Her Everyday Life

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The dim light finally broke through her eyes as she woke. She coughed, then rolled over and turned off her alarm clock. It was just like any other school day, and she let out one more deep cough before she got out of bed and began to get ready.

She turned on her TV and began to look for something to watch as she got ready. The TV came to life with a panicked voice filling the room.

“The war over oil in Saudi Arabia has taken a turn for the worse.”

Click.

“Food supplies are being continuously diminished due to soil erosion and degradation.”

Click.

“The United States is running out of space for landfills.”

One last click and the sound disappeared. These issues were no surprise to her. They were just a few of the many things she grew up hearing, and therefore they were of no interest to her.

She finished getting ready and headed down the hall toward the kitchen. On the wall she saw a picture of her and her parents when she was just a baby. Her mother had died when she was just an infant. Her mother’s lungs had been irreversibly damaged, though she had never smoked a day in her life. Doctors said the damage was done by the years she spent inside. The formaldehyde in the carpets; the toxic fumes in the paints that can’t be smelled; the many household cleaning items with hazardous chemicals in them; all that was what caused her condition. Only now were they discovering all the dangers of indoor air pollution.

After her mother died her father moved them to a smaller, older apartment with worn wallpaper and wood flooring; his small attempt to protect them from these newly discovered dangers. However, these attempts were made futile by the extensive amount of time her father now spent cooped up in his room; mourning over his loss.

She was ready to go. She pushed the key into the rusted lock and gave the door a shove to get it open. She stepped into the hall and made her way to the front lobby.

In the lobby sat one of her neighbors. She had never talked to the boy, but she knew much about him. His right arm was slightly smaller than the left and his legs were emaciated and meek. He could not walk because his spine had not fully developed when he was a baby. He wasn’t the only one with this obstacle.

Children with similar disablements were becoming more and more common. The cause for this took place many generations earlier with these children’s grandparents and great-grandparents. Scientists have recently discovered that the chemicals that are used in plastics deformed the genetics of their offspring. The side effects don’t reveal themselves for a couple of generations.
She walked through the lobby avoiding any eye contact with her neighbor and stepped through the front door. It was hot, but it wasn’t one of the hotter days. It was only 112 degrees today. She looked up at the brown clouds in the sky. She was looking for birds. She used to see a few here and there in the winter, but she never saw them anymore.

She walked over the bridge and alongside the river. The river was green, but it also has a brownish tint. There was trash floating all in it and whirls of what looked like oil or grease. She didn’t look for fish in it. She had never seen fish in that river and there was no way that something could live in it.

She bent down and picked up a Styrofoam cup that was floating in the riverbank. She carried it until she got to her school and then walked over to one of the trash cans out front. When she got closer, she could see that the can was already too full, but she pushed the cup in anyway.

She continued to head toward the front of the school. The school didn’t look new, though it had only been around for a short six years. The acid rain that fell in the city had worn the bricks and brought early age to the establishment.

She entered the building and moved slowly down the hallway to her first class, environmental science. She had had this class all year, but nothing about it had ever really sparked her interest. Her teacher was always lecturing the class on ways to solve and improve environmental dilemmas. Today he spoke about the amount of wasted energy used in America and the impact it had on the environment.

She always felt that there was nothing she could do about problems such as these, but today her teacher’s words lingered in her mind and began to ideas.

He had asked: “What will YOU do to make the world a better place?”





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