A Greener Solution

Environmental issues and the proposed plans for the future


Art by Arati Periyannan.

Tyler Wang and Abhinav Ranganathan

Planet Earth is dying. Yet humans have continued to ignore this problem, choosing to instead treat our planet like a wastebasket. Finally, though, it seems that our world leaders are taking initiative to help secure our future.

The OnePlanet Summit, held on Jan. 12, was a meeting of world leaders representing over 50 nations. This summit was put in place to address the gravity of climate change and to create a plan against it. By implementing this plan, we will be pushing the already crowded human population into a smaller area as the plan proposes we treat 30% of our world as natural parks.

“The human population is ever growing so if it’s going to displace people or interfere with food production, that is not going to be very popular,” Palo Alto High School AP Environmental Science teacher Nicole Loomis said. “You also just need to educate people on the value of conservation.” 

The true problem with global warming lies in inaction at the legislative level. Each town, city or county might have its own recycling program or waste-free initiatives.While these programs shed light on some waste management issues, the blame for our rising temperatures lies with our government’s unwillingness to fight the fossil fuel industry. 

“Our goal is making sure that we have adequate natural resources and preserve our lands, both for tourism, and also for the well being of our species,” Paly junior Jimmy Miller said. “We need to regulate more companies that are acting globally to take resources out of ours.” 

Another key factor in the mitigation of global warming is our waste management. While we may think we are “going green,” in truth we are just shifting the waste over to another part of the world where waste is dumped on beaches and streets.

 “The current system of waste management has been unsustainable for a long time already,” senior and leader of the Environmental Justice Club Emile Difede said. “As it stands now, recycling is shipped away… In the US, it [recycling] just becomes another country’s trash. This is a form of environmental injustice.” 

Our strategy to keep one side of the world clean is to degrade the other. We cannot allow this to happen. Just like everything else, our bad habits catch up to us. 

According to the State of Global Air, air pollution was the fifth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide. Air pollution, as we know, is caused by reckless burning of fossil fuels and general environmental neglect. According to the climate and clean air coalition, Beijing, the city with some of the worst air pollution in the world, has reduced its fine particulate pollution by 35% in the past 20 years alone, finally meeting the national standards. While it may have seemed like a stretch at the time, by practicing environmental consciousness at both the individual and citywide levels, Beijing was able to not only save the environment but save lives. 

Pollution is not just a danger to us in the future. In fact, it poses a very real threat to many people around today’s world. “People who live in regions that are socially and economically disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by the dangers of waste and pollution,” Difede said, highlighting the poor design of our waste-management system. There are many possible solutions to this problem but they all require the need for manpower and cooperation. “Community service is essential,” Difede said. “ We must all do our part to protect our planet.”