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A crisis of character

Locations: Letters Published
Dear Editor:
Each and every day, we take for granted the beauty and abundance of our lives, all provided to us by a generous planet.
Despite us, somehow, this planet we live on is able to sustain life, able to work in mysterious ways, and I love the mystery. Many of us,  hough, have forgotten the miracle, the treasure life truly is. We are stuck on a dying  globe, orbiting through space, with nowhere to run once it is gone. We are able to  subconsciously understand that our species will perish, but we take no action to delay our extinction. 
The climate crisis we face is indeed a crisis, both of our climate and our character, our human character, mine yours, all of us. Our individual and collective character. Life as we know it has always counted on a type of ripple effect, a kind of pay it forward, and the ripple is most often an evolutionary gift. It is designed to sustain specific organisms at specific places around the globe. Humanity has been tossing out ripples that are not always paying it forward and impacting the environment in both good and bad ways since we have lived here … 
At this moment, the bad is outweighing the good. 
Humans are inventive beings. After fossil fuels, we began finding ways of explosive innovation, and these innovations, like boats and cars, brought an easier way of life for humans. But it also brought with it a way of life that was not beneficial for of the world. Boats began spreading different bacteria and species across different  countries and ruining the natural order of our ecosystems. Additionally, automobiles have been the main factor inducing carbon dioxide into our atmosphere and damaging the ozone layer. 
Humanity often thinks of only the short term practicality of actions and tends to overlook the importance of sustaining the only thing keeping us alive, the Earth. There is a character split between our values and our actions; we are the “doctors with no interest in saving lives.” 
If you ask someone what is bad for our environment, most will be able to come up with a substantial list, yet every day we still add to these issues and continue to harm the planet. This split between our values and actions is morally expensive and spells an end to our earth. We can no longer excuse ourselves from  living in harmony with the planet with the excuse that being Eco-friendly is hard and expensive. 
In today’s society, we believe that money is the only way to happiness. Money entertains us and keeps us busy so we don’t have to think about the troubles our planet is facing. We all look for the easy way to gain money without thinking about the ripple effect it will have on the planet. Why pay more for organic food when you can get the “same” thing for half the price, why grow your own food when it requires manual labor? 
We see people overproducing in order to feed this simple way of life so everyone is able to become “happy” with overproducing the money they are not spending. We all know our rights, but do we know our responsibilities? Do we understand that it is our responsibility and only ours to save this planet? We have all fought for the rights of individuals we may never come in direct contact with, so why are we not fighting for the planet Earth that sustains all 7.5 billion of us? 
We are constantly in contact with the Earth, and the rights of the environment are the same rights that we hold so dear when it comes to people. So when we realize that our fate and that of the planets is the same fate, we may wake up. 
We are past the point of saving the Earth and everything it has, but we are still able to reverse the effects of this climate crisis. We must embrace the “collapse” in the same way we care for people who need our help. We must first start with individuals, help them understand what is truly at stake here and what the actions we need to address are. 
Saving the planet is the only way we can become fully human, and act in ways that allow us to redeem our species in ways that honor the miracle and mystery that we are so lucky to live in. We must take back control of our lives which come from this earth! The time is now. The planet is dying and it is up to us to save it. 
Hannah Cole
Roaring Fork High School
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