Bright Side

10 Bitter Truths About Ecology Each Citizen of Planet Earth Should Realize

Scientific breakthroughs appear faster than people can understand them, so there are a lot of myths around each scientific topic and ecology isn’t an exception to this rule. People trying to make their lives “cleaner” miss significant details or simply interpret certain opinions or beliefs wrong. Let’s look through some well-known facts about our environment and reveal some interesting details that are hiding behind them.

Bright Side thinks it’s not that difficult to respect the environment and support sustainable development if you understand the way some simple rules work.

10. We think: Giving up meat will reduce our carbon footprint.

We won’t argue the fact that meat production leaves a bigger carbon footprint than vegetable production. So vegetarianism has a positive ecological impact. But the production of some dairy products is also really harmful.

If you don’t eat meat, but still consume dairy, there’s almost no difference and, thus, no good impact. The best way to take care of our planet is to become a vegan. At least, you could try.

9. We think: Boiling water too often is harmful.

The size of the carbon footprint you leave depends not only on the amount of times you boil water, but also on the type of kettle you use. Electric kettles boil water faster, but the electricity they need produces almost 3 times more greenhouse gas for each unit of heat than burning gas in the home does. Thus, to take care of the environment, it’s better to use a stove-top kettle on a gas cooker.

8. We think: Using ecological detergents is safe.

Ecological detergents really contain biodegradable and low-toxic herbal ingredients that replace synthetic ones. But in fact, it’s mostly the boiling water that has a bad impact on climate change. If you find an ecological detergent that is effective at a low wash temperature setting, it’s great. In other cases, it’s better to choose a “less ecological” detergent, than to have to increase the temperature.

7. We think: Buying local products protects the environment.

The trucking industry is one of the factors that has a huge effect on the environment, that’s why it’s safer to buy local products than imported ones. The longer the travel distance, the worse it is on the environment.

Unfortunately, “local” doesn’t always mean “the best.” The quality and the ecological value of a product depend on the region. Thus, research has shown that flowers grown in faraway but sunny Kenya leave a smaller carbon footprint than those grown in Dutch greenhouses. Transport duration matters, but it’s not the only factor that you should consider.

6. We think: Reusable diapers help us save the planet.

City landfills are full of disposable diapers. Nevertheless, the Environment Agency claims that cloth diapers are more dangerous when it comes to global warming. Again, it’s about washing at high temperatures, drying, and ironing. It’s recommended to either choose disposable diapers or stop using dryers.

5. We think: Things are recycled into themselves.

We use something, then we throw it away, and this thing is utilized and recycled into the same item, right? Sounds simple, yet it’s impossible.

One single bottle doesn’t consist of just plastic. It also has a label, glue, paint, dyes, fillers, and bodily fluids. When this stuff gets melted down, it results in a gross product and gets turned into cheaper products like carpet or cheap napkins if we’re talking about paper recycling. All in all, we still need natural materials to create new products.

4. We think: Solar panels are a great idea to deal with an energy crisis.

Solar energy seems to be the most ecological energy since it’s natural and easily renewable. This is true but, the thing is, it has an awful impact on the fauna and flora that are living and growing near solar panel fields. Birds literally get burned alive mid-air by the intense glare from solar farms. And toxic chemicals contained in solar panels affect other animals and plants.

In addition, solar panel production is accompanied by huge carbon emissions that devalue further “eco-friendly” battery use.

3. We think: Global warming cancels out winter.

Some people think that if we’re still seeing severe winters, it means that global warming is just a myth. This misconception is caused by our insufficient knowledge about the climate. Most experts on the subject have dropped the phrase “global warming” and now refer to this issue as “climate change” so they don’t cause confusion.

If the temperature increases, it doesn’t mean you’re going to grow palm trees in your backyard soon. Increased ocean temperatures will mean increased evaporation, which will result in more water in the atmosphere that has to come down somewhere, as more snow. And the decreasing sea ice in the Arctic actually results in severe frosts.

2. We think: Biofuels will solve air pollution problems.

To be honest, vegetable fuel isn’t that safe for our environment. For example, growing soybeans or corn ruins the soil, pollutes the groundwater, and demands a huge amount of pesticides and energy during processing. These drawbacks devalue the fuel’s usefulness.

1. We think: Sustainable development will force us to lower our quality of life.

Paul Hawken, an American ecologist and activist, thinks this is not true. If we manage our planet’s resources wisely, our life will be safer and more prosperous. Sustainable development is actually able to increase the quality of life and become a powerful economic tool.

Conclusion: If we continue wasting the planet’s resources, we’ll face an ecological apocalypse.

We’ve all heard about this dull forecast and thanks to science fiction films, we can imagine it in detail. In reality, nature is adaptive and inventive. Even if all the species died, they’d probably recover or appear as a new form of life.

Nevertheless, we have to understand that when we speak about the environment, we speak about the quality of our lives first. If we continue polluting our world, it’ll become bleak, and we’ll have to struggle for health, fresh air, grass, and water. Of course, it wouldn’t be the end of humanity, but it wouldn’t be a world we’d like to live in.

Do you think each person should contribute to ecological sustainability?