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Earth Today or Earth Tomorrow?

By Haneen Sharaf

head shot of Haneen Sharaf 4th place winner

Listen closely to the ripples and tides of the ocean ahead, feel the chilly grains of sand just beneath your fingertips, and breathe in the crisp air.

Walk deep within the clammy forest, trudge towards the melodic sounds of the Earth’s creatures, and the wildly gushing waterfalls. Take a step and hold on to the rough tree barks.

What does it look like? Open your eyes. Open your eyes to see that the water ahead is no longer a vibrant and powerful shade of blue, but instead, a dull shade of grey, covered with nothing but plastic and useless debris. Open your eyes to see that the forests are no longer the deep shades of green, no sun rays piercing through the trees. No creatures in sight for as long as you chase the sounds of empty, sorrowful wind, for their habitats were wrongfully stripped off of them, propelling them to flee away to a safer space they can call home. Listen close, the trees and oceans are yearning, desperately trying to protect themselves and the beautiful creatures they held within them.

Sustainability; the importance of preserving the world we were granted with, the need to reduce the usage of unnecessary debris and trash, the need to consider that the wildlife and a humans’ life should be taken care of. It is a shame that after years and years, we are still being taught to live sustainably, not considering the lives of the animals and wildlife creatures who also have an important place on this Earth.

Not only does living sustainably mean attending to the environment’s needs, but to also look at the social aspects, where it is just as important to attend to our own human lives and needs. Create communities, accept others, build up one another, it is all a part of the Earth’s healthy life cycle. Listen closely, the people of today are not as happy as they used to be, living vicariously, confused and muddled. Acceptance is key to who we are, and we are here to support one another.

Think of the future generations and think about how they could lead a healthy lifestyle. Empty your plastic bags and leave behind those plastic bottles. Instead, step forward and let your kids carry reusable lunch bags rather than plastic sandwich bags. Tie your shoelaces in determination and step forward to take an initiative. Pick up the reusable bag and use those instead of plastic bags at the supermarket.

Move forward another step and hold out your hand. Hold out your hand for those in need of both physical and mental support. You are human just as they are, you are no fool to neglect one who is holding onto your hands with weak fingers. Lean forward and tighten your grip around their hands. Pull them up, and let them walk beside you, for they are human just as you are. Welcome them with warm smiles and offer them what you can, that would be of aid to them.

Finally, after taking your steps, let those, younger, follow yours. Let the youth today and later, take charge and use their gadgets and electronics as a weapon for the good. For the better. A weapon for the best. Let technology be the frontline of promoting the act of living more sustainably, living more durably. Using metal straws, reusable bags and utilizing those glass bottles, stored deep in the shelves of your homes, would surely make a difference. Let your kids pick up a metal or glass flask, let them paint on the tote bags and let them pick up their favourite colour of metal straws.

For the youth today, who will make up the future, it is you and I’s duty to sustain the Earth for the future generations. Let us utilize our capabilities and take initiative by doing even the simplest of acts, such as volunteering to clean the beaches and roads, using more of renewable energy and especially donating unused items to those in need of them, rather than discarding them into the dumps of our crystal waters.

Perseverance, determination and close-knit communities are the answers to living more sustainably, to making the word Sustainable a permanent word that no longer sounds foreign. To sustain, to preserve, to assist, to encourage, are all words that are easy in pronunciation, but have a great deal of importance in creating a difference within the Earth that we live on. Hence, let us step forward and take the responsibility.