Special guest author – in honor of Earth Day “week”

My daughter Kenney and I were talking the other day about writing and blogging. She said “I was lucky that I was a grownup because it meant that people cared what I thought”. She was pretty sure no one would read anything she wrote because she was just a teenager.

I told her that I thought the people who read my posts (thanks btw) are doing it neither because of who I am (most of you don’t know me personally) or because of my age. People read what I write because I’ve tried to say something interesting. But that the first step and the most important thing about getting people to read your writing was to actually write something.

So she asked if she wrote something, whether or not I’d put it up on my blog for her. I said I would. By the time I got home that evening she handed me her finished essay: a rant on why Earth Day matters. (She’s very concerned about the environment; it’s a frequent topic of conversation between us.)

Since she came through on her end, I’m coming through on mine.

Here’s a bit of what she wrote:

“Being in high school, I get exposed to millions of things everyday. Aside from the obvious of profanity, viruses, or just plain stupidity, you would be surprised to know that there are many students in high school out there that actually care about the world. One thing especially is the environment. My friends and I discuss the “going green” movement almost everyday at school and compare ways that we have so far done our part for the world. This fascination expands even further from the classroom. Many students belong to societies and clubs that are meant to help the environment. I do not belong to one of them, I would like to, but I don’t have much time. I am one of the millions of Americans who are extremely busy and can barely even think about the environment sometimes. However, in my free time, I enjoy going onto sites that are for this “green” movement. Such sites like www.thedailygreen.com, help surfers to make smart moves and gives them tips to make their carbon and environmental footprint justa little smaller. However, while on those sites I find many things to be annoying. These are, but are not limited to, the idea of public transportation, the clarity of their ideas, the idea of “green food”, and just our government in general. I may be a teenager, but that does not mean I can not rant like an adult, and I think that it is time that teenagers have somewhat of a say in this global issue.”

Click the link to read the full essay.

Being in high school, I get exposed to millions of things everyday. Aside from the obvious of profanity, viruses, or just plain stupidity, you would be surprised to know that there are many students in high school out there that actually care about the world. One thing especially is the environment. My friends and I discuss the “going green” movement almost everyday at school and compare ways that we have so far done our part for the world. This fascination expands even further from the classroom. Many students belong to societies and clubs that are meant to help the environment. I do not belong to one of them, I would like to, but I don’t have much time. I am one of the millions of Americans who are extremely busy and can barely even think about the environment sometimes. However, in my free time, I enjoy going onto sites that are for this “green” movement. Such sites like www.thedailygreen.com, help surfers to make smart moves and gives them tips to make their carbon and environmental footprint justa little smaller. However, while on those sites I find many things to be annoying. These are, but are not limited to, the idea of public transportation, the clarity of their ideas, the idea of “green food”, and just our government in general. I may be a teenager, but that does not mean I can not rant like an adult, and I think that it is time that teenagers have somewhat of a say in this global issue.

For starters, the issue of public transportation. Every energy saving website I have ever been on has told me to carpool, take the bus to school or ride my bike. It sounds easy enough, going for a bike ride or going on the bus, but you do not live in Phoenix. For one thing, it gets extremely hot here during the summer, and no one dares set foot outside, not even to walk or get the mail. I have never done it, but cycling in the desert must be torture if I ever heard of it. Not to mention the ISANE drivers on the road who use no turn signals and the creepy homeless men on the street, I would honestly rather pass. So why not just take the bus? Well for one thing, the bus is just plain scary. The people who cannot afford a car ride the bus, which basically means every homeless person on the street. Once again, I am just not very comfortable riding with people who could choose to bad things to me. Another thing is that contrary to popular belief, they are NOT air-conditioned. Which means that during the summer, it gets hot in the city, and even hotter on the bus! Enough said about me though, what about everyone else? Most people who work in Phoenix, actually do not live in phoenix. I know for a fact hat the principal of my school has a two hour commute from Tucson just to get to my school everyday! I do not think they have a bus going from Phoenix to Tucson everyday. So then the simple solution to this would be to move into the city, but that just is not possible. Homes in the city are much smaller than those in the suburbs, and they are about twice as expensive, running in the millions for a little run down shack! Even the economy is hurting the enviroment! Not only these reasons, but the same ones I stated are thigns keeping people from “going green” and using more energy efficient ways of transportation.

Another important issue I found is that whenever they tell us to make a change, there is another conflicting change that goes along with it. Let me explain in more detail. Say you read the newspaper everyday and that is your main source of news. So you happen to read an article saying that all those newspaper you read, are made from trees that give oxygen back into the environment, so you should switch over to reading the news online and stop using newspapers. Alrighty! So you go to your computer, cancel your subscription and read your online edition. Another article pops up saying that by keeping your computer on, you wasting electricity, which takes coal to burn, which releases tons of CO2 into the air! Now you are stuck, because you cannot read the newspaper, you cannot use the internet, and you cannot use your TV! What can you do? Thousands of these scenarios must play out daily, but nobody tells you which solution is the best! I can see both the positives and negatives of each choice the balance out pretty much equally. We want to help the environment, but nobody is being clear as to what to do.

Now I’ll admit, I love blueberries, but the other day when I went to Trader Joes, they did not have any! I was in despair, but after circling the fruit aisle more than 5 times, I cam to the conclusion that blueberries were simply not in season! Not in season? But they always have blueberries at safe way so they must be! Wrong, those are grown in green houses, not in that lush field they prominently display on the clever packaging. These days, environmentalists are telling us to green our diet and switch over to only natural foods that are grown organically and filled with a little tender lovin’ care. That is all fine and good, but how many people are really going to do that!? I know that I would be more than willing to green my diet, however most people in America do not want to. It is too much for them to live one day without a soda, candy, fast food, high processed food, or just that plain old nasty stuff they put on shelves and call food. I am not saying these things are not good. However, are they good for you and the environment? If most Americans looked into their refrigerators and pantries right now, the answer would probably overwhelmingly be no. However, that box just below that sugar frosted cereal blasts says that it is made from 100% organic ingredients! Yes, maybe, but those ingredients and what! If you look at the ingredient list, you’ll find that those ingredients are actually only 2% of the entire box. Meaning there may be farm fresh cheese, and a million chemical names you cannot even pronounce. Also when they say 100% organic cheese, do they mean farm fresh cheese, or cheese powder fresh from half way across the world! They say to pick and choose your battles, and there are just some that you absolutely cannot win. But nobody cares, as long as the food tastes good then nobody is complaining. Americans just are not willing to change their diet so they can “save a couple of trees”.

However, the one thing that bothers me the most, is that nobody who can actually make a substantial impact, is making one! One might think they are, because everyday you see a commercial on TV for some influencial government official saying “lets stop the climate change and save the earth!”. What are they really doing though? Nothing, zip, zilch, nada. The problem with the government is that they are too scared of what would happen to them if they made just a couple of changes to the earth. If they told car companies to stop producing polluting cars, then they would not be able to afford their own giant escalade they drive to work. If they told Coca-cola to take their products off the shelves, then they would not be able to afford all those fancy restaurant dinners. If they told tobacco companies to shut down, then they would not be able to afford those fine Cuban cigars! It is a disgrace to this country to know that our own government would rather take care of themselves then the rest of the country, or even the world! It is just a down right shame that Americans can indeed recognize this, but they do absolutely nothing! Say you wrote a letter to your congress man, then what would happen, your life would end! Absolutely not! More than likely either read it , or pass it on to someone who will. If everyone wrote a letter, then maybe a point will get across! If anything out of EVERYTHING I have said bugs me the most, it is that the government, or America, is not doing ANYTHING to stop climate change but make false promises and say “I will” and then do absolutely nothing!

There are plenty of things out there that certainly are eco friendly however. Here in Phoenix they are opening a light rail around Christmas time, which will actually be kept in very good condition, and they are opening a giant solar power plant here in the desert! I know that I am not an extremist like my biology teacher, but I do know there are some things that have to be done to stop climate change that are just not happening. Maybe in a couple years, or decades, or centuries, we might decide to live on a completely eco-friendly lifestyle, but right now, I think fro most people it is just out of the question. That does not mean we cannot still do our part. Instead of listening to somebody else telling you what do to, try making your own creative ways of saving the environment. Those reusable containers, were completely my idea and no website or newspaper article told me to do so. I think that if we all just make one little change, like turning off the water while we brush our teeth or if we take a faster shower, then we might be able to do something. For now, I’ll keep sitting here burning electricity and sending CO2 into the air, and hope that someday, we all can save the planet on a larger scale.

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

2 thoughts on “Special guest author – in honor of Earth Day “week””

  1. Ms. Knisely, I am grateful to you for reminding me that even in the humility of our humanity each of us has the power to do something to conserve and possibly enhance the world we inhabit.

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