This I Believe

Lindsay - Kansas City, Kansas
Entered on May 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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We all know about the environment, the three Rs, global warming, and habitat loss. But why should you care or change your habits? Ok, animals are going extinct because of poaching, and others are dying because someone was too lazy to recycle their plastic pop can holder. What are a few animals in the big picture? So the rainforests and the Boreal forest, our biggest carbon sinks, are being over logged. Like a few trees matter when there are thousands in cities worldwide. Right?

This, unfortunately, is the summary of most people’s opinions about our most precious resource: Nature. Landfills are now hard pressed to find sufficient room to expand, and gasoline prices are on the rise. Though alternative technologies are being looked into, they are not reaching the markets at affordable prices to be attractive for ordinary buyers.

As a child, I never gave recycling much thought. It was an obscure thing that my parents did on the side. But one hot, muggy Saturday afternoon, my dad took my brother and me to the recycling center, a small shack behind the local grocery store. There, I saw not millions of crushed cans, but people represented by the recovered waste. I saw compassion for the environment being displayed by individuals besides my parents. That mountain of soda pop cans drove home to me a principle that no 55 minute long, guest-speaker lecture could ever have: The environment is WORTH saving.

One young 6th grader decided to do her part in her town to help the global crises. She went around her community gathering a list of all the companies that were sending junk mail to her neighbors. She then called the companies and removed her neighbors from their lists, and recycled the mail she had collected. She did this in an effort to help stop the over logging of the Boreal Forest, where much of the paper for the mail was coming from. I believe that you don’t have to be a driven 6th grader to do your part. And helping the environment is as simple as tying your shoe. Some of the easiest ways are doing bulk dish and laundry loads once a week, shutting your computer when it is not in use, turning lights off in rooms you are not in, and lowering your thermostat two degrees in summer. These common sense practices also help lower your heating, water, and energy bills.

You don’t have to be a millionaire benefactor to help preserve what jewels are left to us in the wild. A reputable cause, a dash of willpower, and supporters are what drive people to conserve. However, even if you never join club or support world organizations, you, too, can be positive influence in deciding the fate of habitats and animals worldwide.