Global climate change, CO2 emissions, arctic ice caps melting, sea levels rising. You’ve probably been hearing about these things in recent news. But what do they mean and how do they affect you?

Researchers just released a new report on global climate change that details changes that have already taken place in our world. This climate assessment is the culmination of many years of research by our country’s top climate scientists. Some key parts of the assessment include it highlighting the impacts that 1 degree Celsius of global warming have already had on our environment such as more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and diminishing arctic sea ice. The report also states what climate change impacts could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to 2 degrees Celsius. The report states that, “for instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with 2 degrees Celsius.” A change in sea level even as small as 10 cm could cause drastic events such as flooding and severe health risks to major populations. The report then goes on to illustrate the benefits our ecosystem would have by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and steps that need to be taken by our country, the world, and most importantly, us as individuals. But how do we take these dire steps and what can change about our lifestyle in order to combat this global catastrophe?

One thing you can do is as easy as learning the difference between what is recyclable and what isn’t. Here at Penn, in classrooms we have the recycling bin and a trash can. Knowing the difference between the two and what goes in each of them is a must.

According to a news article released by The Week, “Many Americans are what waste management experts call “apirational recyclers.” Wanting to do their part for the environment, they put anything and everything into recycling bins-bowling balls, used syringes, even used diapers.” (The Week, 11).

This is extremely detrimental to our environment and is actually making the recycling problem much worse. However, you can start being a part of the solution right here at Penn High School by learning what goes in the Recycling, and what doesn’t. To start off, plastics such as water bottles, milk cartons, clear plastic food containers, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, milk and juice cartons, steel and tin cans, paper, and egg cartons are all acceptable to go in as long as they are washed and cleaned before hand. Items that don’t go in the recycling bin and should thrown in the trash or properly disposed of include plastic bags, food and waste, polystyrene packaging, all types of batteries, clothing, glass or light bulbs, electronic items, building waste, and any other forms of trash. I hope we can make a positive change together here at Penn one bottle at a time.

By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to