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We Only Have One Planet, It's Time to Save It!

By Christian Pridemore
On January 26, 2016


In recent years, there have been plenty of astronomy studies claiming that there are possibly other planets, called exoplanets, in the universe which could be habitable by humans. According to physicist Andrew LePage, who runs a website on the subject of exoplanets, one of the closest exoplanets to our planet orbits a red dwarf about 12.8 light years away. This might seem like a small number, but to put it into perspective, this is about 75,000,000,000,000 miles away from our planet, and even a rocket going at maximum velocity (about 198 miles/second, which is escape velocity for our galaxy according to the German Aerospace Center) would take just short of 12,000 years to reach that exoplanet. 

Why am I saying this? Why am I tossing these big numbers around that are hard to even conceive of? Because I want people to be aware of this fact: as it stands right now, we only have one planet, and it’s way past time to start acting like it. Too often am I taking a nature walk around a local park and see trash accumulating near a river bank or in the forest, and I can’t help but pick it up. And I feel like this sort of pollution could be far easier managed if we treated this planet like it’s the only one we have. So, here are some tips for being more environmentally friendly so we can still have a planet upon which to live. 

For starters, cut down on trash. I know this seems like it’s a hard thing to avoid, and that I am condescending for suggesting such a thing. But it’s not as hard as some might want to believe. Plastic and glass containers such as jugs, bottles, and bags can almost always be reused or repurposed for something else. For instance, both I and my roommate always save our plastic bags after we go grocery shopping for future use, instead of throwing them away. Likewise, the scoops for salting snowy roads are almost always made out of milk cartons and plastic bottles that have been cut open. Actions even as small as repurposing a set of plastic bottles from a package of bottled water to use to store more water in can help to reduce harmful wastes. And if you feel as if plastic containers are unavoidable and have no other use, try looking for alternative packaging such as paper or aluminum containers, or even look to see if your containers have a biodegradable plastic alternative. 

Secondly, keep a track of your trash. When you have reused that bottle for the 1000th time, and feel it’s time to quit, don’t just put it in the garbage, but make sure to put it in the nearest recycling receptacle. According to in their “Keeping America Beautiful” credo, in 2009 Americans recycled 82 million tons of materials. The resulting CO2 emission reduction is equivalent to taking 33 million passenger vehicles off the road.This stands to show just how beneficial recycling is to the planet. If we could keep reducing the amount of garbage that is just left to rot (and in most cases, not rot) in landfills, we can continue to sustain the planet for many years to come. And it’s not just about recycling. Like I always try to do, if you find yourself on a walk in the woods and you see a piece of trash detracting from the natural serenity, don’t just leave it there. It is everyone’s job to keep the planet beautiful. 

Finally, try to keep a carbon-reducing mentality. Little things that everyone can do, like turning off lights when not using them, taking slightly colder/slightly shorter showers, taking up botany, and carpooling, can make a big difference. By reducing the carbon emissions, we reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses which get trapped in our atmosphere and unnaturally heat our planet. 

It’s the little things that everyone can do to help make the world a better place that will make the world a better place. It’s far past time to act. By taking just a few of these preventative measures, and by taking these little extra steps, you can help save the only planet we have. For more information about other tips on how to efficiently recycle and reduce carbon emissions, go to

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