Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Teenagers on a Quest to Save the Planet, One Park at a Time.

A definition of a teenager composed by a parent: 
"A young individual, stuck in an awkward phase of self-discovery; self-absorbedness and personal development. One who likes to think of himself/herself as an adult, but acts otherwise."

It is a sad reality, adults (both parents and family friends alike) share a generally common idea about us. We are wasteful, sometimes selfish and often unappreciative of the opportunities handed to us on silver platters. It is not too often that you hear about teenagers saving the world, or teenagers fighting for a good cause. It hurts to think, that that minuscule minority of teens who want to take responsibility are never spoken or heard of. This upcoming generation has been born to put such opinions to sleep.

A group of girls within Westville Girls' High School, who like to be called by the alias 'Eco Girls' have, for many years, been trying to raise awareness in the Westville community about environmental issues. This year we have/are dealing with alien plants in our home gardens.
As a popular saying says, 'Start small,' our girls have done just that. Every Tuesday afternoon, we spend an hour and a half at Jubilee Park: planting new indigenous plants in replacement of alien plants, weeding an allocated area- exploring nature as it should be.

These past two weeks have been particularly exciting. After speaking to Mariam and John, two environmentalists who have made Jubilee Park their home away from home in America, something urgent was brought to our attention. The water running through the park apparently came in many variations: some streams appeared clean enough to drink, some with an oily lustrous coating and others with orange-yellow slime.

Mariam and John are the park's salvation, their concern was understandable. We collected three samples of water from various streams, took these samples back to school and had them tested for organic materials. Our findings were interesting but lacked obvious expertise when Louise (a professional microbiologist), asked us to explain what exactly were our findings and what we had tested for. We had to collect a second batch of samples in sterile containers, with lids wrapped in foil to ensure there would be no contamination. We trudged through the park and collected six samples this time, which ensured that our results would be more effective and accurate. These samples were labeled A-F and stored in a refrigerator overnight till they could be dropped off at the laboratory. A map was drawn to indicate where each of six samples was collected.

Once all the scientific work was done, we were given the opportunity to plant trees. Come to think of it, that is a big responsibility: nurturing a tree may equate to teenage pregnancy. A tree may not demand as much attention as a new born infant, but it demands a lifetime's worth of attention.

We are Eco Girls: saving the planet one tree, one park at a time. 

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