doomsday future is painted by climate change experts. It is a reality, but this tactic may not be effective in encouraging people to recycle.
When everybody is saying that the world is beyond saving, you may feel defeated. Students have so much to focus on, so why should they throw recycling into the mix?
Though it can be overwhelming, this is a topic that affects students now more than any other generation. We have the ability to change something, and we have the necessity to do so, as well.
Ultimately, students are the ones who will have to suffer the consequences of climate change in the future.
The studies claiming that climate change cannot be stopped or fixed can be dismaying. Even the famous scientist and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, Sept. 17, “I worry that we might not be able to recover from this because all our greatest cities are on the oceans and water’s edges, historically for commerce and transportation.”
“And as storms kick in, as water levels rise, they are the first to go,” he said. “And we don’t have a system — we don’t have a civilization with the capacity to pick up a city and move it inland 20 miles … This is happening faster than our ability to respond. That could have huge economic consequences.”
Recycling is not an issue that you can just quit on. Climate change cannot be stopped, but it can be slowed. As inhabitants of Earth, we should be doing everything in our power to save the environment and slow down climate change. Luckily for students, ASU offers a multitude of ways that make it easy to keep the environment clean.
“We all have to take responsibility for what we’re taking on campus, what we are purchasing while we’re here and how we dispose of it,” Katherine Schumacher, program coordinator of Zero Waste said. “If we dispose of it to recycling or chose something that is reusable, we are just minimizing and lessening our footprint on our campus and the greater environment around us.”
The opportunities to recycle on campus are endless. Almost every garbage bin is paired with a recycling bin and yet people will still throw plastic bottles in the garbage bin. Taking a moment to distinguish the recycling bin out of the two can have a significant impact in the long run.
“If you look at the amount of waste an American is making in a day, it is close to about four and a half pounds,” Schumacher said. “If you multiply that by the number of days in a year, then each individual person is making a lot of waste. If we’re not mindful of how much we’re creating and working to minimize that, it has a huge impact, especially since material has to go somewhere when you put it into bins.”
If you are ever unsure about what is recyclable, then go to the zerowaste site, where you can find a full listing of all of the materials that are recyclable.
Recycling is not the only way to take care of the environment. Vehicles are still massive contributors to global warming. In fact, for every one mile driven, 411 grams of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere.
Instead of driving, try to catch public transportation, such as the shuttles provided by ASU or the light rail. If not public transportation, try riding a bike or carpooling. Aiding the efforts in combating climate change takes small sacrifices, and if everybody makes a small sacrifice, it can make a big impact.
Take advantage of the opportunities that ASU gives students to make recycling and public transport easy because it will ultimately impact your future as much as your education.