SHOULD WE FEEL GOOD ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENTAL FUTURE?
May 3, 2009
positive hope for a healthy environmental future is right before our eyes.
Children are the future, and what they believe in and care about will
determine the direction of our nation and our world. I am optimistic about
the environmental sentiments of today's children. Many of them not only
appreciate plants, animals, and healthy environments but also are grateful
for what we have, an attitude that was missing in earlier generations
when we took it all for granted.
essay (modified slightly based on the teacher's review) was written more
than ten years ago by Andrew Lydeard for a class project. At the time,
Andrew was in the fifth grade. The assignment was to write descriptively
on a subject, and Andrew decided to write about some of his favorite things.
"favorite things" and his own words, like "bountiful"
and "shimmering," sum up what I think we can look forward to
in environmental attitudes of the future. I hope, and indeed believe,
that his value system represents the attitudes held by many of today's
young people, who will be shaping our environmental future.
used to love my old creek. I miss it because we moved. The reason I loved
it was because of the animals. The snakes were as long as my little sister;
a handful of salamanders felt as if you had dipped your hand in honey.
Also, the lizards along the edge could move as fast as one of us Little
League baseball players trying to reach home plate. Some of the prettiest
animals were the birds, which were always singing, as if they were joyful
and happy about having received a present.
of my favorite things of the past was the woods. I was always in the woods,
looking at trees, walking on trails, and catching insects. (I'll get to
the insects later). Those trees were enormous! Some of them had to be
over a hundred years old. Their leaves were stunning in the fall, vivid
green in the spring.
those insects--they were not disgusting; they were cool. I found beetles
with long, sharp claws, butterflies with golden wings, and red or yellow
ladybugs with big, black spots, and lots more. I saw lots of flowers and
liked them, but big snaky vines, poison ivy, and thorn bushes were everywhere.
They were beautiful to see, too, if you knew where to walk.
of my favorite things was the cool water that made clear pools in summer
that were always so deep and clear. I could always see fish shimmering
silver and darting under the banks. Everywhere I stepped was an experience--squishy
mud, soft sand, or jagged rocks. The rocks were very colorful, in shades
of brown, gray, red, and yellow, and bountiful. They were round, flat,
bumpy, and all sorts of weird shapes and sizes.
in the wintertime I could find small animals under rocks, see fish in
the water, and find different kinds of plants. I guess I would have to
say that I have lots of favorite things of the past. And all of them have
something to do with the outdoors, with the creek and woods, and with
the animals and plants. I hope that all other children have creeks and
woods that they can play in, because the best thing about our new home
is that I have plenty of woods and will be looking for another creek."
most children who do not spend too much time in front of their computers
or the TV can feel the same way about nature and wildlife. But it is the
responsibility of adults-- parents, other relatives, teachers, Scout leaders,
and so on--to encourage them to get outdoors and look at the world around
them. If given the chance to explore the natural world, most children
(as well as adults) quickly learn to appreciate it. Andrew, incidentally,
is now a biology major at Virginia Tech, still enjoys the environment,
and leaves in a few weeks for a tour of tropical ecosystems in Ecuador.
People with interests like these are ones to whom we can entrust the world's
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