J500 Media and the Environment

But my shoes are 9.5 by shemme

When I first started recycling I was thrilled to discover that nearly everything came in a container that had the little recycle symbol with a number on the bottom. I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’m going to recycle everything!” and so I rinsed and sorted all my recyclables and eagerly awaited the day that I would have enough to justify a trip to one of the drop sites around town.

When the day finally came, I went online and did a quick search to find out where I should take my recyclables and where I could get cash for my aluminum and tin cans. As I read through the list again and again searching for #5 and #7 plastics, my heart sank. Nobody in town accepted these plastics. How could this be? Each container had the recycle symbol on it – doesn’t that mean it’s recyclable? My misconceptions about recycling became very apparent to me that day and I wondered how many others had experienced this same disappointment.

Armed with more information, a weary eye to increasing consumerism and a skyrocketing world population, I thought I was savvier than the average environista. I now know to expect this to be proven untrue, sometimes on a daily basis. The day I took the Ecological Footprint Quiz was no exception.

It turns out that despite recycling, riding my bike to work, blowing paychecks on energy efficient light bulbs, loving organic milk, and occasionally digging through my roommates trash to pick out the bottles and cans it would still take 3.6 planets to sustain us if everyone lived like me. Can this be true? I’m willing to admit that I might not be as green as I would like to be, but it’s hard to believe that my ecological footprint is the equivalent of 16 acres. But then again, I do rent a room in one of the least efficient homes in Lawrence, have a penchant for meat products, and spend many hours in airplanes satisfying my lust for travel.

Perhaps this is my one and only time to feel proud about being “below average.” It’s easy to pat myself on the back for recycling and making small eco-friendly changes. However, it turns out these are only Band-Aids on a much bigger problem.

(Foot)note of the day: David Beckham has the biggest carbon footprint in the world

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