Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Letters to our leaders

The assignment:

Write a letter about environmental issues you are concerned about to someone you think has the power to make changes.

Excerpts from the letters of 4th and 5th graders below (with permission to reprint):
(most asked for return responses)

Dear President Bush,

"I think that cutting trees down from the forests, jungles, rainforests and woods is taking homes from animals. Why do people spill chemicals in our water if animals and people drink water? I think that since you're the President, you should start thinking more about the environment and animals."

"Polluting the water and air would be just the same as killing animals and us. So please ask people to stop cutting down trees and polluting."

"Why are gas prices high? Can't we find something more efficient that won't pollute the environment as much... my dad has to drive a lot. Put some money into finding a good resource that can help the environment."

"Global warming will make the ice caps melt making Florida sink into the sea....P.S. I didn't make up this science"

"Please lower the gas price. Some families cannot afford the gas price. Some people take the bus because the gas price is high. Why can't you spend money to solve this problem. In class we made solar ovens that did not use any fossil fuel."

"We need to stop polluting because the air is making it where we have a shorter life span. Instead of using non-renewable resources why can't we use renewable ones? We need you to do something."

"The pollution needs to stop. The pollution is killing animals, the earth, and people. Stop the people from littering and polluting the earth. Stop people from raising gas prices. Please make more renewable resources available and efficient to use."

"Global warming is real and serious and we have no time not to care about our future."

"Our State is polluted in different cities. It is horrible. So I am asking you to help."

"We should use less electricity because we burn fossil fuel to get electricity. Burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide into the air which causes global warming. I don't want my environment to be in danger, so please consider some of my solutions."

"I am writing because I am asking you to not make toxic foods, drinks and other things... Can you not cut down trees (where animals live)?"

"There is a problem and it is called Global warming. If the ice caps of Greenland melt Florida and Washington D.C. will be flooded. If the ice caps of Antarctica melt sea level will rise seventy meters and flood some of the tropics. Most of the population lives in the tropis"

"I am worried that we will run out of gas, we do not have that much oil saved."

"I think you should convince more people to use the renewable energy of wind so coal supply will not be limited when I am at least 40 years old (at the moment I am 11). If you get more businesses convinced to use the renewable energy wind, the environment will be cleaned up... YOU can get more people to change sources of energy if you tried."

"Please help because we like the Earth and we don't like flooding."

"Why isn't recycling mandatory?"

"Why are the gas prices going up? Do we not have enough for the future, well do we sir? Because this is keeping families from going on vacations and keeping up with their rent and bills sir"

Dear Oprah,

"I am very concerned about the air pollution in the city where I live, Columbus, Ohio. I heard on the news that Ohio was one of the most polluted states in the United States, I was very surprised"

"I think you should do a show about helping the environment. Like how people should start using renewable resources and nontoxic cleaning supplies and stuff like that. If people knew about renewable resources, maybe there wouldn't be Global Warming."

"Can you get some people that can help save the environment? The Earth is totally polluted. Oprah, please help our community before the pollution becomes unbearable. PLEASE HELP US!"

Monday, May 28, 2007

planning ahead...kilimanjaro

(photo from

Last week I wrote up research plans for Tanzania & Mount Kilimanjaro... (tackling an issue related to human health). I won't give away the details, but I will say this, have a vision. Keep in communication with those you admire/aspire. (in academia- your advisor, your committee).

Also, I planned some details of this study more than a year ago when I was first invited on the trip...but now the ideas have fermented for awhile. Putting it on paper makes me feel like I have one foot on Tanzanian soil, the other soon to join...

I will see the snows of Kilimanjaro, before they melt into legend.