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Ginny Hendrixson

Charter School of Wilmington, 10th grade

Vincent Van Gogh once said that “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” It goes without saying that nature is a beautiful phenomena, made up of countless ecosystems and communities brought together in a delicate balance. To be able to look outside every day and behold the natural world from my window is such a gift, a gift that can be taken for granted. Personally, so much of my life has been spent outdoors, from childhood days spent on the playground to Saturday-morning cross country meets. I would not be who I am today without experiencing such connection with nature, and I’m so grateful to be given the opportunity to share that love and appreciation.

My love for the outdoors can be traced back to the earliest days of my childhood. Most weekends would be spent in attendance at my brother’s cross country meets which, fortunately for me, took place in breathtaking state parks. I can recall traversing every boulder and attempting to skip stones across the serene waters of a pond, never wanting to leave. My appreciation for the environment grew as I did, and it’s this appreciation that led me to join the Eco Alliance Club at my school. I believe that there’s no better way to spend your free time than in service to Mother Earth, and that’s why I can say that some of the most enjoyable experiences of my life have been clearing out invasive species from or picking up litter in the parks near my house. In my opinion, this is the least I can do for an Earth that has given me such a beautiful place to live, and I know that without doing service activities like these, there won’t be such a beautiful Earth to live on for long.

It’s an undeniable fact that the way the human race is treating the Earth is causing it to degrade at a faster rate than it ever has before. According to The Guardian, “Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gasses and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found.” Hearing this research is devastating, but also serves as a motivator to turn the state of the world around. Unfortunately, there are so many people that remain in the dark on this topic, both unwillingly and willingly. On the bright side, there are programs in place to spread awareness on this topic, the Youth Environmental Summit being one of them. While I have always been an active advocate for positive environmental change, my eyes were opened on topics that I was not knowledgeable about before attending this event. The first step of inciting change is being aware of what it is that needs changing, and the Youth Environmental Summit helped to give me that awareness. While I have already taken every opportunity I can to improve the natural environment, a better understanding of what needs to be done serves as a powerful motivator to continue the fight for a healthier world.

To be able to have grown up in a place where I can witness the beauty of nature every day is such a blessing, and I believe that it’s something that everyone should get to experience. The future of our world starts with the actions we take right now, which is why every opportunity to improve the environmental state of the world should be taken. Personally, I hope to continue the work of the Eco Alliance Club at the Charter School of Wilmington by becoming a leader next year. The work this club does on a daily basis is so special. From used clothing sales, to park clean-ups, to advocating for a better recycling system in our school, my fellow club members and I do our best to keep in mind a pertinent message from Pope John II, who said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.” I find it wise to keep in mind that complacency is the enemy of progress, and I try to follow this mindset with everything I do. For example, something as easy and simple as picking up a piece of plastic from the street is still a form of progress, and no good deed is too small.

To conclude, the environment is the greatest gift ever given to humankind, and we need to be careful not to squander it. I’ve lived my entire life with a love and respect for nature, and hope that I can continue to share this appreciation through my words and actions. I know that my place in the world is transient, which is why I want future generations to be able to enjoy the environment as much as I do. In order for this to happen, I’ve participated in volunteer opportunities, joined clubs, and collaborated with like-minded people who are in pursuit of the same goal. There is only one Earth, and it is only by treating it with respect, dignity, and kindness that it will continue to exist and thrive.

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