Take a scenic drive through your region and you’re sure to find cities and towns stuck with empty buildings on unused land. Buildings that may have once housed a fast-food franchise, a department store, or retail giant. Personal opinions aside regarding the business practices of a corporate giant like Walmart, what is a community to do with this land and building once the business that housed it goes under or leaves for more lucrative pastures? A city in Texas came up with the answer: turn it into a library McAllen, Texas decided to turn the space of an abandoned Walmart into public library. A beautiful, spacious library that has become a popular hot spot with a large registration list. Walmart leaving an area got a community to unite and create something truly beneficial. This is a shiny example that many communities can learn from.
Electronic waste is a serious issue. Old computers, music players, printers, are often discarded unsafely and taken to settle at landfills, where all those contaminants and other toxic substances eventually leak out. Most companies and towns offer e-waste disposal centers, but people still won’t go to the extra trouble. Governments and organizations are now looking to retrieve all this e-waste to salvage the thousands and thousands of tons of metal composing the products. There are billions of dollars worth of precious metals, like copper, gold, and silver, that can be taken from our landfills, greatly decreasing global mining, mineral extraction, and the environmental impacts they produce. Why has it taken so long to figure this out?
A previous Letter from the Editor from a month ago mentioned news of genetically modified mosquitoes being created as a form of species control. There has emerged protest in the Florida Keys regarding unleashing genetically modified mosquitoes into the area, which are intended to sterilize and lower the population of native mosquitoes carrying dengue fever.The news is fascinating because it tends to boggle the minds of many people wondering why anyone would want to tamper with the design of pests. Mosquitos are a huge problem in the Keys, causing thousands of cases of illness in the area every year. Residents are fearful of the uncertainties and unintended consequences, and want more testing. The laboratory says these mosquitoes carry no disease, do not bite, and can’t reproduce. Mutant mosquitoes would mean less pesticide usage, but it may also lead to a “Science-Run-Amok” scenario so many films and books warned us about. It’s not paranoid to believe there are too many bad things that can go wrong here.
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