How young people can care for the environment

As the years progress we hear about more and more environmental disasters caused by humanity’s mistreatment of the planet.

Just this year, droughts, Hurricane Sandy and home-destroying fires in Colorado, all linked to our warming planet, have taken a huge toll on our country.

Although the media exposes and covers them broadly, many youth do the minimum to aid in conserving our planet. As shocking as it might seem, I think teenagers are not putting effort into reducing, reusing and recycling. What is the cause of this pervasive sense of indifference? Is their lack of caring for the planet’s current state a result of the many technological advances that have occurred in recent decades? Are all of these distractions the reason teens don’t worry about the effect we have on our environment?

Although technology greatly impacts how we live our lives and it has helped facilitate our everyday tasks, I believe youth’s reliance on it perpetuates inaction. In turn, this reliance has negatively impacted our environment. People stopped noticing nature even more with the development of the computer. This leap in technology enables us to see images of any landscape instantaneously and allows them to ignore our rivers running dry from environmental contamination. Computers, cell phones, cars, the Internet and many other revolutionary inventions lead to people cooped up indoors and tuning out the beauty of nature. Instead of going outside and exploring nature, we stay indoors and submerge ourselves into the world of the Internet. Our everyday use of so many machines has also changed our social lives.

This “virtual social life” distracts us from what is really going on in the world. We ignore the events that affect us daily and allow them to progress as time goes on. The Internet plays a major role in shaping our society and world.

The cars of a big city like Fresno greatly contribute to the poor air quality in our area. Another great contributor to our air quality is the valley’s geography. Fresno is surrounded by mountains that cause smog to accumulate here.

“At one point my son was in the hospital for five days because of an asthma attack,” said Kimberly Hau, Edison High School’s Environmental Awareness Club adviser. Learning about Hau’s experience with environmental health effects, it was horrifying to find that more than one fifth of all children in the valley suffer from asthma and that this is a part of everyday life for many living in the Central Valley. The valley’s air quality affects us more than we realize and we as a community can work to prevent the health problems that affect us. Fresno’s geography cannot be changed but what Fresno’s community is doing can be improved.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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