This I Believe

Max - Orinda, California
Entered on September 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that the world is dying. And believe it’s the first time in human history when we can no longer say to ourselves, “This is for later generations.” We have reached our climax. Because of the inaction of our forefathers, the fate of the Earth lies in our hands. Generations have often said, “This is the time to act.” But now, we must act. It is no longer merely a charitable matter. If we do not reverse the processes that are occurring today, our Earth will most surely perish, and there will be no posterity left to guide it.

It shocks me how apathetic our society is about this critical issue. It is one of the few issues facing us today that is guaranteed to affect all people, and that is simply inescapable. In all the cities of the world, the sea level will rise twenty feet. Because of all of the world’s melting, the world maps will have to be redrawn, something that hasn’t been necessary in centuries. Greenland and Antarctica will both have melted completely. And yet most citizens think, “Isn’t it lucky I was born this generation, and not three hundred years from now, when all our wastefulness comes crashing down upon us?” These great tidal waves of change are not at all figurative, and there is nothing about them that makes them “distant.” The tables have turned, the winds have changed, the sun has set, the grass has withered and is dying. The Earth, our Earth, is dying. In fifty years, all of this will become a reality.

This I believe. We have ten years to alter our ways, to be efficient, to care about the fate of our world. As a great mind once said, “We did not inherit the Earth from our parents. We are borrowing it from our children.” If we have an inkling of respect for our society, we will not let it die out. But we must act. We cannot delay. There is no more room for procrastination. “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” – Winston Churchill, 1936. We have no other choice but to start. Not tomorrow, today. We must cut our emissions, buy fuel-efficient vehicles, turn down the thermostat a few degrees, recycle, replace incandescent lights with CFLs, tell Congress to push new fuel efficiency standards. We must compost, create, reuse, replant, restore, regrow, replenish, revive!