Graphic by MEREK ALAM
There has been a lot of talk about the climate in the news lately, and there have been protests across the world; however, without large changes across the globe, I don’t think there will be much headway. People have been organizing climate strikes around the world, and they have brought a lot of attention to the climate change issue. People have been using less plastic and have found better ways to reuse items before throwing them away.
People have posted videos of them changing things they would normally throw away into useful items, and life-hack videos are all over the internet.
These are all great ways for people to alter the amount of waste they produce, and I think most of them are really good ideas. That being said, there are only a few people that actually use these hacks to reduce waste. There will always be people that will do everything in their power to try and lessen the impact their waste has on the environment, but individuals shouldn’t be the only ones trying to help the environment.
Large corporations need to realize that they have a much larger impact on the environment that individuals, and they need to be trying to help the environment more.
For example, the Nestle conglomerate has been pumping a lot of groundwater from Michigan, and it’s hurting the environment. Residents in Osceola Township have noticed that water levels are continuing to decrease the longer that Nestle drains water from below ground. The wellhead Nestle is pumping water from runs directly into two Muskegon river tributaries. Trout populations in the area are beginning to decrease.
This affects more than just people. Food webs and food chains are being impacted, and that is going to change the entire environment. Animals feed on other animals, and when one animal population becomes exceedingly small, other animals suffer as a consequence. There are thousands of populations being affected by large corporations, and there’s little that individuals can do by themselves. I’m not saying that people should stop their efforts to help the environment; I’m saying that their efforts are small and pale in comparison to what larger groups could be doing.
Besides corporations harming the environment by drawing resources to make money, companies are harming the environment by what they leave behind.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 700,000 tons of fishing gear is left in the ocean every year. We’ve all heard that fishing nets in the ocean are much more harmful than using plastic straws and cups. While people mainly think of pollution as plastic bottles and containers floating on the surface of water, there is plastic that sinks in the ocean and causes harm too.
There are pieces of plastic that sink in bodies of water and hurt organisms like crustaceans and corals. In the past, there has been talk about the Great Coral Reef off the coast of Australia dying, and talk of this tragedy has not been talked about in the media lately. Coral is one of the biggest types of organisms on the ocean floor, and it is a very large portion of the ocean’s ecosystem.
There are many ways that people are trying to help the ecosystem. From reusable straws to eating less meat, people are doing what they can to keep the world from collapsing upon itself. Personally, I try to buy products that seem to be made using more reusable material than others, but there’s only so much that I can do by myself. Corporations need to be more cognizant of what they’re doing to the environment, and they need to think about what they’re doing to the planet. We all live here. We all need to save our home.