We are part of the problem


Photo credit: Jaime Munoz

The start of a solution is understanding that the U.S. is part of the problem. Chico State students are part of the problem.

Anyone who has a social media account has that one friend who won’t stop posting pictures of the melting ice caps, sad Koala Bears with their habitats cut down and beach picture after beach picture with plastic and trash being washed up on shore.

Although these shares on Facebook and Twitter are not the most entertaining videos to watch, they do point out a sad but obvious reality. We are part of the problem. As a developed country with a culture of overconsumption, The U.S. and its residents put between 40,000 and 110,000 metric tons of plastic waste into the ocean each year, according to Northwestern. As many might know, plastic is not biodegradable and will stay in the ecosystem for 450 years, according to The Balance.

So, what is the solution?

The start of a solution is understanding that we are part of the problem. It’s hard to admit to ourselves but until we accept that reality we are continuing to have an ignorant mindset that is killing the planet.

Second, we need to support and participate in the actions that Chico State and the community is taking to reduce the amount of plastic that is disposed of. Using the recycling bins around campus, buying reusable metal water bottles, bringing reusable bags to the grocery store and participating in the Strawless Challenege are all surefire ways to reduce our plastic waste.

Yes, we have had these things that have been drilled into our brains since first grade but as life gets busy in college, it’s easy to get lazy about caring for the environment. Chico State is one of the greenest schools in the state and we need to be reflecting that day after day.

Although your friends might think you’re annoying for sharing environmental videos online, advocating for our community and our planet is not optional. We praise Chico State and the community for taking steps to keep our planet beautiful and now it’s time to follow in their footsteps.

Kendall George can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @kendallmgeorge.