Epitaph To The Eighties This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Eighties: . a decade of capricious hopes, it may be called. Our hopes for a better future have crested, been dashed against the cliff of despair, only to be picked up again by another surge of optimism. It has been a decade of wars, unprecedented famine and natural disasters, disease, political turmoil and oppression. It has also been a decade to see the end of wars, great advances in technology and medicine, and improved relations between the superpowers.

Computers have made our lives much easier, and communications have linked the world to an extent never before imagined. We find ourselves on the brink of self-destruction as we destroy our ozone layer, pollute the environment and allow the incurable AIDS virus to spread. Today, we find that man has more control of his future than he has ever had in the past, and all of our hopes lie on man's ability to find an equilibrium between himself and his environment.

As has been true since the end of World War II and the advent of nuclear arms, the thread of human to civilization has been tautly held by the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States. Tugging at opposite ends, these two powers have attempted to pull in as much thread as possible for themselves, trying to slip the control of humanity from the other's grasp. However, if one power were to pull too hard, and the other hold on too tight, then this fragile thread by which man survives would snap. The stockpile of nuclear "deter-rents" possessed by both countries has continued to grow, and the U.S. had opened up research into the new, controversial S.D.I. system. The thread pulled tighter. However, as a new Soviet General Secretary took office, and ushered in the new era of Perestroika, we have seen the inflexible Soviet stand laxen. The signing of the INF Treaty and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan have created a new atmosphere of optimism about the future of superpower relations.

As science advances, so too does man's control over his world. Automation has infiltrated the world of finance now help run our industrial centers. The advanced state of telecommunications and the media can connect us with any part of our world in mere seconds. To every blessing, though, there is also a price. Our superior technology requires us to expend tremendous amounts of fuel, depleting our natural resources, and expelling dangerous amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere. Our seas are choking with sludge and our sky rains down acid. Our extravagant use of CFC's has caused a gaping chasm to appear in the ozone layer.

With all these fearful and collosal obstacles facing our survival, we do not know if we will live into the next millennium. The '90's will truly be a decisive decade. In it we must decide whether we can allow animosity between ourselves and our neighbors on this ever shrinking and ever more fragile world to continue. We must decide whether or not to start protecting our environment now, so that it will continue to protect us in the future. If we do not answer these questions correctly we risk destroying the human race irrevocably and terminally.n


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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