The Environment

Mar 18, 2009

Nick Zyznieuski - Springfield High School
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Throughout my life, I have always liked nature. Whether I was hiking with my family in southern Illinois, riding bikes with friends through neighborhoods, or swimming in the Pacific Ocean, I have seen the importance of the environment. I have always loved that the environment had been there for us, and I always thought it would be. Until recently, my views have shifted about the environment’s survival. Accordingly, I have done my part to save the environment.

...my decision to ride my bike to work had a different purpose that will remain with me for the rest of my life: to save the environment.

  Since I can remember, my dad has been a major influence in my crusade to save the environment. He is an air specialist for the State, and therefore, passionately cares for the environment’s well-being. My dad has always recycled paper, plastic, and anything else that can be; he also has a compost garden. Recently, he bought an electric bike, which he rides to work occasionally. As I have grown up watching my dad doing these environmental things, I too have become an avid environmentalist.

This past summer, I made a minute, but wise, decision: to ride my bike to work, instead of driving. Now this change may not seem so unusual, since a record number of people started riding their bikes to work with the intention of saving money at the pump. However, my decision to ride my bike to work had a different purpose that will remain with me for the rest of my life: to save the environment.

As I peddled through unbearable heat and careless drivers during the summer, I wondered why so many people did not care that the environment was crumbling before us. Peddling on, the scorching sun burned the back of my neck, which is a telltale sign that the world is going through global warming. Global warming has had a major influence over the environment’s deterioration, which ultimately affects everything and everyone. Just listen to the news: the polar ice caps are melting at an astonishing rate; winters and summers are warmer then usual; and ecosystems are being affected by this rapid influx of heat. However, as I looked around, no one in his or her car seems to be doing anything to stop this decline of the environment – except me, peddling onward with a worsening sunburn. Wonderful.

As I rode onward to work, my body ached, but I knew that I could not quit my pursuit to save the environment. I then wondered if it were possible to get a mass movement of my friends to ride their bikes to work. I mean, that would put a minor dent in the environment’s deterioration, but I have to start somewhere. So, I asked a few friends if they would mind riding their bikes to work, instead of driving. My success – three friends started riding bikes to work. I guess I had to start from the bottom, right? Just look at President Obama’s presidential campaign: it started as an idea in the Chicago-area and magnified to a nation-wide political train. Give me a few more months, and I will have the same amount of tens behind me as President Obama. Give or take a few million.

Growing up, I have had the opportunity to experience the wonders of the environment. There is so much to see, so much to encounter, so much to live for. However, the deterioration of the environment is destroying one of my most cherished parts of life. I do not think I could live without the beauty of the environment, so that is why I will continue my cause to save the environment.