Where Do You Call Home?

Earth is where we live, however most people do not think in global terms when they think of home. Most people do not take the planet into consideration when it comes to the amount of waste their individual households produce, or where it goes, or what it does.

Consider this, what if all the waste your household produces went into your own backyard? If you think globally, it does. Factories that produce the goods we buy and the vehicles we drive send harmful particles in the air. This impacts the environment for all living things and the effects can be mild to severe and can cause permanent damage.

“Support green groups and green politicians. After all, if electricity was mostly from carbon free sources, then there’d be no need to worry so much about the thermostat every summer,” said Glendale Community College Associate Professor Michael Reed, “Wouldn’t that be cool? Pun intended.”

From the cars we drive, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the shoes we buy to the endless amounts of expendable items we consume, humans and our buying habits are a dream come true for capitalism and for those that profit from it, but they are a detriment to the planet, the place we should all think of as home.

Billions of dollars are spent in advertising in order to entice the masses to continue on their path of consumerism. Much less, however, is spent on educating the public on the frightening impact all of this unnecessary and harmful overproduction of products is having on our home.

“As summer approaches we need to be reduce of the amount of power we are using during peak hours,” City of Glendale Community Outreach Assistant Varsenik Avetisian said. “Also taking a shorter shower will help with water conservation. This is important in the long run. Minor adjustments make a big difference.”

By creating slaves to consumerism, corporate conglomerates are successful in convincing humans to keep buying — keep spending money on a new phone even if your current device still works. Buy a new car, even if the old one will last a lifetime through proper maintenance. Buy more, more, more. Bigger, better, newer.

But where does it all go once we’ve had our run with it? Have you ever noticed junk yards with cars piled high in it? Have you ever noticed how many charitable organizations make a profit by selling your old goods? Are you aware of how many people survive off of dumpster diving for their food? Do you care?

This is a very clear indication that we are a ‘throw away’ society. We constantly get rid of useful items and replace them with new ones. We are conditioned from birth to do so.

Now let’s talk about what that means for the planet. Where do we see things going from here? Do you think about what type of home our grandchildren will live in? Do you look beyond your block? Do you see the landfills and junkyards, and recycling centers out your bedroom window? No, you probably don’t, and when you fill your trash cans it’s out of sight, out of mind.

How does this contribute to global warming? Well, let’s start with the amount of trash trucks in our city on a daily basis. In Glendale alone, there is enough waste from households to keep trucks on the streets Monday through Friday. Our local landfill is located in beautiful Scholl Canyon which is in walking distance from many homes in an area considered to be upper middle class.

What a great way to disguise trash — surround it with homes upwards of half a million dollars. Consider the amount of pollution from the large trucks going to and from the landfill five days a week, all day long.

As the global population grows, so will the amount of waste created, and so will the need for more trucks, and more landfills, unless we consume less, reuse more and recycle. We must become a society of mindful humans that hold our planet in the highest regard and consider our individual actions and the impact they have on the environment.

“If students learn to make simple changes, like using reusable water bottles instead of buying water, the amount of recycling would be greatly reduced,” Southland Disposal Company Director of Environmental Affairs & Education Jennifer Gonzalez said. “Packing a lunch at home and not using paper plates or plastic utensils is also a great way to reduce. Our company picks up waste from GCC every day and takes it to the recycling center in East Los Angeles where it is sorted. We can see exactly where small changes would make a huge difference.”

Materialism is the road to pollution, waste is the byproduct. Excessive consumerism is a form of gluttony. Train yourself not to give in to the temptations of wanting things you really don’t need. Most of us are fortunate enough to have very few needs in order to sustain our lives. Educate yourself on how to life in keeping with the harmony of our home planet. Less chemical usage, fuel efficient cars in the driveway, less processed foods, an overall humble existence in all aspects of life.

“Support consumer product companies that have made substantial green pledges, such as Unilever,” said Reed. “Use the Good Guide for shopping. Also,try to eat less beef and pork, learn to make awesome salads.”

Respect for the planet is the same as having respect for one’s own backyard. It is essential to all future generations that we make changes and teach our children the same values. Everything is connected and it all matters in the long run. Do your part by making a conscious effort to decide to be a thinking human, a leader, not a follower down consumerism highway.