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1926 - Newhall Community Hospital, est. 1922, opens in larger, more modern hospital building at 6th & Spruce streets [story]


Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Feb 9, 2014

DianneErskineHellrigelThe world’s population at the turn of the century was over 6 billion people. By 2050, it is expected to top 9 billion. Our natural resources are being stretched to the maximum already, with some being nearly depleted. We are also seeing toxins being introduced into our landfills, our farmed fields and our water supply. What will happen in 36 years with more than 3 billion people added to the mix?

The city of Santa Clarita has taken some great steps in recycling and going green in many ways, such as using alternative-fuel vehicles, placing bike racks on buses, purchasing local wild lands to protect them, and passing resolutions to protect local wilderness areas.

This is a great beginning for us. But we, the people, have to do more.

tossit1We, as a responsible, able body, need to consider saving clean air, water, fuel sources and other natural resources for future generations. After all, we save for college; why not save air and water, too?

It’s time to rethink recycling. Although saving bottles and cans is something easy we can all do, it is not enough. Many of the things we throw away every day contain some of the most dangerous chemicals. Once these items are in a landfill, it is possible for them to leak beneath the bottom barrier and pollute our groundwater. That means it can contaminate everything in the soil, including our food crops and our tap water.

Batteries, electronics and CFL light bulbs are among the hazardous items being sent to the local landfill. College of the Canyons has a hazardous waste collection, which is an easy and healthier alternative.

According to the Go Green Initiative, within one year, Go Green schools kept the following out of our nation’s landfills:

* Nearly 3 million pounds of paper

* More than 223,000 pounds of cardboard

* 30,000 pounds of aluminum

* 58,000 pounds of plastic beverage containers

* 1971 cellular phones

* 10,906 printer cartridges

* More than 222,000 pounds of mixed recyclables

* 21,000 pounds of food waste

tossit2According to the executive director of Go Green, “It’s so inspiring to see this level of voluntary stewardship.” The above figures were from a mere handful of participating schools nationwide. Imagine what we could do if all of our schools were to participate in this program.

To give you an idea of the advantages of recycling, a ton of recycled paper saves us 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil and the equivalent of electrical power used in an average home for 6 months. In addition, we save space in landfills by recycling.

When a landfill is full, the taxpayers pay for a new one. The longer we use a landfill, the lower your taxes could be.

greensantaclaritaFor every glass bottle you recycle, you save four hours of electricity. For every aluminum can, you save six hours of electricity. With numbers like that, every person can make a direct impact on our environment. It’s up to you to make that impact positive or negative.

The bottom line is that everything we do can change our environment, our standard of living and our future. Everything we throw away has a consequence. It is in our hands to preserve everything we still have for our posterity.

Our goal should be to preserve our air, water and soil, for without it, we, as a people, cannot survive.

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Pflag Scv Pflag Scv says:

    Dianne thanks for the great reminders! Good article for everyone to read.

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