Two Options, One Choice

Service Learning Activity article, on cleaning up rivers, lakes and oceans.


Timothy Nguyen

The Dalai Lama once said that “It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live.” Today, many of us are not taking that responsibility, and as a result of our carelessness, the Earth is polluting. Water is becoming unsafe to drink. Air is becoming unsafe to breathe. Some people would argue that these facts are wrong because most of us are drinking water and breathing air perfectly fine. However, these people have their mind set on the present and have not considered the future. The Earth is slowly becoming less habitable, and we need to acknowledge that.

With that, action must be taken now. There are many methods on how we can help save our planet, but one effective solution is to clean up lakes, rivers, oceans and other bodies of water. We would organize groups of volunteers who would help clean up the water in our communities. With these efforts, not only would there be more clean water to use for drinking, cleaning and farming. There would also be an increased participation in saving the environment, and at the end of the day, that is the core of this problem. Environmental pollution is still around because while many of us acknowledge that it is a growing issue, we do not take much action around it. However, if our communities could step up to solve this issue, we could make lasting change.

To encourage this service learning activity, we need to start with the youth. The youth is the future of our planet, so if they learn how to care for the environment now, they can certainly keep those practices for a lifetime. Today, many children are focused on getting through school and playing video games indoors. There is not much focus on going outside to learn about important issues through community service. So, if we encourage our students to learn how to clean up the lakes, rivers and oceans in our communities, they will develop essential skills such as team-building and leadership that are not explored as deeply in the classroom. More importantly, they will learn the importance of giving back to the community that built them.

So, while not every student would want to participate in this activity, teachers would be able to influence a huge number of their students to further their education through an unconventional but effective method. With more and more students making a difference in the community, that will inspire more people to take action now before it is too late. Starting with a simple clean up is the first step toward a cleaner and safer future. At the end of the day, there is a choice that we must all make about the fate of our planet. Are we going to neglect the growing issue of environmental pollution, or are we going to step up now as leaders and work hard to save the only planet that we have? The choice is ours.