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May 29, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: Let's Save the World

Letter to the Editor: Let's Save the World

The Tarahumara people live in northwestern Mexico. They live in small villages in Barranca del Cobre and Copper Canyon. These people run an average 26 miles per day as a part of their daily chores. They eat a daily diet rich of protein and vegetables. They hardly eat meat, using livestock as fertilizer. They don't destroy nature and pollute their atmosphere. These amazing people are happy and healthy their whole lives.

Polluting the earth began when man began to spread all over the world, built, and used more resources. One of the most known and serious effects of pollution is global warming. When we discovered oil, we, essentially, went crazy with joy. We used oil for fuel and disregarded the obnoxious, black, smelly smoke that came with burning it. Burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air, which increases the temperature of the atmosphere. As the temperature rises, the Artic and Antarctic ice caps melt, sea level rises and millions of animals who depend on those ice caps will die; we will all drown.

Along with carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) released by machines like refrigerators, degrade the ozone layer - the layer in the atmosphere that protects us from ultraviolet rays (UV rays). These UV rays, unless blocked, can cause skin cancer and many other mutations in our body; we are destroying that one thing that protects us from these harmful rays.

Today, plastic is part of almost all things, sometimes, even food. However, what we do not realize is that plastic is non-biodegradable and all the plastic that has been manufactured since its invention is still here on this earth. An example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a ball of trash from all around the world, swirling in the Pacific Ocean, two times as large as Texas.

As our population reaches more than seven billion, we want a place to live. We clear the land, cut down trees, pushing all the other plants and animals out. This leaves hundreds of tress to rot and animals that called those trees home, homeless.

We are in a world where we have air-conditioned cars and temperature regulated houses. Our body gets used to the artificial environments. In addition, we are obsessed with keeping ourselves sanitized at all times by using bacteria killing cleaners. If we stop being germ phobic, we may have healthier immune systems and fewer allergies.

The most overused and misused living thing in the world are trees. Trees provide us with building materials to writing materials. However, we waste this precious resource. In the U.S., we use 187 billion pounds of paper every year. That is about 4 billion trees, 35 percent of the world's trees - all of it so that we could have something to write on. Agricultural lands are overused too. Farmers clear land, removing all life and nutrients from it, and then pour fertilizers and insecticides to enrich it again. Hunters find it entertaining to kill an animal and leave its body to rot. In the United States, 200 million creatures are hunted each year. Scientists use genetic engineering to alter plants and animals so that they will be bigger, more attractive or yield more meat or milk. In the process, they are disrupting the course of evolution and altering the natural and nutrient rich species of plant and animals rather than making them better for humans.

Some countries, having realized this folly, are trying to heal the environment with new technology that is environmental friendly. Since these are just beginning to emerge, their adoption is very slow and needs to be complemented with a change in our basic lifestyle.

If we are to survive, we have to live our lives in similar way to the Tarahumara people. We should use only what we need and, live and grow in harmony with nature.

Soumya Suresh

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