THE Journal/PC Mall Green Light Essay Contest: Julia Mearsheimer

Green. When you hear this word, you may think of the seaweed at the bottom of the sea or of the crunchy grass under your bare feet. Not me, I think of recycling centers and reusable water bottles. This is because our planet in grave danger due to an ugly thing called global warming. I feel like that it is about time we did something about it. To take action, I have come up with the idea for an educational computer program aimed at elementary and middle school students called Green Leaf. This program will get you motivated to go green!

Why care?
To start, you have to know about your problem before you attack it and devise a solution. In this situation, global warming is the nemesis. This is when we produce too much carbon dioxide as a result of activities like burning fossil fuels and eliminating forests and trees. Due to the excess of carbon dioxide that is unable to escape our atmosphere, the Sun’s heat causes our planet to grow warmer. This heat causes a disturbance in the delicate balance of life on Earth. We need a solution to this huge dilemma our planet is facing. Who knows what will happen if these troubles do not cease?

What?
As you are now aware, there is only so much time before our planet goes south! Since this is greatly concern me, I have devised a plan for an environmental program titled “Green Leaf”. Green Leaf would be an online program for elementary and middle schools to promote an eco-savvy lifestyle among youths. This program is aimed at kids because, let’s face it, today’s children are our future. Green Leaf would motivate students and their teachers to work together and take steps towards creating an environmental-friendly community. So how exactly does this system work? The program’s philosophy is inspired by the online campaign of our next president, Barack Obama, except with a twist of my own. Each student would be able to create accounts on the Green Leaf program. They would make a profile about their environmental views--why they care and how they plan to take action, etc. Also, they could make a “goals page” on which they could list their personal goals for the Earth. Students could select from prewritten goals or write ones of their own. Then they would be able to form teams based on the similarities of their goals. The students would be able to track their progress both as individuals and as a class. On the school’s Green Leaf page, students and teachers would be able to view the progress of other classes. That way it would be viewed as a competition to make the most progress and those involved would become motivated.

Green Leaf would also establish a point system to keep participants eager to work throughout the whole year. Students would be able to earn points for their chores. For instance, if you recycle 30 cans, you get rewarded a specific amount of points. Teachers would be able to assign a goal amount of points that students could work for to earn reward. The rewards could range from something such as a homework pass to a gift certificate. The reward would be based on the teacher’s opinion and the intensity of the goal. Additionally, the Green Leaf program would recognize outstanding jobs of hard working students each year. These children would be rewarded with accolades from the program deemed appropriate by program officials. This would prove that green living is worthwhile.

Also, this program would need to be educational. To accomplish this, the program would send teachers e-mail newsletters with ideas for the environmental projects and updates on the class’s progress. Plus, Green Leaf would provide fun, educational field trips to places such as forest preserves and nature museums. This program would not only make students aware of our environment, but also teach goal-setting skills, an important life lesson. And, for the convenience of students who do not live near recycling centers, recycling bins would be placed in schools to enforce the message: reduced, reuse, recycle. On the green Leaf Webpage, there would be randomly placed icons that, when clicked upon, would reveal articles about the state of our planet. Students would be able to rate the articles to ensure that Green Leaf was providing articles appealing to students. If students were learning about what is really going on, it would help get them interested in starting communities program too. Hopefully, this program would get the green-craze in motion.

Finally...
All in all, Green Leaf is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to preserving our home plane, Mother Earth. This program would be broadcasted by news programs to spread the word. That way, school administrators would become aware and look into starting the program at their location. And, if the common public found out about environmental efforts they would feel that they had the ability do it too. By providing students with the ability to make a change in the world for the better, environmental awareness will spread from the school to the community. This will promote great changes in the way we live.cas you can see, something needs to be done to reverse the effects of global warming and bring back seaweed and crunchy grass back into the definition of the word “green”.

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