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Conserve energy today to save our environment for tomorrow

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Emily Viles Monari
June 19, 2009
This commentary was among those written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School.

In a time of economic stress, it is imperative that we not forget about our environmental problems. If we fail to do this, we will face a bigger predicament once the economy turns around. We will find ourselves trying to adapt to the sobering, bleak world we have created through our neglect.


The most popular piece of legislation for the environment that is getting the most support is the Cap and Trade Bill. This bill would sell credits to big emitting companies that would allow them to keep spewing emissions as much as they do, but the money earned from them buying the credits would go back to repairing the environment.


Many of the organizations I interviewed said that the biggest things we need to work on is our consumption levels and how much this country emits so we can slow global warming and climate change. As we live our day-to-day lives, we do not realize how much we consume.


“The average Google search takes enough energy to heat a cup of tea,” stated Laura Loomis, executive director of the National Parks Conservation Association.


We also fail to see that almost every family is consuming just as much as our own, and that everything we do adds up.


“It’s what’s consumed, what’s utilized, our nature of transport. Everything from electricity use to the type of light bulbs, you name it,” said Scott Hajost of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. “There is a broad litany of things in which one can actually make a difference.”


The United States is one of the largest emitters in the world, alongside China and India, and if we do not change, the future for our children and grandchildren will not be bright. We also need to work on International Conservation Policy, which would attempt to get other big emitters, such as China, on board to reduce their emissions.


While in Washington, D.C., I became aware of many issues that will affect the quality of our lives if we are not more aware of our impacts on the environment.


First, I am fully convinced that global warming and climate change are happening. Evidence is in the rise in sea levels and the rapid growth of endangered species.


Second, I am worried about water quantity and quality for future generations.


“Basically we are putting too much into the ocean, whether that’s runoff or plastics, or waste,” said Jennifer Palmer, International Union for the Conservation of Nature. “We are taking too much out, we are over-fishing way beyond our means of a sustainable market—and then we are not doing too good of a job protecting the edge (the coasts). The costal habitats are really important places for the ecosystems.”


Finally, there is a concern about the loss of biodiversity, which directly affects our way of life.



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