DR. WALLACE: I heard from a friend that you previously provided some tips on helping all of us to be kinder to our Mother Earth. She's the only planet we have (until maybe someday Mars?), so I know it's very important for each of us to do what we can to help sustain the Earth and our environment for future generations.
A lot of my classmates at school feel the same way. Can you provide me the suggestions from your column? I'm always interested in learning more, especially when it comes to helping the environment! I recycle and know quite a bit about that, but I am curious about what other suggestions you've provided. — Earth-Loving Teen, Portland, Oregon
EARTH-LOVING TEEN: I commend you on your interest in recycling and various ways we can all take steps in our daily lives to help the Earth. I received this list of suggestions from a kind teen reader who suggested I share them with readers of all ages. I felt these specific suggestions were indeed valuable to share with all who follow this column. Here you go!
— Don't accept plastic bags at the market. Instead, carry your own canvas tote bag made from organic cotton. The cotton is grown without pesticides and processed without toxic dyes, bleaches or unnecessary chemicals.
— Use a tote bag to carry your lunch to school each day instead of a paper bag.
— Pack your lunch sandwich in a small food container instead of a plastic bag.
— Instead of buying single servings of juice or yogurt, buy the larger containers and portion out your own servings. That extra packaging makes for more trash.
— Make sure you and your parents don't use chemicals on your lawn. When it rains, these poisons can wash from your yard into a waterway and ultimately into the ocean.
— Don't flush any household hazardous waste down the drain. It will eventually end up in the water supply.
— When you picnic near a lake, river or ocean, pick up all your trash. Any litter left behind will be swept into the water.
— Never purchase products made from endangered animals, such as ivory jewelry or figurines.
— Volunteer to work at your local zoo, aquarium or animal shelter.
— Only buy canned tuna and salmon that have "dolphin friendly" stamps on them. Some fishing companies use nets that catch dolphins along with the fish. When the dolphins become trapped in the nets, they drown.
— Persuade everyone you know not to buy real fur. Fake fur looks just as good and is also a lot cheaper and saves animals.
— Reuse notebook paper and computer paper. Reusing paper reduces our need for additional forest products. If all our newspaper was recycled, the United States could save about 250 million trees each year!
— Plant a tree. Or "adopt" a tree that needs a friend, and plant it in your yard. You can water it, protect it and watch it flourish.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: geralt at Pixabay