Curbside Recycling Fails at Being "Green"
Polar Bear Eating Fish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article was originally entitled "Curbside Recycling Is Not Important" and was written by a sixth grader as a class project — it's worth reading.
All of you may have read or heard that polar bear populations are plummeting because of global warming. You may have even seen a video that claims to show a polar bear dying from global warming. But according to the U.S. government and top polar bear scientists, this is not true. In fact, according to, “a 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain … polar bear populations ‘may now be near historic highs.’”
Also, Canadian biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor the director of wildlife research with the Arctic government of Nunavut said, “ Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct or even appear to be affected at present.” He’s backed up by Dennis Compayre who has studied polar bears for 30 years, “There are as many bears here [in Northern Canada] now as there were when I was a kid.”
In fact, there is no evidence that polar bears will disappear from global warming. Polar bears have lived through the medieval times, which were far warmer than any temperatures that global-warming people are worried about. A lady who studies animal history, Dr. Susan Crockford said, “There is no evidence to suggest that the polar or its food supply is in danger of disappearing entirely with increased Arctic warming, regardless of the dire fairy-tale scenarios predicted by computer models.” Many of you have also heard that curbside recycling reduces energy usage, conserves resources, and reduces pollution, but that is not true either.
It may seem logical that someday we will run out of natural resources such as fossil fuels, used to make plastic, trees to make paper, and other raw materials used to make products such as aluminum cans and that running out of such things would be horrific. But often things that seem logical aren’t. Every school kid knows that recycling paper saves trees, right? Wrong!
Making paper may actually cause more trees to be grown. A large reason for growing trees is so that people can make money. Just one paper company in the United States, called International Paper, owned over 1,000 square miles of forests. Roy E. Cordato, vice president for research and resident scholar at the John Locke Foundation, said in his paper “Don’t Recycle: Throw It Away,” “If we stopped using paper, there would be fewer trees planted. In the paper industry, 87% of the trees used are planted to produce paper. For every 13 trees 'saved' by recycling, 87 will never get planted. It is because of the demand for paper that the number of trees has been increasing in this country for the last 50 years.”
What he is saying is that supply meets demand. If people suddenly stopped using dairy products and eating beef, the population of cows would decrease because people raise cows to produce those products to sell. If people don’t buy the cow products, farmers don’t make the money and few people would want cows to raise anymore. We are not likely to run out of coal, natural gas, or oil either, which are all things that we could make plastic out of.
The U.S. Geological Survey, a U.S. Government agency, just tested a recently discovered oil field near Colorado called the Green River formation to find out how much oil was in it. They found out that the oil could provide 1,500 years worth of fuel for America using presently available drilling techniques. Also, this is just one oil field, new oil fields are discovered around the world every year. The Energy Information Agency, another U.S. Government agency, states that the U.S. coal supply can provide 250 years worth of coal for the United States (which can be made into oil).
The Potential Gas Committee, a group of experts who work in the natural-gas field, estimate that the United States has enough natural gas to satisfy America’s consumption for natural gas for 100 years, and more natural-gas fields are found every year. Also, the U.S. government has just announced that it is close to developing the technology that would allow them to tap into methane hydrate deposits.
These are natural-gas deposits that are locked in ice. The government estimates that methane hydrates will be able to supply 280-2,920 years of natural gas for America. Moreover, even in the distant future, if we were to run out of these fuels, there would surely be a replacement. Scientists have already found out how to make algae, a water plant, into oil. The scientists are just working on how to grow the algae fast enough.
By the time we run out of fossil fuels, they will know how to grow it fast enough. Another concern of people who are worried about running out of resources is a shortage of landfill space. But if all of the solid waste for the next thousand years were put into a single space, it would take up only 44 square miles of landfill space.