I believe in appreciation. No, not “appreciation” as in economic growth or stock market increases. I mean real, wholehearted gratitude. Genuine appreciation seems to be in short supply these days, where store-bought material gifts often replace synonyms for “Thank You”. In my high-tech generation, quick emails, short wall-posts, or abbreviated text messages suffice to say thanks (that’s t-h-x in text language). The meaning of the message, the true appreciation in a message, is subdued by it’s own convenience. I can appreciate my mother’s intentions in forcing me to write thank-you notes to faraway grandparents and distant relatives after the great unwrapping spree of Christmas morning. This economically bummed-out holiday season may not as be as lucrative as those of my childhood, but tight budgets are the perfect reason to spend time on hand-written letters, knitted scarves, and baked goods this year. I believe that my family deserves my carefully crafted appreciation. But that appreciation shouldn’t stop after the holidays, and it shouldn’t end at human gratitude. I believe in appreciating the Earth and everything it provides. Through appreciation, we become more conscientious of our impact. Children need to be appreciated, to be listened to, and told they are important, in order to develop healthy lives. In the same way, the forests and oceans need appreciation and protection so they can sustain their natural cycles and the species they support. I believe appreciation can be translated into every recess of our lives because, at this point, human solidarity and the sustainability of the planet may depend on it.
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