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Madison Rice

Cape Henlopen HS, 9th grade

Environmental Injustice in Our World

Environmental injustice means that the environment, animal, and, or individual is being negatively impacted because of others’ actions. An imbalance is evident in our ecosystem. Through my research, I found many displays of environmental injustices. One example I most recently experienced in the summer of 2023, there were several air quality alerts. The air became very polluted so much so that there was a noticeable discoloration and smell. These air quality warnings impacted many of my summer activities. While participating in outside activities or even daily chores, it was hard to breathe. This was an effect of the Canadian wildfires, which originated from others’ actions. The smoke from the fire polluted the air in Delaware, and many other states across America. The impact was huge, it spanned miles and miles impacting the air we breathe. My friend, Logan, suffers from asthma and it was about two times harder for her to breathe than it was for me. Thankfully, the wildfires were controlled and extinguished within a few days, a very short-term effect of mistreating our ecosystem. However, we can anticipate a greater impact on the Canadian forest as it will take many years for the woodlands to recover. In addition to the wildfires, I have seen long-term effects more locally at our beaches through littering, trash that is not disposed of properly not only looks bad on our beaches it pollutes our waters. Debris in the ocean threatens the lives of aquatic animals, seabirds, and many more. Without essential organisms in ecosystems like the ocean, the marine habitat would begin to deteriorate. I believe the answer is simple: we can counteract this ecological impact locally, my peers and fellow community members can commit to recycling and disposing of trash appropriately and volunteer to collect litter routinely. This may seem like such a small thing, but the amount of trash that is seen in parks, woodlands, marshlands, and the ocean amounts to large volumes. By cleaning up little bits of trash, we can stop the possibility of adding more trash to the pile. With the influence of social media today, my peers can advocate for the protection of our environment. I suggest a petition to start a recycling program to ensure a safer environment, a way to limit the carbon footprint of our city, then the county, and maybe the entire state. Small changes like this can spread like wildfire, in such a positive way. 

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