1st Prize on 2011 International Essay Contest for Young People


Plant for Planet
(Original)

Aurona Sarker
(Age 14, Bangladesh)
Holy Cross Girls’ High School, Dhaka

It was a bright autumn afternoon. A flock of birds were chirping; the sun was glowing like a disk of gold. But neither the sound nor the sight was affecting me. I was standing numb beside my window with a blank look, watching the best companion of my childhood falling over with every strike of a cruel axe.

There was a “Krishnachura” tree beside my house. I grew up seeing this tree, which was also growing every year. It could be seen from my bed, so when I used to wake up in the morning, the first thing that I saw was the tree. I used to start my day with the sight of its beautiful green leaves. When I went to bed at night, it was dark all around. Still I looked at least once through the window to see it. I loved to stare at it, even in the deep darkness, because I knew the tree was there.

I saw its high branches were kissing the ground. In front of my eyes, it fell on its face. I was just a mute spectator, as the tree belonged to some other people. The lovely tree was cut over within an hour, creating an eternal emptiness. It just wasn’t an emptiness of that place; it was also the absence of a life from earth. I looked inside my room, where my little sister was sleeping peacefully in her cradle. Just like her, the tree had its life, its existence as a living creature even an hour before. Being stunned with what had happened, a thought struck me for the first time. I felt an intense pain, not only for the Krishnachura tree with which I was emotionally attached. I drowned in deep thought about the reckless nature of human beings. A big question arose in my mind. If we only concentrate on consuming for today and don’t think about tomorrow, won’t it be the beginning of our extinction? It’s true that by exploiting the environment we are getting some benefits right now. However, fulfilling these selfish motives will lead to the destruction of whole planet someday. Does the creation that took millions of years to build our planet deserve this kind of conclusion?

These thoughts brought a noticeable change to my view point. Earlier when I used to read or think about the problem, I only consoled myself saying that I have no hand in creating the problem and I also haven’t enough capability to do something for it. But after that incident, I began to think differently, because for the first time I felt the problem. I started doing little things, taking small steps. I had the feeling that as a daughter of mother earth, it is my responsibility to do whatever I can to save my mother. I began my doings by planting small trees and plants on our roof and garden. I started giving plants to my friends as birthday present instead of video games. I shared my thoughts with everyone around me. I told them that the pleasure of nurturing a plant and bringing it up is a joy forever. Gradually they also started to think and feel in the same way. We did all the small things that we could. We arranged an inter-class art competition in our school with the help of our drawing teacher. And the theme of the competition was “Your Dream Garden”.

Those little steps began to bring a meaningful change to our surrounding environment as we worked all together. Day by day, our neighborhood children and our other classmates also became inspired to see us. We sat together often and discussed what we can do for the environment. We decided not to keep the tap open while brushing teeth. One of us used to eat a lot of junk foods, only for pleasure. She said that she won’t do that anymore. We all started to go to school by school bus or other public transport. We tried to save electricity as much as we can by switching the light, fan, computer off when not being used.

I had lost my one friend in the hand of some cruel people, but I transformed that pain into a promise. I promised to save my planet in whatever way I can. Earlier my favorite color was blue, but now it is green. I dream of a green planet which will be free of pollution, where birds and animals will live freely. Green plants all over the world, I say to myself, “Plant for Planet!”

From GOI Peace Foundation

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