Walking Mounains Earth Day essay contest winner, 6-8th grade category
Ryan Summerlin April 21, 2014
Editor’s note: Students were asked to answer the following question in essay form: Describe your vision for new and creative ways to help your community live in harmony on Planet Earth. Think BIG, but practical — what kinds of changes would you like to see that could really make a difference in our valley?
The Earth is a beautiful place, a place of breathtaking nature. Some places on Earth are prettier than others, though, all in all, Earth is a beautiful place. In all of the places I have been, Eagle County is near the top of my list for the prettiest place on Earth year round. So lets keep it this way.
There are many things that people can do to improve the environment. I want to help the environment, and the one thing that speaks to me is rivers. If we clean up our rivers in our valley, we help a lot of life downstream from us, because we are so close to the Continental Divide.
Greg Barrie writes on vailgov.com that “in 2011, Gore Creek was added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 303(d) list of impaired waters.” (September 2013).
CLEAN UP GORE CREEK
Personally, I think Gore Creek would be a good creek to clean up because the health of Gore Creek affects the health of the rest of our valley downstream. It also affects the health of the Colorado River, which flows across the country.
NOT EVERYONE CLEANS UP AFTER THEMSELVES
How many times do you see bottles on an Eagle County river shore? A lot. That’s because Eagle Valley brings many people in both winter and summer because of its natural beauty. People love the ski resorts, but they also love the great biking and the Colorado nature.
The river shores are great places to picnic, but not everyone cleans up after themselves. This is bad for our rivers and the animals that live here. Most of all, these could be recycled or reused. For example, if you have extra food, keep it and make compost. Don’t waste this food. Pick up your soda pop cans and your lemonade bottles.
These can be reused or recycled. We need to act to help our special wildlife of Colorado.
WE NEED TO ACT
We need to keep the beautiful nature of Colorado healthy. We need to act. I have an idea to help our valley’s rivers. Gore Creek is not the only Eagle County creek that needs help, according to Greg Barrie. Many people picnic or recreate in many rivers in the valley — not just Gore Creek.
My idea to help came from a video on a website called funtheory.com. Their motto is, “ This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”
This motto means a lot, and it defines the video I watched that could change the ways of this valley. The video is about an idea of a bottle-recycling arcade.
At first people had a normal recycling box for recycled bottles. They didn’t get many recycled bottles. The bottle collectors realized this was a problem, so they did extra work and created a game that they hoped would entice people into recycle more.
They came up with the idea of this bottle-recycling arcade. With this bottle-recycling arcade more and more people came to recycle their bottles because they enjoyed that recycling became a game. In fact, the video said that in one night, they had over 100 people that played the recycling arcade in the same time span that the normal bottle recycling box got two bottles.
MAKING THE VALLEY HEALTHIER
I truly think that we can use a bottle recycling game in our valley with success of helping our rivers. We could use this to help the Gore Creek and other creeks on the Environmental Protection Agency concerned rivers list. We can change our valley and be in a healthier place.
I hope that we can help our valley because I believe that any effort, no matter how small it may seem, moves us forward.
I really hope that people check into this idea because I believe it can make a difference in the valley that I love growing up in. I plan to stay here forever, and the health of this valley means a lot to me, my family and the countless people who live here. I want Eagle County to be a healthy place.