Survival Game

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


The first Earth Day was 48 years ago today, in 1970. I was eleven years old. I wrote this for a science project.

Submitted: April 22, 2018

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Submitted: April 22, 2018

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Survival Game

 

It’s our move.  Our generation is not the first to deal with pollution, with the “game” of survival, but we have the greatest opportunity to do something about it.  Something more than talk.

 

When we are born, the game begins.  Not a game in the sense of light-hearted competitive sports.  Not at all.  A game in the sense of life and death drama, a conflict in which you play the star.  You’re still in Act I, but have no idea what is in Act II.

 

In the pollution game, we are all on the home team—whether we know it or not—and we all win or all lose.

 

For we all live on one planet, Earth.

 

 

How Man Pollutes His World

 

For centuries, we have treated the land, sea, and sky as if they were limitless.  Our smokestacks have pumped billions of tons of industrial dust and harmful gases into the atmosphere.  We have polluted most of our rivers and lakes.  We’ve produced so much trash we are running out of places to dump it.

 

We have allowed pesticides to travel through the food chain to our dinner table.  We are absorbing mercury, lead, DDT, and strontium 90 into our bodies.

 

We have disrupted nature’s systems, the self-renewing cycles that automatically rejuvenate our land, water and air.  When we tamper with these systems, we threaten the basis of life itself.

 

The atmosphere, while shielding us from harmful radiation, admits life-giving light and heat.  It releases water as rain or snow to nourish plants and animals, and restores rivers and lakes.  Solar energy lifts water vapor back into the atmosphere from the 71% of the earth’s surface covered by water.

 

The Earth is like a giant spaceship, a huge sphere 8000 miles in diameter.  But we passengers use only a small layer at the surface.  Except for high-drifting spores and bacteria, life exists only from about five miles above sea level, down to the deepest ocean trench.  This twelve mile zone is called the biosphere.  On a model of the Earth the size of a golf ball, the biosphere would be thinner than a piece of paper.  Actually, an even smaller belt, less than two miles thick, contains 95% of life on Earth.

 

Much of the biosphere produces little.  In 90% of our water and 30% of our land, life is so scarce, they are considered biological deserts.  What remains must support 3.6 billion people.  If the population continues to grow at today’s rate, our spaceship will carry 6 billion people by the turn of the century.

 

Every second, four babies are born in the world.  Every 9 seconds, one is born in the United States.  Each American will consume 56 million gallons of water, 5 1/2 tons of meat, 9 tons of milk and cream, 5 1/2 tons of wheat, and 37,000 gallons of gasoline.

 

 

Major Pollution Causes

 

Stripping of vegetation for lumber, highways and home construction speeds soil erosion.

 

Mercury compounds from agriculture and industry have proven to be poisonous to man.

 

Long-lasting pesticides wash into streams, lakes, and oceans and eventually into us.

 

Oil spills foul beaches and kill fish, birds, and life at the bottom of the sea.

 

Jet exhaust fumes produce water vapor, adding to cloud cover.

 

Ruined rivers result from sewage, sediment and industrial wastes.

 

Chemical fertilizers increase crop yields, but spur growth of pond-clogging algae.

 

Urbanization brings people from rural areas to cities, straining utility services.

 

Trash dispersal:  Open dumps give way to modern incinerators, but still leave unburnable trash.

 

Motor vehicles:  Exhaust from over 100 million cars, trucks, and buses cause half of the pollution in the United States.

 

Dumping at sea of trash and sludge is increasing as landfill sites diminish.


© Copyright 2018 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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