Opinion: Clean Earth = Bright Future

Over the next several weeks we will be featuring various opinion pieces written in Mr. Rutter’s 10th grade English classes.


When people ask you to imagine yourself in 10, 20, or even 30 years, what do you tell them? Do you say you’ll be at a prestigious college? Do you say you’ll be rich? Will you have your dream job? What about a beautiful wife or handsome husband? How about a few precious kids?

Maybe a few years ago that would’ve been my answer, but now, definitely not. Now I think about all the hard work I will have to put in to fight for what I view as a fundamental human right.

A clean earth with a future.

First, in the United States Declaration of Independence, it guarantees all the “ certain unalienable rights, that among these are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Let’s focus on that last one. The pursuit of happiness? How can someone argue it’s not our job as an individual, town, state, country, or even as everyone that is or ever will walk this earth combined, to clean up the tremendous mess we have accumulated on our planet?

I implore you to speak up in your schools, cities, and countries. Make a difference! If you see trash or plastic pick it up. If you have the choice to use reusable items, do it.”

Everyone deserves a clean earth to raise their children on. How can the nation’s youth pursue happiness on an earth that is slowly melting and engulfed in massive quantities of garbage?

Next, our world today is too easily comforted by the usage of single-use plastics. We waste and buy so much stuff resulting in large amounts of unnecessary waste. The world uses about half a million straws in one day, 335 million tons of plastic is produced in one year, only 23% of the one million plastic bottles purchased every minute are recycled, and 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging ends up in the ocean, the same as dumping one plastic filled garbage truck into the ocean every minute. Those numbers strike fear into me. All that plastic, so we can have our morning coffee from Starbucks, eat a yogurt on the go, or even avoid washing our dishes.

Finally, plastics shouldn’t be our only concern either. According to the article “11 Facts About Recycling” on DoSomething.org, “The average person generates over four pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.” Clearly, we throw away so much waste in one day. It is greedy and selfish of us to not even think about how much we consume. Everyone should pay attention to how much they throw away because it is time for a change in our society.

As a 16-year-old kid, I have big dreams and hopes for my future, but a bunch of garbage and plastic bumping up against me while I’m at the beach with my kids isn’t what I had in mind. Now, I know righting all our wrongs may take a while, but if we can all put aside our differences and avoid playing the blame game I believe it’s possible.

I implore you to speak up in your schools, cities, and countries. Make a difference! If you see trash or plastic pick it up. If you have the choice to use reusable items, do it. In America alone, we produce about 200 pounds of plastic waste a year. Contrary to what most people think one person can make a significant impact on our plastic and waste consumption.

We can imagine a cleaner and safer world for future generations. We can clean our notions about waste.