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"Change starts with one person"

It's time for each of us to take action and safeguard our environment.

Written by Tatiana Dorrestein

Edited by Grace Chalmers

In the news we encounter environmental issue after environmental issue, a relentless barrage that makes it difficult to stay hopeful about our future. The sheer magnitude and complexity of these problems often leave individuals feeling powerless to effect change. In the face of helplessness, the easiest response is often to ignore the problem, hoping that someone else will find a solution. This perpetuates a destructive cycle of urgency and despair where inaction prevails.

Recently a friend of mine talked about how important it is to maintain hope in humanity's ability to overcome our environmental challenges. He asked me if I believed in our capacity to address climate change, and my response was a tentative, "I don't know, but I’m certainly going to try."

Throughout history, society has achieved remarkable advancements in fields like medicine and technology. The current landscape of innovation would have been unimaginable to previous generations. Each breakthrough owes its existence to the dedication of those who worked towards it, showing that we possess the intelligence and capability to make a difference.

However, we need to change the narrative. We can no longer afford to dismiss problems as too vast for individual impact. This fosters complacency, hindering the potential for societal change when it is most desperately needed.

While our world grapples with substantial environmental challenges—from nuclear waste storage and sewage treatment to climate change mitigation and ocean pollution—we cannot simply turn a blind eye. Looking away is not the solution. Real change occurs when individuals are willing to stand up and advocate for it, even if it starts with just one person saying, "I'm not okay with this anymore."

Whether we enjoy our environment by swimming, hiking, climbing, snorkeling, skiing, biking or just admiring the views, we all hold nature in a special place in our hearts. It offers breathtaking sights, from glittering glaciers to vast caves and shimmering bodies of water, not to mention the essential services that sustain our society. These wonders have existed for generations and should be cherished by future onesbut only if they survive that long. By writing to a representative, participating in a beach cleanup, or supporting environmental organizations, everyone can play a role in preserving the beauty of our environment. Change starts with one person. 

Tatiana Dorrestein is a student at University City High School. Grace Chalmers is the Project Coordinator of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation.

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