The Roswell community has no shortage of nature-lovers and tree-huggers. There are endless prestigious organizations that spread environmental education and activism, such as the Roswell Garden Club and the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Oftentimes, the environmentally-conscious choice is not the most convenient, but there are numerous ways to get involved.
Transforming your home into an eco-paradise can be easier than one thinks. At the end of the day, some people do not have the space, financial standing, or freedom to live a 100% eco-friendly lifestyle. Baby steps are the key to modification. If you don’t have room for a compost bin, use eggshells, which are full of calcium and other nutrients, as a plant fertilizer. Reducing red meat intake substantially reduces an ecological footprint. Try to go zero waste with the help of reusable storage bags and water bottles. One of the easiest recommendations is a simple switch to Ecosia, an online search engine. This company plants a tree for about every 45 searches in heavily deforested areas around the world, such as in Indonesia and Amazonia, with the use of ad revenue. While it seems too good to be true, there is no catch: Ecosia is extremely transparent with its financial reports and afforestation projects.
Another way to care for the environment is to garden with plants native to Georgia, such as Stokes’ Asters, salvias, and honeysuckles. Growing plants help pollinators like bees (arguably the world’s most important animals) to pollinate a third of the Earth’s food supply. More so, plants are the basis of all habitats for animals; they are needed to encourage biodiversity in insects and bird species. The garden’s hospitality reaches to all pollinators, including bees, butterflies, beetles, birds, and moths. One cannot emphasize the importance of native plants enough. The most foolproof way for a habitat to remain sustainable is by restoring the area with its native plants. Georgia’s own flora needs the least maintenance, which often means less water and fertilization, and creates a sense of place. Georgia should be as proud of its elderberries as much as its peaches! Gardens do not necessarily have to be outdoors, especially when there is a shortage of space. Keeping houseplants and growing herbs indoors like sage and mint are nonetheless a great option.
Taking an environmental science class and partaking in a school’s environmental group are wonderful ways to spread awareness and to meet others with the same passions and concerns for the Earth. At Roswell High School, the Environmental Club leads the charge to reduce the school’s ecological footprint. For example, the Environmental Club (fondly nicknamed the “Green Hornets”) assists by sponsoring drives. Let it be for old towels, dead batteries, or plastic bags, these drives confront students and staff with the shameful reality of human wastefulness―trash does not disappear after the garbage truck drives away, after all. The Green Hornets expand interactions with other Roswell-founded organizations, such as the Small Dreams Foundation’s Fun Run Toward Sustainability to participate in the community. While on a smaller scale, many mornings are spent picking up litter on the campus.
While it may be easier for the human race to ignore the wreaking of havoc onto the environment, ultimately it will be humans who will suffer in the end. Fortunately, there is a solution: awareness and action, which are both provided by the Roswell community. Change is challenging, but possible as a passion for the Earth’s wellbeing perseveres in the hearts of Roswell citizens. All it takes is one small step in the right direction, even if that step is as minimal as switching a search engine.
Photo caption: Tomato ripening on the vine. For a hot summer in Roswell, this August harvest will not be the last. (photo credits: Emma Guglielmo)
Nowadays, a very recurring issue is the fact that we need to change our actions towards planet Earth urgently. Our planet is collapsing and we are currently living in times of several environmental crises all around the world, as the recently rainforest fires in Brazil.
In July 29, the 2019 Earth Overshoot Day happened, meaning that humans have already used all the planet’s ecological resource budget for the entire year. And the reason this date is so remarkable is because each year we are reaching the Overshoot Day earlier. The world is using up resources so fast and in an uncontrolled way that the planet’s ecosystems cannot regenerate them in time.
The most shocking part of all this is that many people still do not understand the reality in which we are experiencing. Several researches about each country’s consumption habits point out that if everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average United States citizen, it would be needed approximately four Earths to sustain everyone. And still, it does not look like people are worried about it.
As an exchange student from Brazil, it is very clear for me to see all the differences in people’s daily habits towards the planet and the obvious reason why the US would need more than one Earth.
People in Brazil are more used to go to places using public transport or riding a bike and I think this is an essential key to an ecological improvement. There are 276 million vehicles operating on roads and the US has a total of 327.2 million inhabitants, which means that In the US there is practically one car for every adult.
Besides that, the US produces 11 million tons of textile waste per year and over 90% of cotton is genetically modified using large quantities of water and chemicals. The solution to this problem is easy, but people insist on ignoring it. Buying in thrift stores should be encouraged since it is made in a more ecological and humane way and you are not supporting the unbridled production of the fashion industry. There is no creation of new clothes and the prices are more affordable. It should also be also considerate that less than 1% of all material is recycled.
Also, although I am not a vegetarian, I understand that reducing the consumption of meat and animal products is necessary. One third of water is used in the meat and dairy industry, 51% of greenhouse gases come from livestock and their by-products and 45% of the planet’s soil is used for livestock.
The United Nation organization revealed through research that we have only 12 years to reverse climate change problems before they become irreversible. People need to understand that we have no time anymore to be wasting our resources on unnecessary things and our habits need to change. The future of the next generations are in our hands and there are so many simple things in our daily attitudes that can help the world. We do not need to use straws, plastic bags, eat all this amount of meat everyday, ride by car instead of public transportation, etc.
The time to change our habits is now and we need to vote on people that have ecological plans to represent us and make the world a better place.
Living in Roswell we are constantly surrounded by all different aspects of nature, from the Chattahoochee river, to the hiking trails at the mill, and rolling hills at Leita Thompson park. The outdoor scene has so much to offer in Roswell, but are we taking care of it? Living in an outdoorsman’s dream city we must take steps to ensure that we can keep Roswell as beautiful as it can be, ensuring that we take action on environmental issues we see around our community.
There are several simple at home ways to make a positive impact on the local environment, the first being recycling. Many neighborhoods throughout the city offer recycling services once a week. And while participation is more than encouraged, stay educated on what can and can not be recycled. Items such as glass, plastics #1-7, paper and folded cardboard boxes are all accepted, where as waste such as: plastic bags, light bulbs, ceramics and styrofoam can not be recycled. The simple review of what you put into your recycling bin can impact the efficiency of recycling facilities, creating a greener, minimal waste environment. In addition to educating yourself about the ins and outs of recycling, another great way to get involved in positive environmental change is through planting your own garden. Not only does this provide delicious herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits but it also paves the way to a greener, more sustainable Roswell. Gardening can provide homes to numerous animals and insects that inhabit Roswell, as well as offer fresh ingredients for meals. This also helps to reduce your carbon footprint because your food no longer has to be shipped to the grocery store, creating both vehicular and non recyclable waste from the grocery bags, but rather can be picked straight from your backyard.
On a larger scale, Roswell is home to a staple river that runs throughout both Georgia and Florida. Because we are located toward the top of the river, all of our waste dumped into the river flows downstream, affecting each ecosystem it passes through. Not only does Rivers Alive, a local group, help to organize events to promote the health of our river, they also host annual clean up events in which the community can gather to help make a difference for this vital part of home. Be cautious of what you throw away, make sure that it is properly placed in a waste receptacle to ensure it isn’t thrown into the river, and further be aware of what harmful chemicals may enter your drains, for they may end up in our rivers, affecting the flora, fauna and wildlife that rely on the river as much as we do.
If you are a student looking to be involved in local environmental issues, many offer a student run environmental club. Being one of the founding members of my high school environmental clubs has allowed me as well as dozens of other students to further their knowledge on the local environment as well as actively participate in making both the school and the city a more eco-friendly place to work, learn and play.
Whether it’s planting a new type of flowers in your garden, picking up waste around the river or making sure you know what’s in your recycling bin get involved Roswell, lets go green!
Many people think that you can recycle boxes and all paper products. My proposal is to have a sticker that is given out to each member of the community telling them what is and isn’t allowed in the recycling bin to reduce the amount of thrown out recycling materials that are being thrown out. For example, when you order pizza and think to yourself that you could recycle it, you actually can’t due to the grease and oil that would gum up the machine that compresses the recycling. If people would throw out the box then they would save at least 2-3 pounds of landfill trash that could be recycled and re-purposed. Another way to help our community in helping the earth would be to invintivate restaurants to move towards reusable straws instead of plastic. They would save money and decrease the plastic accumulation of plastic around Roswell. They would put the straw in the same package as your utensils and then wash and sanitize it when they sanitize your other utensils. It’s an efficient and practical way to decrease the use of plastic straws in the Roswell community. Along with the restaurants changing out plastic straws for metal, restaurants should also use cardboard takeout boxes rather than foam ones. The foam ones take a very long time to “disintegrate” into the earth. By replacing them with cardboard it’s still going to keep your food fresh and safe as well as being a great form of recycling and helping give back to our earth. I hope that the Roswell community can come together and have ideas and innovations to make the Roswell community greener. We have already made smaller steps by implementing new recycling bins that have mechanical arms to do all the heavy lifting and take the pressure off of the workers. I hope that my ideas can help make Roswell a better and healthier community.