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Mark's Meanderings. by Mark Stoller

There is no PLANet B

Ava Stoller is a guest columnist this month. Ava Stoller is Mark Stollerís daughter and an accomplished violinist who is passionate about conservation and preserving our planet. She is on the Student Board Representatives for District 49, dual enrolled in college and high school, and a budding journalist.


Imagine a plush forest ó the trees reaching up into the sky, you walk between the bushes and wildflowers on the ground and the sunlight peeks through the branches of the trees above you.Forests, all over the world, are a source of many products in our everyday lives, but it also houses many ecosystems that depend on the trees for habitats or a food source. If we donít care for the forest but still use it for our resources, then it will no longer be able to support both humans and the ecosystems depending on it.This is true for much of the Earth; we are developing rural America into cities. As a result, we are taking away natural habitat for animals and polluting our environment.This month, we recognize Earth Day ó it reminds us of our responsibility to care for the Earth.From Earthday.org, ìEarth Day was started in 1970 by the U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, and would provide a voice to the emerging environmental consciousness, and channel the energy of the anti-war protest movement to put environmental concerns on the front page.î This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and this month we should be thinking about how we are impacting the Earth.Conservation aims to prevent the wasteful use of resources, and is not just about less plastic and climate change; itís about preserving life as well.A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London indicated that factors such as the swelling numbers of humans, climate change and spreading agriculture, which is destroying natural habitats, have caused global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles to decline by 58 percent since 1970, and average annual decreases have now reached 2 percent, with no sign that this rate will slow down.What conservation means to me is not just global warming or climate change, it is the thought that we are destroying our planet with misuse and carelessness. It is our duty to care for and try to undo the damage we have done.I once saw a video on Facebook of two people pulling straws out of a sea turtle’s nose and it broke my heart. A straw ó an item that seems small and unimportant, yet was killing a sea turtle. Every time I am at a restaurant I choose to use my silicone straw instead of the plastic ones they put out.There are many options for a plastic straw substitute, such as steel, glass, bamboo, silicone or paper. A common misconception of bamboo is that it is a tree ó it is actually the world’s fastest growing plant. ìReduce, reuse and recycleî is an excellent example of how you can help positively impact the Earth.To reduce the amount of plastics you utilizeó purchase a glass hand soap dispenser; therefore, reducing the plastic waste of hand soap containers.When shopping, consider reusable grocery bags instead of the plastic ones.Finally, I know that sometimes getting a recycling bin pickup at your house can be expensive but El Paso County and Teller County have recycling bins at 3255 Akers Drive and are free to use by residents of El Paso and Teller counties. You can get more information at communityservices.elpasoco.com.Have you heard the question, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound? The question is only about one tree ó what if it was about 100, or 1,000 trees? Do you think it would make a sound then? Would you hear the tree fall in the forest? By being a conservationist, I am the voice of the trees.

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