This is a guest post from Julie Rivas, an ACE Ambassador at Franklin High in Los Angeles.
What’s up Generation Innovation?! I’m going to tell you about my inspirations and the environment, so I’ll begin from the start. I was born and am still being raised in a place where police sirens are a constant reminder of all the violence and hate that surrounds my community. The helicopter circling around my block, chasing a criminal or felon, has always been my lullaby to fall fast asleep every single night. My neighborhood, my childhood home is a natural habitat to drive bys, gangs, drug dealing, drug consumptions, bullying and sex. I’ve seen friends that I care about and love with my entire heart lose themselves to these chaotic temptations.
It’s heartbreaking knowing the friends you’ve grown up with, friends you’ve shared a whole lifetime with not comprehend or even care about the damage they do to one another and to themselves with all these scenarios of living in ’the hood’. Knowing they chose a life filled with crime and desperation over a life filled with peace and love breaks my soul with the simple thought of it.
Every day I wish I had the magical ability to make them experience a revelation about how life brings struggles to people in distinct ways but if you keep a optimistic mindset everything will fall into place. I want to prove to my friends that it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you’re headed with the only life given to you. I love them and miss them endlessly.
To try and get me away from the temptations of living in the ’hood,’ my parents encouraged me to attend a Magnet High School that is about one hour away from my home. My parents wanted to provide me with a better opportunity for my future and for that, I’m immensely grateful. Yes, its stressful commuting to school every day, especially when budget cuts have caused the disappearance of the late bus, meaning that if I have an extracurricular, I must take the train, bus, taxi, bike or walk 15 miles; doesn’t matter as long as LAUSD saves some money.
School and education is the only change to a better future, to an education that will lead me closer to saving the world. Yes, I have an enormous pipe dream to at least TRY to save our planet from industrial, political and environmental catastrophic disasters.
To be honest, when I was younger I didn’t carry a single speck of interest in any of those things, especially environmental issues. I would hear scientists and environmentalists “complain” about Global Warming, CO2 emissions, overpopulation, desertification, deforestation, pollution, the water crisis and I thought it was all ridiculous and simply inadequate to my naive, immature and ignorant life. My thinking was, “Why don’t the environmentalist invest money to buy an acre sized empty lot and fill it with plants, and trees? Wouldn’t that destroy all the “complaining” from those tree huggers? Wouldn’t that solve all these obtrusive problems?” I was truly blinded from the truth of how deep in the hole our planet has become because of our human activities.
My teachers got rid of all my ignorance and jam-packed it with useful knowledge to “Save Our Earth.” Now I’m in Environmental Club Leadership, making a difference and taking an AP Environmental course so that I never become that ignorant little girl I was in the past. Now I’m more aware of the problems this world is facing and soon enough I might become that “complaining” environmentalist.
I believe all environmental issues are significant and need to be improved and resolved, but our government seems to run to economists for environmental issues. If our government wants a real solution, money shouldn’t be an obstacle for the better being of future generations to come. One thing that truly frightens me more and more each day is that the United States has become a consumer society when at one point it was a producer society.
I have to say that by seeing my community being impaired and affected by all the chaos they seem to be blindsided on a huge issue, the Environment. I believe that with unity and organization, we can change and make a difference through education. Education is the key to innovation, improvement, ideas and solutions for all the damage our civilization has created. It’s up to Generation Innovation to reverse the mutilation and destruction of our planet Earth! We have already begun a revolution to be a greener society, now we need to step it up where being Green is a standard of living: FOR EVERYONE!