We live on a wonderful planet called Earth. This planet, over billions of years, has changed to allow complex forms of life to develop and live fully. Due to the changes over time, again, billions of years, many complicated life forms exist today and there is a huge range of biodiversity on our planet. As time continues to press on, the planet continues to change.

Humans are one of the complicated life forms that are now able to survive due to the changes this planet has made. We are able to track past changes and even predict future changes that include multiple variables. Based on current predictions, our planet does not have much longer. And the biggest factor affecting that is humans. WE are the reason our planet is being destroyed and WE can fix it. WE can reverse the massively negative impact humans have had on the planet if we all work together to be AWARE of the effects of our actions.

I believe that companies are the biggest group of people who produce maximum waste. Not to mention, the impact that could be made if companies used environmentally friendly packaging could have an exponential effect on our planet. People, as individuals, are often inspired and influenced by these companies, and if these companies put the environment on their radars, individuals would too.

As a science teacher, I love to practice this and talk to my students about this. We do a unit where we talk about and actually compost things. We also pull it back in around Earth Day, and students have developed designs for a device that will help reduce waste that is in the ocean. We talk about the impact that a single human can have on our planet, and how we can reduce that impact. Then, we talk about how we can reduce that impact even when we are not at home, like when we are eating out or something. By talking to my students about this and utilizing these design projects in a real way, I am directly impacting the future of several companies that could then reduce their footprint on our planet.

Being more environmentally aware and conscious is not difficult. The first step is realizing that this problem is REAL and that YES we can fix it. There are simple and easy steps that have a compounding effect on our environment and companies need to see that. They truly are silent leaders in our world, impacting decisions individuals are making each and every day. We need our companies to make POSITIVE choices so that individuals are more likely to follow the same positive choices, and together, we can minimize the effect of humans on Earth.

Essay by: Karen Shelton
Arizona State University

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