Why Don’t We Care? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Not too long ago, we read a novel in my school that touched on the topic of saving the environment, and our teacher, being a “tree-hugger” (as the kids call her), had us write an essay on an environmental issue. Immediately, ideas popped into my head and I was eager to start, but something made me stop.

“What is an environmental issue?” one kid asked. “What if we don’t care about the environment?” another complained. “It’s not like it affects me.”

These comments astounded me. I have always cared about the environment (my dad’s a park ranger) and assumed that others did too. From the look on my teacher’s face, I could tell she felt the same way.

“An environmental issue? You all know what that is, don’t you?” Lots of kids shook their heads. My teacher was taken aback. “Well, I have some examples written on your test, so use one of them, I guess. I can’t believe ... ”

In no time, I had finished my test and my essay (which my teacher later had me read to the class). I was still amazed at the realization that some kids don’t care about the world they live in. More people need to start caring, or terrible things will happen.

In my essay I wrote about logging, which is an important industry, but if we continue to cut down trees without replacing them, it will become unhealthy for us. You see, every tree we chop down reduces the amount of oxygen, which we can counter by simply planting a tree for each that is destroyed. Even though the young trees won’t convert as much carbon dioxide for years, it’s better than doing nothing.

Many forests already have been lost. Why can’t we take care of our world? Are we such terrible creatures that we must destroy everything? Also, it is common knowledge that aerosol hairspray depletes the ozone layer, which is essential to life, but every day in the locker room I see almost every girl with a can. The sad thing is, they know what they are doing and just don’t care.

There are so many things that you can do to save our world from destruction. Recycling, of course, is always a good thing, but not everyone has a recycling plant nearby (I don’t). There are other ways to help the environment. Plant a tree. Don’t waste water. Simple things that, if you make a habit of doing, perhaps others will follow.

I can’t stand it when a person’s excuse for not caring is “Nothing’s going to happen in my lifetime, so why should I care?” Sure, the chances of something disastrous happening are slim, but I want people to realize that if we don’t deal with it, someone will have to eventually. Do you want that to be your child? Your children’s children?

When my teacher told me to read my essay to my class, I was a little embarrassed because I didn’t want everyone to label me a “tree-hugger” or a crazy environmental freak. I realize now that if being a tree-hugger means you care about the environment, I’m a tree-hugger 100 percent. I just wish more people were too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 4:53 am
i love this so much!
dylllllllll said...
Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm
I really enjoyed reading this :)
WordAddict said...
Mar. 21, 2016 at 9:34 pm
Hey, Sarah! You have no idea how relatable this is to me, and it made me feel a whole lot better after reading your article. I'm one of those enviro-freaks you've mentioned, and proud of it. ;) Despite what everyone else around you thinks about environmental issues or whether or not they care, just remember to persist in reflecting what you believe through good actions and words. It's an important obligation that we educate others (especially children and teens!) as much as we can about our Ear... (more »)
RightWingExtremist said...
Nov. 26, 2014 at 12:04 am
Just about everyone agrees with you, the problem is how do we go about doing it. Many of the people I call environuts, are the morons who want to abolish all coal production, turn all our cars into Prius' and make oil like cocaine. The problem I have with these people is I ask "what do you have for a replacement?" Wind energy is inefficient, costly, and it hurts birds, solar energy is the same thing, except for the bird part. We've got a good replacement for gasoline, it's ... (more »)
you only live once said...
Oct. 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm
Just like yolo you only live once so try and do somthing, anything to help the envirment i know im only 6 but o know other people can make a difference
LuckyLuke said...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Jenny, regardless of what you believe, I do care about the environment, and I bet there are others who do as well.

But I think you are right, that adults don't listen to us children. And that makes it impossible to really do something.

Jennypuppy said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 11:55 am

As if you all would care about the environment. Pack of liars you are!

I´m 13, so what can I do for our planet? It´s useless. Writing essays means wasting time. No one listens to children. #do you think the politicians would care about what we´re saying?

star fox 24 replied...
Nov. 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm
Well I am 17 and I care about The Environment. because we will lose are Planit
CMW232 replied...
Nov. 27, 2014 at 2:14 am
How dare you, you are basically saying you dont care for our environment. Well when you live in a world without fresh air to breath and your house is built upon a rubbish heap. Think about your comment cause its pathetic. Twelvie. Im 16
Keratz replied...
Mar. 31, 2015 at 10:32 am
Hm. I don't agree with you, and yes, I'm also a 13 year old. I've seen people say this all the time, and that just makes me think. Does humanity really have to destroy everything? Do we really need an iPhone or anything that would kill to satisfy our generation? Of course it's not useless. People have only been around for 200 000 years, and yet we barge in and own the planet like it's ours. The earth does not belong to us. And yes, people will listen to children. Do something. -.-
CMW709 said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm
Most people aren't aware of what we are doing to the enviornment. We are the biggest hurt to the earth,basically we're all killers because we kill a piece of the earth everyday. This makes kids more aware, the simpliest things we do hurt the earth. Since I read about what was happening I have started cutting the water off and using my cell phone as a light.HA!
compassioniskey replied...
Sept. 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm
thats pretty awesome, half the time i use my cell phone as a light and my mom constantly screams at me for unplugging everything because "it doesnt use power if its turned off"
703mmc said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm
I used to not care about the world we lived in at all. One day, I actually stopped to think about how much my friends and I were harming the environment with our actions. Now, I actually recycle, tell people not to waste paper, and don't waste electricity. More people need to realize that this is our home, and we need to take care of it. 
slr511 said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm
I completely agree that people don't realize how much we can get hurt when we hurt the environment. If we cut down trees and forest, we are destroying the wildlife god put on this earth. Another issue I'm having with people destroying the environment is pollution. When people pollute the air, this is affecting everyones health. More and more people will start to die because of diseases.
bennyB said...
Oct. 21, 2010 at 8:57 am
I love the envirometn but maybe we need to put our focus on more important things
graceo replied...
May 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

our environment is actually linked to every issue that effect everybody's lifes.

e.g. crude oil started the war in the middle east, the number refugees will increase by 200 million because of rising sea levels, our air kills 2.5million people a year, prices of food, price of energy, cars and homes are all effected.

Aidyl said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm
I completely agree with everything you've said here. I'm also shocked with how little people seem to care about global warming. What also bothers me are that there are people who know climate change and understand it, when they see trees being cut down they think, "Oh, that's so sad." But they don't realize things they do in their everyday lives have just as much effect.
Lexi-pex said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm
i totally agree. i love my friends, but at break we'll sit outside and they'll just spray all their perfumes and body sprays and i'll say "you're putting a hole in the ozone layer!" but they dont' care. we tree huggers have to stick together! : )
lunar_moon said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm
I completely agree. I also noticed that you wrote nothing about global warming (which is a hoax up to a certain point)v, so I am glad that you paid attention to the issues that most people don't think about.
faypirate23 replied...
May 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm
my name is sarah r haha
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