Sunday, August 18, 2013
POPULAR (chapter seven: eco-systems)
We were extremely happy with Hilary’s makeover. Even Hilary was happy with it and she was skeptical at first.
I wrote, “a huge transformation…” in my journal and described the wispy highlights Ty added and the new clothes (my cast offs but they were totally designer) we found our new friend.
That evening, I realized we’d forgotten to prepare our first group project of the year. It was supposed to be a group presentation titled: Why We Need to Save the Environment Now. Our geography teacher, Ms Marks, was all on about global warming, so that’s what we wrote about. We messaged each other ideas on sub-topics from our different locations. By ten pm we had it underway. It had been a long and fruitful day.
While Tyler, Veronica and Hilary were putting together a mosaic of images of the way planet earth has changed this millennia (like, whole parts of Antarctica have eroded!), I imagined what Ms Marks could do to fix her dull image. Her hair was a mess and her cardigan actually had lunch stains near the buttons. She never smiled. I could have told her sometimes you need to fix the outside to fix the inside.
Earlier that day, during our class discussion, peeps started to challenge her theories on global warming and Ms Marks suggested they do their research more thoroughly. I thought about school being part of the eco-system and part of the world. Every time we used plastic in the lunch room and threw it away helped to create the potential for more damage. Tiny things created a ripple down effect.
I put my hand up, “Ms Marks, do you really think we should discuss politics in school?”
“Well, Honey, as long as we have a balanced discussion…it’s important to try to understand the world we live in.”
“I agree, it might help if we stopped using plastic – as much as possible – at Sunrise.”
When I kept asking questions and making suggestions, in the nicest possible way, she was all exasperated. Honestly, I don’t know what she expected. For the first time I was actually interested in her lesson. My teacher seemed to find my enthusiasm irritating.
“Honey Woodhouse, how would you like to take the class?”
I was dumbstruck - of course I didn’t want to do that. I mean, I told Ms Marks that teaching was not my job.
“Exactly”, Ms Marks agreed. I’m not sure my geography teacher and I got off to the best start. I think she was making fun of my ignorance about the topic and that’s not her job, either.
And then she was all, “okay everyone, so sit down in your seat, put your thinking cap on, do some research and tomorrow tell us about global warming and why it’s an important topic. Oh, and I’d like your informed opinion, Honey.”
“Sure, whatever,” I replied reluctantly under my breath.
I was so glad Hilary smiled at me, then. She must have known how I felt being made to look small and not very smart in the eyes of my peers.
That night, I googled ‘global warming’ and read all about it. It’s way wrong and slowly destroying planet earth. I hate the fact that when we throw plastic bags and other things away they end up in the eco-system and sometimes marine life (like, hundred year old turtles) eat them and the plastic blows up in their poor stomachs leaving them in excruciating agony and our human carelessness actually kills these amazing creatures. This was my epiphany.
I continued working on our project until it was midnight, researching and writing up every aspect of our argument. Always have an opinion, that’s what my daddy taught me. I wasn’t all just make-up and hair style advice.
In geography class, the next day, our group walked out front, stood tall and proud and with a loud voice I began:
“Global warming is here, it’s happening and it’s one of the most important topics our generation and future generations are going to face. How we treat our planet and precious species today is going to shape our world tomorrow…” some peeps (particularly Flynn Elton), clapped.
“First of all, a little bit of history… You need to know how much plane earth is deteriorating…” I showed them before and after photos of Antarctica.
I wasn’t all doom and gloom of course. Hilary, Ty and Jessica finished our talk with a host of things people could do to become environmentally conscious, if they weren’t doing them already. Like, always take your own containers to school and use cloth bags instead of plastic.
A few boys groaned when I finished speaking, but most of the class sat still and listened and by the end, our group got clapped by the entire class. I was way proud to have turned my ignorance into knowledge.
We sat down after our group talk. It’s always good to do your research but then leave your audience wanting more. I could see my geography teacher’s expression change. It’s also good to surpass people’s biased opinions of you. I was proud my group aced the research for this topic. I would totally call myself environmentally friendly now.
After school, I told Ethan about my class and he just groaned, “I explained all of this stuff to you years ago, but you never listened.”
“Well, this time, I did my own research.”
Little did he know, I had a list of many more excellent facts about our school environment to report on. I finished off Ms Marks’ profile that night but put it on hold. Some people need to want to be helped and I had a feeling Ms Marks knew her own mind and made her own choices. She could wait and maybe by the time she was ready to change she wouldn’t need my help. Then, there was a whole list of other people; so many forms to fill out, questions to be answered.
I fell asleep with pages of my paper spread across my pillows.