[LETTERS to the editor]Act now to save the environment

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[LETTERS to the editor]Act now to save the environment

I am writing on behalf of a group of middle and high school students concerned about the health of the environment.

It is my understanding that the health of the environment ultimately means the survivability of humankind and all other fauna and flora on this planet.

After all, once the ozone layer is burned up, what is to protect us from the sun?

In the science fiction novel “Spin” by Robert Charles Wilson, alien “Hypotheticals” come to the rescue and place a membrane between Earth and the sun.

However, we do not live in a novel, but in the real world - an “inconvenient truth” brought home by Al Gore’s documentary on climate change.

In 2007, protesters in lower Manhattan pointed out the line to which the sea would rise if we are not careful, which happens to lie across some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

When the ice caps have melted enough to flood Manhattan, will we finally regret our actions? I can go on listing the potential disasters that could arise.

But a main component of the problem - one that is more readily fixable - is the lack of awareness in society today.

I am not talking about people simply knowing that the environment is deteriorating - that rain forests are being cut down, polar bears are facing displacement and car exhaust is bad for the atmosphere. That much is already clear to everyone.

I am talking about real, practical knowledge and awareness of the dire need and feasibility of doing one’s part to at least mitigate the negative changes that are occurring in the environment.

We need to plant the idea in people’s minds that we need change, and now.

We can’t dawdle around waiting for SUV owners to come around and somehow find the will to get rid of their gas guzzlers.

We need people to take even small steps to contribute to the greater good, immediately.

If that sounds too socialistic for some, let us remind everyone that we are all in this together. Even kings depend on their citizens for their livelihood.

For the sake of the world, but also for the sake of each of us, one should try to help out.

Perhaps governments could promote simple ways of helping the environment, such as recycling or using more efficient light bulbs.

Perhaps ads could be run to encourage people to use less harmful means of transportation.

Perhaps we could use photographs of the damage being done to the environment to make a statement about the seriousness of the situation.

People like [the environmental photographer and writer] Gary Braasch, recently featured on CNN, have toiled long and hard for such images that could be used to great effect.

Whatever the method, the truth is that we need to bring the crisis down to an everyday, close-to-home level that will incite citizens to action.

Youngshim Hwang, CheongShim International Academy, Gapyeong, Gyeonggi

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