Emphasizing the Importance of Our Environment

Youths voice their opinions on the environment, its importance, preserving it, and the effect of environmental issues on disproportionate communities 

Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash
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Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship. The current columns focus on the perspectives of Youth Corps members and other youth about the future and the importance of stewardship. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Samson LeBlanc – Sophomore at UMass-Lowell

The restoration and preservation of our environment are essential for our survival, but this should not be the reason we save our environment. It should be because we care about one another as well as all species. Seeing the things that nature is capable of and what it provides for us is truly outstanding. You can simply look to the rivers and oceans, which hold a whole world beneath us that we almost never see. The idea of preserving these species and their environments should push us to become motivated to make needed changes. But with global warming changing the weather, we are experiencing more and more natural disasters, with many more on the horizon. Our effort to save the environment should include preserving these biomes and habitats before we start to suffer the way that they are currently experiencing. Change needs to happen, and we can come out of this saving not only us, but our planet if we are strong enough.

Will Roelofs – Pingree School Freshman

Being able to escape to the outdoors is something that many people take for granted, including me. Here in Newburyport, we are fortunate enough to have a variety of places to go and that is something that I love to take advantage of. Whether it's going for a quick bike ride to Maudslay or taking a swim at the beach, I always have options. Not to mention the fact that we live just one or two hours away from the amazing mountains up north, where I love to ski, hike, bike, and camp. That being said, there are many people who are losing their access to nature because of land development, climate change, and COVID-19. It is important to take a step back and appreciate where we live and the access we have because we need to do our part in ensuring other people can enjoy the outdoors as much as we do.

Charlotte Gretz – Newburyport High School Senior

The discussion of climate change in mainstream media often comes in the form of a nature documentary, such as campaigns to save the turtles, or an article about how sustainability opens up job opportunities. While relevant, these topics just touch on the basic consequences of climate change. It’s actually a multifaceted issue and one of the facets often overlooked is its link to racial justice. People of color are disproportionately affected by environmental issues. Black and Hispanic communities are more susceptible to high concentrations of air pollution that they aren’t at fault for. Many of the poorest areas in the U.S. are populated by people of color and those are the areas whose economy will be hit hardest by the damages of climate change. Climate activism has been a movement dominated by white people, but in order to tackle environmental damage, we need to address the deep-rooted racism woven into it.

This column was coordinated by ACES Youth Corps member Caleb Bradshaw. To share comments or questions, send an email to To learn more about ACES, please view

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about the co-authors
Charlotte Gretz

I’m Charlotte Gretz and I’m currently a senior at Newburyport High School. I joined ACES at the beginning of this school year because of my background with similar organizations like the Environmental Club. I’ve had a great experience working with ACES to promote environmental awareness in Newburyport and beyond through writing, organizing cleanups, and collaborating with our allies.

Will Roelofs

My name is Will Roelofs. I am 15 years old and live in Newburyport.

Samson LeBlanc

A native of Newburyport, Samson is attending UMass Lowell enrolled in its Business Management Program. He believes that being successful requires perseverance and a commitment to achieve specific objectives via a project-based approach. With an appreciation for local and global economic conditions, a founder of the Youth Corps, Samson is a member of ACES’ Administration/Systems/Operations Team working on systems to support a comprehensive database and efficient communications capability plus he is co-leading our social media marketing campaign.