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Take Care of the World Around You

By Tyler Carruthers, Grade 11
We are so lucky! Think about that. When the Earth was formed, enough pieces of rock joined together to make a planet. Our planet then began to contain life while all other planets remained barren wastelands.

Then, as life began to flourish with massive animals, a meteor struck the Earth wiping every living thing out. And yet here we are.

Our existence is a miracle! The fact humanity is even here right now is amazing. Think about this: humanity has been on Earth for just over 200,000 years. Now, that may seem like a long time but let me just put this into perspective. Humankind has existed for 200,000 years. The Earth has existed for 4,540,000,000 years. And the sun, 4,602,000,000 years. If we crammed the time the earth has existed into a single day, human kind wouldn’t have even been here for three seconds.

Three seconds, and we have already wiped out over 11 different species of animals in the last century, animals that we grew up with and learned about as kindergarteners. The black rhino. Gone! The sea mink. Gone! The Tasmanian tiger. Gone! The quagga. Gone! All of these animal extinctions are our fault. The black rhino and sea mink were hunted to extinction and the Tasmanian tiger and quagga were deprived of their natural habitat.

Do I want you to feel guilty? No. I want you to think and hopefully become as passionate as I am about our Earth. We need to be smarter with our decisions.

It’s no surprise I love outdoors. This is probably because I grew up in the middle of nowhere, better known as Stanstead. But every chance I got, I would spend my time in the woods in my back yard. If you didn’t know, there is a huge gravel pit in the centre of that forest, and not only that, the entire forest is surrounded by either farmland or towns.

But why care? It’s just a forest!

You should all care because just like many other forests around the world, this one is slowly being destroyed as well. Each year, the size of the gravel pit increases and so does the necessary space needed for farming. There are tons of different animal species back there. Deer, raccoons, porcupines, skunks, snakes and, very rare but located in there, black bears, moose, beavers, and even at one point, an actual mountain lion. That tiny little forest contains such a vast eco-system, and think about what we’re doing to it.

I’m not telling you to only use a bike to get from place to place, and I’m not telling you to walk to and from school or work. I want to wake you up. I’m trying to get you to notice what we are doing. Take a moment, close your eyes and picture yourself in your room in Webster, Davis, Colby and Bugbee. Is it clean? Do you use the recycling bins properly? Do you pick up the garbage someone else was too lazy to pick up themselves?

Here’s another question, do you ever sleep with the window open? What do hear? Guaranteed, most of you heard nothing or almost nothing. Now, imagine that you hear crickets or maybe frogs or even birds in the trees outside your room. I bet that you can all imagine those sounds because you have all probably experienced and heard them. Right? Sadly, because the majority of you live in cities, you hear the sounds of horns, cars driving, sirens blowing and the sounds of construction workers echoing through your city day and night. Personally I would much rather the first option. I would rather sleep with soothing sounds of pure quiet and not the sounds of heavy traffic.

But this is what we are leading ourselves into and I can personally say I would much rather be able to raise my kids and their kids in an environment where famous animals that are found in children’s books such as lions, tigers and bears are still around and not just a stuffed statue at a historical museum. I’m not saying cities are evil, it’s just that people have lost the importance of nature and what it provides us.

My message is simple. Take care of yourself, take care of your surroundings, and take care of the world you live in.