What Can We Do to Protect the Natural Environment?

Marcus, Year 13, Century Park Campus

Times are changing. Never before has humanity been so close together, and yet so divided at the same time. A rise in nationalism and an “us versus them” mentality has taken a chokehold on human society. Plans to save the earth have been brushed aside. Our leaders have pondered, and promises have been made, but little has actually happened to work toward saving the planet.

Millions upon millions of metric tons of plastic have been dumped into our oceans, killing wildlife and severely impacting the livelihood of coastal cities. Climate change continues to melt the polar ice caps, making sea levels rise enough to threaten populations and driving many beautiful Arctic animals to extinction. The Great Barrier Reef – one of the seven natural wonders of the world – is in critical condition, with corals dying at an unprecedented rate.

What can we do? Individually, not much. However, change will be wrought when every single individual in a society plays their own, little part toward the betterment of the planet. The most important thing to do is to recognise the fact that our world, and all of its marvelous creations, are in danger. You know this, and you might agree. But the moment you stop reading this article, everything I have talked about could be shelved away, forgotten, and you will carry on with your life, believing that somebody else will save the planet for you.

I suggest that you stop using luxuries you can live without – plastic straws, disposable bottles, plastic cutlery, and plastic microbeads used in exfoliating face scrubs and shower gels are brilliant executioners of both marine life and the environment.

At YCIS Shanghai, we have an Environmental Awareness Committee that aims to spread awareness and educate students on such issues. Over the past year, we’ve raised money for tree planting, put up posters around the school to educate and persuade, and have made plans for future events we can host, such as documentary screenings, to spread awareness. We’ve gotten students to genuinely care about our earth, and that is no small achievement, for they are the future of this world.

I feel that, for now, we as students are doing our part, and I urge all of the adults in our community to do the same. 

Don’t forget, the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

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