Commentary

Safeguarding our Environment for the Future

Some High Schoolers beliefs on the Importance of our Environment 

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

Riley McLoy, Newburyport High School freshman

Everything that I love to do takes place outdoors, from playing sports and going skiing to relaxing on the beach and traveling. Being active outside allows for a release from the stress of school, and gives a break from technology. It's really easy to glance at your phone, and then realize you have been looking at it for an hour. Especially with COVID-19, people are inside more than ever with ever more temptation to get lost in these distractions. We are having fewer breaks from stress and social media. But even though restrictions make it hard to be active, it's really important that we get outdoors for our mental health and overall happiness. That is why it is essential that we take care of our environment, because if we don't, we will lose all of the amazing opportunities it gives us.

Caleb Bradshaw, Newburyport High School freshman

For me, being outdoors is a huge part of my life. It is in most of the sports and passions I pursue. Fortunately, everything that I need is right out my back door, making it easy to try new things and embrace being outside. But what if you don’t have easy access to a town park? Or a local trail system? Finding a place to go can be hard for people looking to get away from society and into the outdoors. In the past year, COVID-19 has shed some light on the ways we view outdoor recreation. Health officials are advising against traveling far for outdoor activities, so people have come up with simple and easy ways of getting out of the house to take in some fresh air. Walking, running, cycling and hiking are all great ways of getting outdoors at a time when people need it the most.

Lucas Daignault, Newburyport High School junior

As we enter into a necessary “green reset,” it is imperative that youth begin to take ownership of the movement so that they can continue it. Schools are where the spirit of the green reset can and must be fostered. Many actions can be taken in order to encourage stewardship; for instance, local field studies, the connection of sciences with other classes, the promotion of these issues by parents and other adults, and the promotion of jobs and internships with organizations hoping to further the cause of environmentalism. The local field studies, in my opinion, are by far the most important piece. Students are more likely to pick up on and get involved in an issue that they can organically discover as opposed to one learned in a classroom. Having students naturally pick up on the importance and urgency of the task at hand would go a great way to the eventual passing of the torch.

This column was coordinated by ACES Youth Corps member Caleb Bradshaw. To share comments or questions, please send an email to acesnewburyport@gmail.com. To learn more about ACES, visit https://www.aces-alliance.org.

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about the author
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Riley McLoy

Riley McLoy is a freshman at Newburyport High School who plays soccer, tennis, ski races, and is the class treasurer. She spends most of her free time at the Newburyport Racket Club or spending time with her family.

Caleb Bradshaw

Caleb Bradshaw is a freshman at Newburyport High School who is working for ACES to bring awareness to increasing environmental issues. Outside of school, he can be seen with his family hiking, running, biking, surfing, skiing, or playing soccer for NHS.

Lucas Daignault

Lucas is a senior at NHS who has been involved in youth and school leadership for many years. A member of the Youth Council in the 6th grade and the NHS School Council since a freshman, he has also gained strong organizational and leadership skills and experience working at Market Basket in many roles. Lucas has made several contributions to ACES Youth Corps projects as an intern to include coordinating the Phase 1 enhancement of the website.