Throughout the course of Math 33, I have been exposed to various articles, data maps, blog posts, etc. All of which showed differing view points and ideas on the problems at hand concerning our planet and the possible and logical ways to solve them. The topics that the class covered ranged widely, as well with the guest speakers the students had the opportunity of listening to and learning from, interested me deeply; but the topic that stood out to me the most was one that I already knew of: the overwhelming amount of waste that we as humans produce and what we do with it.
My knowledge of of the status of recycling and waste situation on Earth was at a very basic level when I began this class, which I believe a majority of people have at this point in time. I knew that we were not doing enough to ensure a safe and livable future for future generations and that there were even still people who believed that the actions humans are making with their waste have no effect on the planet. But when when I read the article Reign of Recycling by John Tierney in The New York Times, I realized that the problems we face with recycling are far more complex than what I imagined.
In Tierney’s article, he goes into detail of destroying recycling in its credibility of actually producing any good in our fight to save the planet. I had never heard anyone take this stand against recycling, a universal moral that all students are taught since first grade, and I was shocked. But my eyes were opened for the first time to look beyond all of the “going green” stigma and I saw that there is so much that I don’t know, and that a lot of people don’t know exactly how recycling is affecting our planet. The more I read, the more intrigued I became about what is really going on.
The Reign of Recycling contained a lot of data that completely changed the way that I thought about and how much I valued recycling in my everyday life by showing me what materials actually made a difference in the overall carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere. But overall, the most important message that I received from this article was that even the greatest scientists around the world still do not know and cannot decide on the best way to handle waste in order to create the smallest negative effect on the planet.
Some countries, cities, towns, have found plans that work for their environment, economy, and government; but in most places, the damage to the environment is only increasing. In my opinion, the absolute most effective way to truly make a difference as to where Earth is headed is to inform as many people as possible and break the stigma behind recycling by explaining that the current lifestyle that many people live affect the planet in countless ways that can either be stopped or altered without lowering their standard of living.
I believe that the best thing that we can do is to inform as many people as we can and create more innovative ideas and opinions on what the possible solutions are for this worldwide problem. This idea is what will resonate the most with me as this course ends, and I think it is such an important message that I will continue to spread throughout my college and post-graduation career.