How You Can Help Keep Earth Healthy and Beautiful

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 19, 2015 | Go to article overview

How You Can Help Keep Earth Healthy and Beautiful


Going green means caring for the Earth -- the water, land and air.

On a small scale, it means recycling items that can be reused to limit energy use and reduce garbage. On a grand scale, it means putting laws in place to protect our surroundings from toxins and pollutants -- the whole chain starting with all forms of animal and human life, the waterways and seas, the land and surrounding air.

Green issues include global warming caused by greenhouse gases and their effect on all aspects of the environment, such as hazardous weather conditions and temperatures that challenge life at all levels.

Thomas Theis, director of the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago, adds human well-being, respect, fairness and cultural enrichment as outcomes of a green environment.

"All of these things rest upon a healthy and robust environment," Theis said. "Just as human companies and factories supply goods and services to us that we can purchase, the Earth's ecosystems supply goods and services that we need to survive -- things like breathable air, potable water, arable land, pollination services, a huge supply of energy, minerals, systems capable of decomposing and recycling our wastes, and even wonderful places with vast vistas that make us feel good just to look at them. And the best part is that these are all free, all we have to do is keep them healthy."

The idea of keeping our environment healthy goes back more than 100 years when state and national parks were set aside to restrict development from encroaching on significant natural monuments and to allow access for all to these magnificent expanses.

Private organizations, such as the Audubon Society and Sierra Club, developed popular support for America's unique bird populations and geological features, and President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Parks system. Fast forward to the 1960s when Rachel Carson's best-seller "Silent Spring" quickly spread the connection between crop-protecting chemicals and bird deaths, cancer-causing agents and toxin levels in crops. Resulting environmental laws brought rules and regulations for air and water quality.

The 17-year-old Institute for Environment Science and Policy combines four research areas to address green issues -- human-natural interactions, urban sustainability, environmental policy analysis and environmental manufacturing. …

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