By Tuong Nguyen

Recently, the environment has become a worldwide concern due to erratic changes in temperature frequently happening, which constantly affects weather patterns all over the world. 

Here’s a quick look at the current environmental issue. The Amazon, which is the world’s largest rainforest at roughly half the size of the US, burned at a record rate. Our so-called planet’s lung is now estimated to reduce to a dry savanna that emits CO2 rather than absorbing it (CNN source). As a result, fires raging in the Amazon are posing a threat to human health in general and specifically driving a spike in breathing problems, respiratory diseases, and hospitalizations among children in Brazil according to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation research institution. It can be said that our lives are also affected to some extent so, at any cost, we must not underestimate the severity of environmental issues! 

Another clear indicator which proves the importance of a green environment is the emotional speech of Greta Thunberg, a teenage Swedish climate activist at the United Nations summit. It is considered an urgent warning to address and tackle the climate crisis, sparking a climate movement toward big leaders from many countries and young generations from all over the world. Days after, other significant environmental events also took place in many big cities including Vancouver and even our city Edmonton! Once again, millions of young protestors joined the protests to demand an emergency action on climate illustrating the vital position of a clean environment and moreover stating their right to have a better future! 

Our school, CUE, also had a week promoting environmental public health by introducing us to an air quality assessment device placed at the front of the bookstore. CUE is active in protecting “the breath” of everyone to raise students’ awareness and also encourage us to save the greenness of our planet in general and CUE campus in particular. 

Actions speak louder than words, right? There are indeed various solutions to help mitigate the severity of environmental issues as well as preserve our resources. Students like us can start from small actions to make big changes. We can remember to bring reusable bags when shopping for food, clothes, or even books. Also, bringing a reusable cup to have drinks in at school is a good idea. This cuts down on litter thrown out every day. The good news is that there are even some stores that offer a discount for using reusable bags or cups. Utilizing recycled bags not only save the environment but also saves your budget! So…why not?

As you might know, using extra paper is considered detrimental to the environment. The best way to go green is by printing as little as necessary and taking notes electronically. For example, instead of writing your to-do list on paper, just try to replace it by using an app on your phone. If needed, you can print on both sides of the paper to better limit discarded wastes. Last but not least, changing your driving habits or just reducing the frequency of driving your vehicles can go a long way. Consider walking or leaving a bit earlier to catch a bus or train or any other means of public transportation. I’m sure the environment will thank you as you adopt these eco-friendly practices.

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