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Are we killing our planet? If we pollute, litter or dirty the earth, are we killing our planet?

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wannam eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Technically, the planet can't die.  It is a basically a rock.  We are killing ourselves really.  When we harm the environment, we don't hurt the Earth but we do hurt our ability to live on it.  We're changing the Earth and, in some ways, making it uninhabitable.  The Earth can be destroyed, but it is unlikely that the Earth will be destroyed by something that humans do.  If we keep going the way we are, we will destroy our own ability to survive on this planet.  Thus, we are killing ourselves and not our planet.

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pacorz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Since the original post specifically mentioned litter, I'd like to point out that, while litter is ugly to look at, picking it up and putting it in a landfill accomplishes nothing for the environment. In fact, it actually has a small negative environmental impact because you use trash bags and you burn fuel to gather the litter and transport it to the landfill. The only way to deal with litter correctly from an environmental sense (other than not doing it) is to sort all the litter and make sure it gets recycled.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I love the posts in this discussion. I have to agree that we are not "killing" our planet. Earth proves to be far stronger than we are. It is essentially the prime example of survival of the fittest. We, as humans, will succumb to the earth far before we force it to succumb to us (what a great thought enotechris!).

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enotechris eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Long before we succeed in killing the planet the planet will dispassionately kill us.  Earth has been around a long time, long before humankind existed, and will probably exist long after we're gone.  The Geologic record is full species that have come and gone, and humans are no exception (much as though we would like to think we are.)


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Tina Bishop, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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bookM.A. from Southern Utah University

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I like what post 4 has to say about the fact that we're changing the planet and those creatures that survive with the changes will remain and the other will die off. People, animals and the planet change with the changes; but does that mean that we want to live with those changes?  And who determines the consequences of people's choices? I know I can't determine consequences; if I could, I'd decide that everything that we put in the ground disappears and and doesn't change the planet. Maybe it's the fact that we just change the wording to fit what we think we know or how we want to manipulate others to behave.  If someone says, "We're killing the planet," that evokes fear or concern. This motivates me to recycle, for sure. On the other hand, if someone says, "We're changing the planet," that isn't as intimidating and provides some hope.  I will still recycle, but I won't be in as much fear to exist.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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No, we're not killing our planet.  What we are doing is changing it.  It's not like global warming is going to make it unable to support life.  What it will do is to seriously change what kind of life can exist in which places and to seriously change humans' ways of life.  It's not that we won't be able to live, it's that some crops won't grow where they used to and some cities will flood.  We're not killing the planet, just making it less useful for us.

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stolperia eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This question needs to be moved to a Discussion Forum, where I'm sure it will generate a healthy debate. The only question is whether it is more appropriately placed under Science or Social Sciences.

In many ways, humanity is threatening the continued existence of planeet Earth. Pollution is fouling the air we breathe and the water we need in order to live. Climate changes and global warming are real and are going to have increasingly dramatic impacts on the lifestyles of peoples in areas affected by rising water, lengthening periods of drought, and more severe extremes in weather disturbances. An exploding global population is straining resources to produce food and to transport it from areas of production to areas of need.

As a Christian and an optimist, I am not ready to begin planning the Earth's funeral at this time. I pray that we will all wake up and join in the search for better ways to care for this precious world, to find alternatives that won't continue to consume resources that can't be replaced, and to develop attitudes and practices that will allow coming generations to have, if not the same world we have now, at least one that will support life with some degree of comfort and health.

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wanderista | Student

I am somewhat unsure about what post 3 said, but I do agree. A study was taken place on Venus, our sister planet. Scientists claim that;

Earth is going on a similar path to Venus.

Essentially, what the scientists say is that Venus was once similar to Earth; it most likely sustained life and had oceans and water, and there was a stable atmosphere. However, as the millions of years passed, the carbon stored within the crust of Venus escaped gradually, and this destroyed the atmosphere above. Venus then, over the years;

Changed hospitable, to inhospitable.

Venus is now a fiery ball of doom and destruction, as it has no stable atmosphere or o-zone layer protecting it from the sun's lethal radiation. Earth is going on a similar path. We are extracting the carbon from the ground, and pumping it into our atmosphere and o-zone layer.

I believe we are significantly altering the way in which the Earth operates, which in turn will affect the quality of our lives. We can delay or prevent these similar outcomes to Venus, by making sure that we treat our environment with the care and respect it so needs.

rukia684 | Student

we are killing our planet because we are the ones responsible and we should look after our planet. We should also look after our planet because We have got to make the connection between our own lifestyles and big, global problems like climate change we are just people, notjing special so you don't care about looking after our planet. The couldn't-care-less attitude puts our future in peril. Our generation and future generations cannot afford it - we are killing the planet. That is not an exaggeration, but a scientific fact.