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Jackson Luffman

Delmar Senior High School

The Wondrous Web of Nature

The earth contains an interconnected web of flora and fauna that coexists and brings balance and peace to the world and to nature. Just as a small town possesses a tight-knit community filled with a diverse set of people who cooperate for the benefit of all, an ecosystem has many diverse plants and animals who bring balance to the environment. Personally, I can relate to both of these parallels, being from the small town of Delmar, Maryland, where the two halves of the community work together despite belonging to different states. For example, although I reside in Maryland, the two halves of the town have cooperated so that all students can share one school district, regardless of which side of the state border one resides in. Similarly, in nature many organisms work together for the benefit of both parties, such as the cooperation between trees and woodpeckers. When insects and other bugs infect and damage a tree, a woodpecker will heal the tree of its infection by eating the invasive bugs, signaling cooperation for mutual benefit of both parties. Just as I feel connected to my community, I feel connected to nature. My connection to nature stems from my many experiences and dealings with nature.

My love of nature began when I was a young child, around the age of seven. At that time, my father was employed as the legislative director of the department of natural resources for the state of Maryland under the Hogan administration. In accordance with his position, he frequently visited state-owned nature trails and wildlife protection zones in a casual manner, in order to have in-person experience on how the zones were doing, and where extra funding was needed. On many such occasions, he would bring my younger brother and I with him so that we would become more in-tune with nature and its operations. We journeyed from the marshes of Assateague Island to the mountainous forests in the Appalachian Mountain Range in western Maryland. These experiences were critical to the development of my understanding and appreciation of nature and its beauty, as I was able to see for myself the majesty and eloquence of nature and how many diverse ecosystems there were in a land as small as a single state.

Recently, my father and I went out on a sunny weekend morning to the Pusey Branch Nature Trail and Hunting Area, which is located to the southeast of the city of Salisbury. Some time after we had arrived and began our journey, we spotted a lone beaver swimming peacefully down the stream of the branch. After detecting us, the beaver, shocked to encounter other living beings on this chilly February morning, stopped swimming in place and sat before us with a look on its face that can be described as a mix of curiosity and fear. The beaver, a completely separate entity from our modern world and society, living its own independent life, reminded me of how separate, yet connected, we all are to nature and to each other. Despite our many differences, the beaver and I shared the same Earth, and by extension, the same water, the same land, and the many of the same experiences with the world, reflecting how, despite what it may appear sometimes, we are all, ultimately, the same. 

My many experiences of nature that cause me to hold a special place in my heart for it also fuels my viewpoint that nature is something to be protected and treasured. It is my hope that someday, long after my death, others will be granted the ability to have the same encounters with nature that I have had the opportunity to. Due to the possibility of these wonderful creatures’ existence ceasing, it is imperative to protect and preserve the environment, so that others may be able to enjoy the experiences of nature that are possible today. Thankfully, steps have been and are currently being taken to ensure the survival of the natural world. For instance, the National Park Service, established for the express purpose of protecting and preserving certain significant locales of natural beauty, has expanded to cover tens of thousands of animals and hundreds of miles of territory around the United States. The presence of this organization means that all animals within the area are protected from any harm that human expansion may bring, along with the land operated by the National Park Service. The preservation of certain locations is a great first step to ensuring the perpetuation of the natural world, however it cannot remain as the only step taken. 

Fortunately, there are three main steps that are simultaneously being taken to assist the environment. Firstly, net-zero carbon emission promises are becoming increasingly common for large businesses, which is having a slow, yet profound pressuring effect on other large corporations to also have similar pledges. Secondly, the increasing presence of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, and thermal power, as well as the fact that oil is not an infinite resource, or one that is growing in supply, is greatly helping to reduce carbon emissions as less oil is being used to generate electrical power. Lastly, the mass implementation of worldwide recycling is a daunting, but doable task. Across the United States and much of the rest of the world, recycling bins are very common and recycling has largely been normalized and accepted. However, many less fortunate areas of the planet still do not have the same access to recycling as us, and so implementing recycling systems for those areas is a difficult, but paramount task to achieve. All three of these goals are currently underway and making progress to further assist the environment’s current protection and future resurgence, but the goals of these plans are far from accomplished. Despite these ever-shrinking yet still significant hurdles, I believe that together, we can save the planet from ourselves and that we will be able to peacefully coexist with nature in order to form a better tomorrow for all parties, human or otherwise.

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