This I Believe

Connie - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on October 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: environment

My Gift to the Earth

I believe in saving papers. Like brushing teeth or eating breakfast, saving papers is an indispensable task for my everyday life. Not only of its simplicity and benefits toward our environment, saving papers also makes you feel good about yourself.

When my family moved from China to Japan, my mom became an environmental architecture student. During her 3 year study, she brought home intriguing ideas to save energy for our house. Already a thrifty family, my dad and I were amazed by all the things we could do to save money and the environment. From solar panels to Toilet Lid Sink, a toilet that uses the water that you washed your hands with to flush the toilet, our house was filled with gadgets that saved energy. I was only 10 years old at that time, so I didn’t have any money to buy the high tech toilet or the huge solar panels. I figured I was capable of doing little things like writing on back of papers that had only been used on the front side. I found a paper box to store all the half-used papers and from there, the box began to be filled with papers day by day. Those papers were used for everything, from notes to homework, but mostly they were used for scratch paper. For example, when I needed to solve a long math problem, those papers came in handy. Later as I started to use computers, I put all those papers inside the paper tray so there was no need to buy a stack of printing papers.

As the paper pile became taller and taller, I became happier because it meant that I had saved all those piles of papers and maybe even a tree! It had also become a habit. Use, reuse, and recycle.

But when I moved again to United States, I noticed how a piece of paper was treated. Some students would write only a word until they notice that they had written the wrong thing and would then curl the paper up into a ball and throw it into the trashcan. They didn’t even take the effort to erase the word.

Nobody seemed to care. I also noticed that there wasn’t trashcans labeled “RECYCLE” in the classroom, which left me very frustrated. Sadly, I didn’t do anything to prevent it because of my small voice. The only thing I did was to continue this habit myself. Even today, I can find papers from 7th grade. It makes me happy to think that those papers were saved instead of becoming waste.

Not until recently has global awareness become a familiar thought in our heads. Titles like “Go Green” or “Stop Global Warming” is filled in magazines and newspapers we pick up. Saving papers is one of the easiest tasks that we can incorporate into our lives. I really hope that we can at least try it. And hopefully this essay will spread the word to the rest of the world.