Here we go- the prompt was to incorporate the Robert Frost poem " The Road not Taken" and then this other little excerpt from Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" into an essay about the destruction of the environment and what we can do to fix it blah blah blah.
Anyways, I guess I answered the prompt right and now I'm 1000$ richer.Jenk Jones Essay Contest Rules wrote:Based on these two literary references, respond to the following: Consider the impact of current environmental initiatives and the future of our planet. Consider what would happen if we continue down the same path that we are currently on without making any changes. Select a current issue facing our planet, e.g., climate change, nuclear energy, opening ANWAR, etc., and make a compelling argument why we should change our course of action and try a new course; one “less traveled by.”
Here is the essay that won. All criticism is appreciated.
Now there is only one road. A long time ago there was a divergence, a split in the path of our evolution as a race- as a society. We came upon this split heedless of its destination, of the paths' endpoints. Neither were extraordinary in appearance, and from neither, in our young ignorance, could we derive a hint as to where they might lead. So we, Humanity, made one seemingly innocuous decision; we picked one road over the other. And so our great venture began, led by explorers, settlers, farmers, and kings,- we forged ever onward into the unknown. Our eyes were caught by visions of a gilded road, of beauty, of prospect. The other path ran next to us, at some points within an arms reach, but as we progressed it strayed ever further away from our own- and we kept forging on. Even when our once easy gait was broken, stumbling over a crack, or a rock, or a tangle of vines; we kept forging onward until the gold was worn away by our heels, until the beauty's soul was broken, until the prospects were taken and used and discarded until nothing was left. Now we move forward not because of the promise, but because of the past. Before us, on this road we have chosen, lies death and behind us the path is choked off by our own refuse.
The rain forests are being cleared away, over a hundred species are driven to extinction with each passing day. For what reason? Lumber? Farming? We cry out to the politicians to save those from the genocides and atrocities of war and then turn right around and steal away the names of entire species who've lived here long before the dawn of man. We steal the breath of the forest and replace it with our own putrid, toxic gas. We are the harbingers of death not only to our environment, but to ourselves. We have wrought the genocide of the human race. How will we cry to the politicians when our lungs are choked in smog and tar? Each day our selfishness costs more and more and we are already in debt.
The easiest course of action is to push it away. Right now, the economic crisis is on the front page and it's easy for people to just “forget” when our future dangles in the balance all the way back on page four. We have too many problems to deal with right now. We are too busy. Too tired. This is the attitude that allows injustice to go unpunished. This is the attitude that lets evil overtake honest men. This is the attitude that will be the end of the world. It could be said that “Now more than ever we need to act” but the truth is not so. We have been in the hotseat for quite some time now. Yesterday was the time to act. A year ago was the time to act. A lifetime ago was the time to act. We must but settle for now, because it is all we have left.
We are fast approaching an ultimatum. One that will decide whether humanity continues its existence on this green Earth. As Rachel Carson wrote, “The choice, after all, is ours to make”. We must decide when to stop crushing out the Rain forests. We must decide when to stop raking the earth's flesh, twisting and bending its bones into a steel sky. We must decide to wake up from our lazy slumber, exit our caves, and unite our peoples and prevent our doom. But before we decide, we must realize. We must realize that our home is not limited to where our possessions lie, but that our home is the entire earth. We must realize that we share this home with many creatures and each deserves respect. We must realize that our race has inherited this earth to not only use, but to protect. A farmer does not let his tools rust out in the rain; neither should we let our Earth fall into disrepair. We must realize we are masters of land, water, and air but we have the power to shape them. We must gather up our hope and forge it into a tool to save what is left of this world lest we be dragged down with it.
What came before was a road, a road less traveled. We cannot see it, but we know it was once there. It is in the dreams that are lost when we wake. It is in our passing thoughts. It beats in our hearts unfelt but we know it is there. Something scratches at the back of our minds- it is a conscience, not our own conscience, but the conscience of the world itself. We are inextricably drawn to it. We are led by astronauts, who seek more worlds to expand colonization and ease the dense population, scientists, who seek ways to regrow and rebuild the rain forests and many other forests, adventurers, who seek to rally support for the restoration of areas that are in danger of destruction, and politicians, who hear the cries of humanity even before they are yelled. This time we have no split in the road to choose from. So we are making our own. We will cut through the smoke and filth to lay down a road in memory of the one we lost, the one we didn't choose. We decide our own fate, as we always have before, but we decide our fate now with aged wisdom. And with this wisdom, fate will yield to us the gift of eternity with this Earth if we will only reach out and grab it.