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Afia Boahene

Newark High School, 9th grade

Recurrently, those who bear the brunt of terrible decisions are those who are not responsible for those decisions and lack the means to adjust to them. For example, in the book of Joshua, in the Holy Bible, a man named Achan stole gold from the kingdom of Jericho during Israel’s siege against the city, against God’s will. This incident caused God to punish all the Israelites until they caught and stoned Achan along with his family members, who did not have a hand in the thievery. In the case of our world now, an example of this situation is the unjustified repercussions suffered by people around the world in the form of natural disasters due to the malicious actions of people who, because of their selfish motives, are more than ready to defile the environment as well as injure and ruin the lives of others. The unmerited ramifications suffered by these people as a result of the actions of these vicious people is an example of environmental injustice. In my opinion, environmental justice would ensue when we can guarantee that people, especially the less fortunate and marginalized, who do not have the resources to defend themselves, are not punished wrongfully by Mother Nature because of the vicious actions of others.

An example of environmental injustice is the trauma that people suffered after Hurricane Eta devastated San Andres, Jamaica, Central America, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, The Bahamas, and the southeastern United States. Although I did not experience the hurricane myself, I have friends who lived through the hurricane. They described the experience as harrowing. One of them told me that during the days the hurricane lasted, she felt like the world was ending. She told me that she felt like God had deserted her. She confided in me that during that time, she pledged to God that she would not ask him for anything again if he saw her family through the hurricane. That pledge gave her hope as she hid in the topmost room of her two-story house with her two brothers and parents. After the hurricane was over, her family decided to move to the United States, a place far from the trauma they experienced. Even though I am happy that this decision of theirs led to us becoming best friends, I am angry that she and her family had to go through this. Someone might say that the hurricane would have happened with or without the contributions of global warming. Nevertheless, there is irrefutable evidence to prove that the intensity and frequency of hurricanes have increased notably since the onslaught of global warming.

I believe that no human being or family should ever have to suffer the consequences of another man’s deeds, especially when that man is a corporation or person who is at the top of the

food chain and refuses to acknowledge the impact of his harmful actions to the environment on

other people. I know that there is no conceivable way of preventing what happened to my friend and her family. But I can do my best so that no one has to encounter that. One way we, as teenagers, can do our part is by educating the public on how our actions contribute to the growing problems of global warming and environmental injustice through the various social media apps we can access. We can also organize recycling drives that can help support people who went through the same thing as my friend or worse and did not have access to helpful resources as my friend did.

Organizing these drives and taking measures like saving more energy at home and using environmentally friendly transportation would help us to help in the fight against global warming as well as help us to help those who have suffered from environmental injustice around the world.

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