Does the Earth Need to Breathe?

By: Hamed Alfarsi

Does the earth need to breathe? Are we producing too much carbon dioxide? What does it take to have a cleaner air? I have always wondered about these questions, and I wish I could do something about it. I wish? Is that an answer? It is not! Many of us want to see a change, but the difficult part is us being willing to be part of the change. My ideas about if the earth needs to breathe has changed during this pandemic (COVID-19). At first, I thought the earth had plenty of air that could be polluted more before it reaches the maximum amount of pollution. However, that perspective changed, and I realized that we do not need the earth to reach the maximum amount of pollution. I know that many of you disagree with my perspective about polluting the earth to its maximum level, but please do not judge me before reading about my reasons. In my mind, I thought about the perspective that we are polluting the earth in some ways to provide and distribute food for everyone. I thought that we needed to have more of everything, yes everything- computers, medicines, cell phones, internet, games, cars, machines and books. All of these for a good reason, I thought we need a better education system, better health care, and a better quality of life. Now, do not get me wrong here, I still want that. However, I think we already have plenty of these, but we are not using them the right way. A good amount of the food we produce goes to waste, many of our products goes to waste, and most of them are not recyclable. I define us as the polluters of the air and earth. I know that is too general to say, but I am mainly thinking about people like me, who are consuming more than they need and they are producing so much waste. How do I know that we are producing much more than what we need? How do I know the earth needs to breathe? It is simple and not simple, simple to say that during this pandemic, we are producing less, yet we are surviving. Crowded cities like London and New Delhi have cleaner skies. CNN’s report “Air pollution falls by unprecedented levels in major global cities during coronavirus lockdowns” includes a picture that shows how much cleaner the air is after reduced human activity.

Now, let’s dig more into the available solutions around us that we can use to reduce our pollution. Our energy sources currently rely on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are known for producing greenhouse emissions. However, this could be reduced by generating energy through renewable sources. Wind turbines and solar energy are a good fit to reduce the greenhouse emissions, but they are limited, and that is why I think it is important to still use some fossil fuels to generate energy. It is important, especially for hospitals and other critical places, to have a backup source of energy, and that could be provided by fossil fuels. Another solution is to tax carbon emissions to help reduce carbon emissions. Shifting to food waste, according to the US department of Agriculture food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This amount of food waste corresponds to 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food. Much of the food wasted, especially fruits and vegetables, is due to minor imperfections in its appearance. This could be eliminated if people thought about the nutrition inside of that apple instead of its imperfect shape. Finally, my ultimate goal is to leave the earth in a better shape than when I lived. Here are some pictures I took to show the beauty of earth.

Edited for spelling, grammar, and clarity

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