When Xpress asked local educators for ideas about the focus of the annual Kids Issue, two distinct ideas rose to the top: activism and a kid’s view of the world. This week we focused on activism. We received a cornucopia of submissions, including the one you see below.
I wake up to the sound of my sister’s alarm and crawl down the ladder from my top bunk. Even facing the window there’s barely enough sunlight to make out the rough edges of the trees surrounding our house. I push the door open and step out onto the porch. The cool air swallows me like a blanket. I reach out to the nearest leaf and feel the silky skin brush my fingertips. I am lucky enough to wake up to this picture-perfect scenery every day, a luxury most people in the world neglect. When was the last time you touched a tree branch and felt its bark scratch off the surface?
People don’t like the forest, I feel, because it’s disorganized and messy. In their all-but-perfect lives, they think the city is the most efficient place to live. But the city is noisy; all you hear in the forest are the faint sounds of animal feet hitting the leaves. Sometimes you need time to get out of the city and hear yourself think. Sometimes you need to feel like you know yourself and not the person other people have made you.
Not everybody wants to live in a forest. However, I wish that everybody could experience it, maybe just to hike or to go one time when you’re 5. It’s a necessary experience. I know that everybody’s just interested in progress, not preservation, but our history is as important as our future. We must learn from our mistakes. Only 8.5 percent of America is national forest land. The trees help us breathe and sustain life on our planet. We have to plan for the next generation and not just think about ourselves. We need our trees.
— Olivia Kennedy, The Learning Community