Climate Change and Forest Restoration Campaign

Maine Forests and Carbon Sequestration

Are Boreal Forests Becoming a Carbon Source?

Canadians Ponder Cost of Rush for Dirty Oil

A Fourteen Year Old's Opinion on Global Warming

Why I Became a Vegetarian

Paper or Plastic? Neither!

Living With Solar, a Maine Primer

Global Warming and Maine's Forests

Links to global warming news

A Fourteen Year Old's Opinion on Global Warming

by Olivia Tenzing

At what moment do you stop and ask yourself what you are worth to this world?

Is your appearance on the face of this planet only to make an ideal life that supports you?

Or are there things that matter to you that go beyond your own self-centered needs?

It seems to me that humans have been programmed to think that they need to fulfill their every craving, their every desire and this is why global warming is getting worse. In our conditioning as human beings we have set up societies that rely on these superficial needs and our lifestyles are comprised of actions that continually destroy the very part of the natural world that we all need to stay alive.

Sadly, our actions are at the expense of our own well-being and the planet and the other creatures we share it with. It is as if we are blind to our own destruction. It seems to me that human beings are hard-wired to be self-serving and lack much self-awareness. We as a species are selfish and short-sighted. We don’t think of the big picture. We always want more....bigger, better, more. We never seem satisfied with what we have. When we meet a desire, we only appreciate it for a little while and then move quickly on to the next craving to be fulfilled. It is as if our needs are endless, bottomless pits and our emptiness is never satisfied. These are attitudes that are as outdated as prehistoric times. They do not match where we find ourselves in our global climate crises. We must change what we think is important and therefore what we value. And in truth, this change must occur in not just one of us on this Earth but in all of the almost seven billion human beings who now inhabit our planet.

Our lifestyles are directly contributing to not only our own demise but to the demise of the other creatures who share our Earth. Life on Earth as we have known it has to change. Have you seen the movie Wall E, where human beings use up every last bit of nature and all that is left is trash and an uninhabitable planet? Is this what we want? We have to ask ourselves this question, for I fear this is the direction we are headed.

What matters most to me are the animals with whom we share this Earth. Everything has a life-force and needs fresh air and water to stay alive. We think of ourselves as indestructible, apart and separate from this essential fact. We, as a species, think of ourselves as superior and better than animals because we have figured out how to control so much of nature with our technological advances. But somehow we have missed the point. We are destroying animals’ habitat and causing species extinction at a rate unprecedented in the Earth’s history. But what have the animals done to us to deserve this? They don’t deserve this blatant disregard. There has to be another way.

What I am trying to say is that the opinions and motivations that people focus on and are thinking about and talking about have no impact on what really matters for the well-being of our planet upon which our own very lives depend. The health of the planet directly correlates with our own health. Why can’t people see that? We are so wrapped up in what is happening in our materialistic lifestyles, our focus on sports, our government gymnastics, and what is happening in Hollywood, that we are not focusing on what really matters. We are now so stuck in this routine system of materialism and consuming more, that we have missed the point. We have missed how the basic tenants of nature, our connection to it and its role in our own well-being are essential to our survival. We are destroying animals lives and their habitats daily without even realizing it. We owe it to them to prevent worse disasters that ruin life as they know it and have the potential to ruin life as we know it as well. That is just close behind.

We’ve come so far, but yet we’ve succeeded in destroying so much of the natural world. Is this really progress? How can someone ignore the evidence all around us....when it is so obvious? How can there be people who are still unsure of their personal responsibility and the roles they must take in reducing their own carbon footprint?

Global warming is a sensitive topic and the only way we are going to solve it is to become more realistic with our lifestyles, our opinions and focus, and take action towards saving the planet before our destruction of our natural resources has gone so far that there is no return. We now must work at the governmental level with each nation to make this a top priority in order to reverse the global warming effects we have created.

Will you now ask yourself what you are worth to this world? What are your children and grandchildren worth to this world? What are the animals worth to this world?

In knowing these answers, I hope you will decide to push yourself to that perhaps uncomfortable place of personal responsibility. I hope you will go beyond that self-centered place and do something that makes a difference for the greater good.

I invite you all to care. I invite you all to educate yourselves beyond what we hear in mainstream news and learn what is really going on. I invite you all to dedicate yourselves to making a difference.

The difference must begin with you. It must begin in your home. You must begin for your children. It must begin now.

I ask you what do you care about? Is your appearance on the face of this planet only to make an ideal life that supports you? Or are there things that matter to you that go beyond your own self-centered needs?

Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we want to see in the world.”

I invite you to accept that challenge.

Olivia Tenzing is a 14 year old environmentalist from Pacifica, California. She is the grand-daughter of Tenzing Norgay, who, along with Sir Edmund Hillary, were the first climbers to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

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