Living in a small town in Colorado we are landlocked. This means we have no coastline and are almost completely surrounded by land, but what makes us different is the Arkansas River running through our town. The Arkansas River supports our town by providing drinking water, irrigating our town's crops, and supports animal life around the river and in the river. “Furthermore, its drainage discharge covers 161,000 square miles,” which helps life around the river too.
Also, the river brings in people to come rafting which brings positive attention to our town. If our river gets ruined by pollution, our small town will suffer the consequences. It would not only be our town it affects but all surrounding towns and states that the Arkansas River passes through.
In our International Relations class, we were challenged to think globally and act locally. Our class chose the UN goal 14: Life below water. We chose to focus on the reduction of marine pollution. Along with doing our own research, to think globally our class decided to go to the Denver Aquarium to learn more about the animals not only in our river but the animals around the world and in the ocean. We were able to see all the different types of sea life and we were able to learn about their population and learn about the different environments they live in. Seeing all the different life, it opened our minds to how all of these animals would be affected by pollution. Their population could diminish, their environments could be destroyed, and they could eventually be extinct all because of pollution.
To act locally our group decided to go down to our local riverwalk and pick up trash so it would not end up in our river and eventually in the ocean, “3% of global annual plastics waste - entered the ocean (through multiple outlets, including rivers);” (Plastic Pollution). During our time picking up trash, we learned a sense of community and responsibility for our waters. While there at one point we ended up cleaning styrofoam out of the river and that was the biggest eye-opener for our class knowing that it can harm our waters and the life around it.
Knowing that we could be doing something as easy as picking up trash off the ground, walking somewhere instead of driving, or just spreading awareness about how pollution is affecting our waters means that we can be a part of the change. The change of trying to help our waters be pollution-free and to help life under water, realizing that we are only just one small change that could make a world of difference.
Watch an accompanying video here.