I live in a small town. It's not that small, but small enough so that if you pass someone in the street, the odds are you'll know who they are. I've lived all my life in this small town, and in this time I have noticed a great deal of change.
When I was growing up, I didn't worry about too many things. I didn't worry about whether the field across the street from my house would always be there. I didn't worry if the woods in back of my house would always be there. Most of all I didn't worry whether or not this small town, with all of its quaint and wonderful features, would always be there. Everything was just the way it was and I never questioned that.
Then I went to junior high school and everything around me seemed to be changing. I was no longer in the sheltered elementary school just down the street from me. I had to start worrying about everything instead of nothing. My town, my world, was changing too. On my ride to school I no longer saw woods all around me on my street, but houses. I didn't understand what was happening to the world around me. Now I understand.
I'm in high school now. In the past five years, almost fifteen new houses have been built on my road. The field across the street is threatened with two new houses. When I walk my dog in the woods, I wonder how long they will be there. All the time now, I wonder and I worry. Why is this happening? Why do people always have to destroy instead of preserve?
Not only do I worry about my town, but about any place where the harsh reality of development threatens the beauty of the world. I worry about the rain forests; I worry about trees being cut down all over the United States. I worry about endangered species. I think this worrying is a concern which is needed, but which is being lost in all this change.
The loss of a field or the loss of a tree is a true loss which is felt from within. When I see land being developed, I am sad. When I pass through small towns like where I live, I wonder how long they will stay that way and not change. Why can't people see the beauty lying all around them? Change is inevitable, but if people care and are concerned, change does not have to be for the worse. Change can be a wonderful thing and a beautiful thing just like the trees in back of my house. People just have to realize it. This is not a plea to stop change; it is a plea to care. If more people cared about this world, it would be a much better place to live. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.