by Alessandra Engels
I spent the early part of my childhood in a small rural Iowa town. When I was seven I was fortunate enough to move to the country near a small pond. I suddenly had my very own biological reservoir to explore and learn from. I spent countless hours observing the turtles, snakes, fish, snails and other critters who shared my home. Often I could be found just sitting along the bank, simply staring at the cool, calm water. I have always been in awe of how easily being near nature puts me at ease. I often wish I could return to those days when I was young and blissfully ignorant to the current crisis we are in. I feel we have treated the earth poorly for too many years and now we have to do what we can to make it right. Many others seemed to have reached the same conclusion, thus spawning the recent “green” movement. While being “green” is now a very popular term, it hasn’t been clearly defined. To me, being green is simply making environmentally friendly choices to preserve the earth for future generations.
It seems we have reached the point where we as a people need to choose between what’s convenient and what’s right for the planet. I think one of the main problems we have is that we’ve been living this way for decades. Old habits are hard to break. I have witnessed in my own home trash cans overflowing while the recycling boxes next to them sit empty, I drove my car five blocks to work this morning on a gorgeous day, and at this very moment I am working by the light of an incandescent bulb, while I know that fluorescent bulbs are more efficient and last much longer. Those are all simple things to change so why haven’t I done it yet? Saving the planet simply hasn’t been high on my priority list.
It is very easy to convince yourself that changing one light bulb will not help anything. We need to start looking at the big picture. Everyone needs to step up and do their part if we want to make a difference. It is heartbreaking to me to think that the places where I find myself most at peace with the world may someday be nothing more than a toxic dump. I will soon be moving out of my childhood home for good and I think it’s the perfect time for me to start doing my part and become green.
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