March 9, 2008
She looked up at me with her large, sad eyes; her pain unbearably obvious. I watched her as she glided silently around her small, blue pool, surrounded by people she neither knew nor understood. The chatter turned to a dull roar as I examined her features more closely. The top left corner of her green and yellow shell was missing, and her flippers were mangled with cuts and scars.

I slowly walked over to a second pool. The poor creature contained in this pool had suffered a severe head wound. A third creature displayed a large crack down the middle of his pentagon patterned shell; a fourth an amputated flipper, and yet another was missing an eye.

I couldn’t help but think that these unfortunate creatures looked as though they were war heroes that had been wounded in battle; but they weren’t. They were just a group of innocent sea turtles that had been injured by careless humans.

I glanced at the beach, watching the aquamarine waves overlap each other, crashing onto the rock-cluttered beach, lapping up the sand as they went back in. The sun was setting as an array of oranges, pinks, and golds spilled across the sky. Our second day in Greece was coming to a close, and we still had a lot of work ahead of us.

My friend Liz turned towards me. “This is horrible. How can people do this?”

“Because people don’t realize the damage they cause to the environment until after something has been destroyed,” I replied.

Earlier that day, our group of 40 high school students had learned that these endangered sea turtles were being wounded and killed all the time because of pollution, litter, and careless boaters and fishermen. We were taught how to teach people back home ways to lessen the deaths and injuries of this species and how to encourage others to conserve our ocean life and the environment in general.

I had always been conscious of the damage our environment was suffering, and I had always been concerned with environmental conservation, but I had never truly been given the opportunity to see the devastating effects of environmental destruction up close until I observed those turtles. Seeing a picture or a movie of these animals cannot truly capture their pain and the melancholic expression on their faces. Now that I have personally seen the harm caused by pollution and carelessness, I try to encourage my peers to change their daily habits to benefit the environment by recycling, conserving water and energy, or donating time and money to help save endangered animals, such as the sea turtles. I stress to them that we need to start saving our environment now before it’s too late; we must fight for those creatures that cannot fight for themselves. We only have one world to live in and one chance to save it. Now I will always be that person who’s running after that ice cream wrapper flailing crazily in the wind just because I hate the thought of even one piece of litter on the ground.

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ponies said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 6:57 pm
I thought the beginning was excellent, but I felt like the conclusion was a little vague and needed a little more wrapping up. Good start, though!
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