(302) 703-7086

Stacy Harrison

Newark High School

Web of Wonders Hope For a Healing Earth

            Ever worry, that even if everyone collectively made efforts to help save our environment, that we are still doomed, and the damage has already been done? What if at most we are merely slowing our doom? What if every country, government, business, community, and individual came together to combat climate change, but our efforts still weren’t enough? We still have billions of tons of chemicals, oil, microplastics, and other pollutants in our bodies, blood, and Earth. Maybe our climate would heal, but our Earth would remain tainted with pollutants, harming life on Earth.


            It is hard to have hope for our Earth, and our future, especially for the younger generations, who are witnessing the catastrophic effects of climate change before we are done developing, or can vote. Before we even have a chance to let our voices be heard legally. Our home and lives are melting, burning, and flooding in front of our eyes, before those very eyes see even a quarter of their lives.


            However, there is hope. Earth provides us with everything we need in order to heal ourselves, and the Earth itself. Princeton Engineers have created an aerogel from egg whites, which is capable of removing salt and microplastics from water. This is an affordable method with a 99% success rate. PVA plastic is a nontoxic, water soluble alternative to regular plastic. It biodegrades faster than typical plastic, and does not result in microplastics. A method called mycoremediation uses various mushrooms which can break down toxic chemicals. This method could be used to assist in clean up for the Ohio train derailment, which resulted in massive oil and chemical spills. The genus Rigidoporus and Garden Giant mushroom are 2 examples of fungi that can be used in this process, which are effective at breaking down toxic chemicals such as TCDD, furans, PCBs, PAHs, coliform, and E. coli bacteria. Many fungi are even capable of biosorption of heavy metals and lead. These all are examples of many innovative ways to improve our environment.


            The Earth’s materials are reusable. Worms eat our food scraps, and expel compost, which can be used to feed nutrients to plants, including the food we grow and eat, and leave the scraps for the worms and animals once again. Whatever isn’t consumed, will biodegrade naturally, feeding nutrients to the soil below. Water flows within a cycle, which naturally filters the water as it enters the ground. Much like cow manure, humans’ fecal matter can be composted and utilized to regrow the very food we defecated. When you plant crops, they often produce seeds, which can be replanted and multiply. You may start with a single plant, and if you nurture and take care of it, with time you can end with hundreds of plants; more food and resources. We are abundant with resources because nature is full of cycles, and even our trash, waste, or scraps can be used to create.


Many of nature’s resources can help us cleanse our environment, and more are being discovered and researched every day. There is hope for reducing pollutants in our ecosystem. Do not lose hope, progress is possible and starts with you. Every effort, every action taken toward improving our environment and reducing climate change is a demonstration to others, who will often follow. Every individual making a contribution adds up, and creates a large wave of change for a better world. More people than ever care about our environment and are taking action and being vocal, don’t give up now. We can do this.




Julia Schwarz (2022) Researchers cook up a new way to remove microplastics from water

Olalla Lopez (2021) Assessment of Toxicity and Biodegradability of Poly (vinyl alcohol) – Based Materials in Marine Water  James Mahan (2023) How Mushrooms can Clean up the Ohio Train Derailment!