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Lifestyles

February 4, 2012

A Word of Advice: Little changes can make big difference for our earth

Every year, Earth becomes more and more polluted. The sad part is that not many people try to stop it because they may think "How would one person make a difference?"

If everyone had that attitude how would anything ever get solved?

Going green doesn't have to be made into a huge project, if you have the time to go green in an extreme way, then more power to you.

However, most of us are looking for easy solutions to help the environment.

One simple idea you can do every day that can help your environment is to recycle. At home, recycling your cans and bottles will help save plastic and aluminum. Another way could be how my family saves paper ... if we accidentally print out something we don't need, we save it as scrap paper, that way it's reused.

Something that absolutely appalls me is when people on the highway toss garbage out the window. For one, it's illegal, and two, you're making our environment dirty and ugly.

What I do to avoid even thinking about doing that is I keep a plastic bag in my car at all times _ that way you have a garbage can handy.

Something I learned while I was in elementary school is that waste you throw on the streets, such as the plastic rings that hold soda cans, can eventually end up in the ocean.

If that happens, dolphins or any type of fish can get stuck in them and can be seriously injured.

Birds sometimes get trapped in the six-pack holders and can no longer fly. Eventually they die due to malnutrition.

So please ... do not litter! It affects more than you think.

We might not think about this all the time, but instead of throwing everything away, you can help people by giving usable items away.

Less-fortunate people or creative people often find good use for that old electronic device, table, computer, etc. Craigslist is great for offering free items.

Take your hand-me-downs to a thrift shop or give them to your little sister or another relative. This will help someone else out without throwing away more material. I have worn plenty of cute outfits that my sister once rocked and can no longer fit into. Some people may think it's a huge deal to wear other people clothes, however I don't. As long as it's clean and looks good, I don't see the big deal.

Another thing you can do is switch your regular batteries to rechargeable. That way you don't throw away batteries _ all you have to do is charge them. But, if you must get rid of your batteries, recycle them.

Another simple switch that will save paper and/or plastic is instead of buying cups to drink your coffee in, buy a mug. That way you don't need to throw them out every time you use them.

You might not be too worried about a few extra things here and there. Think of it this way ... you and a few friends tossing a few pennies in a jar doesn't add up to much. Imagine though 300 million tossing those pennies into a jar. Remember ... the world you create today, is the world your children and their children and so on have to live in.

Melissa Flathmann, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a freshman at the State University College at Plattsburgh. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an email at melissa_flath@yahoo.com or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.

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