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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Eco-friendliness should be encouraged, not enforced

According to Mass Save, Americans throw away 25 million plastic bottles every hour

It is a reasonable assumption to say that people prefer being inspired to do good over being forced to.

Punitive environmental regulations, such as coercing citizens to alter their normal behavior, for their own good or not, are not the smartest choice for promoting eco-friendly attitudes.

Perhaps it’s fitting then that scores of entrepreneurs are developing green businesses in new markets and have inspired others to follow suit — doing so of their own volition.

Following the trend of living in a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, two Bostonians, Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard, have created Higher Grounds, the world’s second largest rooftop farm. The pair have begun to sell the produce grown on the top of a landmark building in South Boston.

Due to the positive impact and attention generated by this farm, restaurants in the surrounding area flock to purchase ingredients grown at Higher Grounds.

It’s clear that the average civilian is conscious of the state of the environment, the potential perils of global warming, and the merits of going green.

A 2011 survey by Boston Consulting Group of 9,000 people suggested that there is a trend which favors the purchase of environmentally friendly goods over cheaper substitutes. The survey suggests, as numerous others have in the past decade, that the average individual has increased efforts to reduce his or her carbon footprint. Initiatives like having a farm on the top of a Boston building are one way that carbon monoxide can be removed from the air we breathe while producing more human-friendly oxygen.

Since the 1980s, there have been large steps taken to limit the environmental impact that people have on the planet. According to a 2011 report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US recycled and composted 87 million tons of refuse. It saved the same amount of energy consumed by 10 million homes or the annual emissions of 34 million cars.

Also, the recycling rate has gone from less than 10 percent to over 34 percent. However, as exciting as this trend is, the fact remains that the environment is still suffering as a result of our careless actions.
For example, according to the US Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997, about 6.4 million tons of plastic per year are dumped into the ocean. This plastic then breaks down into a series of smaller parts and eventually into single molecular chains that act like sponges for harmful chemicals that already exist in the ocean.
When these pieces of plastic are ingested by marine animals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) climb through the food web. This means that every bottle that is not recycled climbs through this web, and as a result, what we throw away without thinking can end up in the food we eat later.

Since the damage done to the environment is severe, many people want to end the problem immediately. Unfortunately, like most progressive societal changes, such as Civil Rights Movement, the process can be disturbingly slow.

Going green is the sensible choice; hence people should be encouraged — not enforced — to reap maximum benefits.