America is a superpower in the world we live in today. So much of the global economy and politics depend on us; as we also rely on the world. Now, we do not only rely on, but depend on other countries, for fossil fuel resources that near every country is willing to fight for and has fought wars for. If humans don’t die at the hands of these costly and fatal wars, than they die of their own destruction. Human beings of every nation suffocate themselves under a blanket of smog, which surrounds us. We now breathe this toxic air on a daily basis, adapting to it along with our children, the future generation. In the wake of this global distress cry from our earth, many countries have answered the call to find alternative means of supporting the lives we are now accustomed to. What can we do, as a super power? As America? We can fight back, through our leaders and everyday men and women, and make an Eco-friendly household the new norm in American life.
In simple terms, global warming is caused by the emission of carbon into the atmosphere, which traps heat from the suns rays; the greenhouse effect. Scientist believe since there is no reverse to the greenhouse effect, as displayed by our neighboring planet, Venus, we can slow down or stop trapping gases in the atmosphere by reducing pollution in the air, which is mainly caused by burning fossil fuels. The first step, to any big project like this, is education. Our government needs to do more to educate people, young and old, about reducing the amount of pollution and the effects of global warming. There are so many people who have heard false information or simply don’t know anything at all. In a new TIME/ ABC News/ Stanford University poll, 85% of respondents agree that global warming probably is happening (Time Magazine). Our presidential candidates discuss their ideas for global warming in their campaigns, but they don’t explain what it is. Since global warming is a part of all of our lives, we must educate every person with factual knowledge of exactly what global warming is and it’s long term, or short term consequences. This is no different and a campaign against youth smoking, drugs or bullying in schools; the key is to make clear what people might not otherwise know. Children smoked because they thought it was cool. They stopped once they learned about how it can ruin your life, or end it. Once their eyes are open the path becomes easier to follow.
The second step: Addressing the problem. Now people know what it is, but why does it matter? sometimes pure facts aren’t enough for everyone, you have to make it personal. Americas overconsumption of fossil fuels effects everyone. Right now countries are fighting to keep their oil overseas. Big companies are buying and selling it, making fortunes. Countries are building their economies around it, like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. These same countries are fighting wars to protect it, while others fight for more of it. When you think global warming doesn’t immediately effect you, think of a friend or family member in Iraq. We are addicted to this oil, we can’t imagine life without it, we feel like we need it. As people die on battlefields, the earth dies a little with every gallon that is drilled, processed, sold, transported, and burned into the air. Then, theres the economic aspect of oil and fossil fuels. We pay thousands of dollars every year to other countries. As the days go by our gas prices right here in the states rise. Keep in mind that oil is exhaustible. We can run out; one day, we will run out. When we still rely on something when it is rare to find, people become ravenous for it, and with that desperation comes people who will take advantage of it, with more high process. The problems we face and the problems which cause global warming are one in the same. To fix one will drastically improve the other.
Which leads to the third step: Finding the solutions. One of the main problems we face with fossil fuels is the cost. We ship much of our crude oil from overseas in South West Asia. The cost for acquiring the oil alone has skyrocketed in recent years, and then you must add the cost of transporting and processing. Subsidies to energy R&D cost taxpayers millions of dollars while producing minimal benefits. While these programs may be relatively small given the size of domestic energy markets, they serve little, if any, useful purpose while subsidizing large corporations at taxpayer expense(Global Warming). In the United States, we do have our own means of drilling for oil in our own territory; however, we do try to. Use our resources sparingly and we could not provide for the entire country purely on our own when it comes to fossil fuels. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will bring new jobs and reduce air pollution. We can’t afford to wait (NRDC). Right now scientists are in a race to find an alternate source of energy. One which is in abundance here but does not run our quickly, or at all. We are turning to solar power to charge electricity in our homes. As we know, the sun’s energy will still be around for years to come and always in abundance. We have already found ways around places that don’t receive as much sunlight, such as rainy Seattle. In some places you can see giant windmills, powering cities with every rotation. Now, some cars don’t even need gasoline; they can run on pure electricity, which lasts longer and doesn’t pollute the air. Soon there can be solar powered cars, and batteries will be a thing of the past with everyday items.
The final step is to make the solutions more accessible. At the moment, all of this eco-friendly technology is very new. In our current economy people might be mislead into thinking the only way to save the planet is to buy a costly new car or completely remodel your home. In reality there are little things that any average Joe can do. Many people and governments are already working hard to cut greenhouse gases, and everyone can help (National Geographic). The popular childrens stations Nickelodeon and Disney Channel have been getting children interested in their enviornment and how to protect it. Disney now has Friends for Change, which consisted of celebrities who work for the channel encouraging kids to make an active effort in their own communities to help the environment. Kids were also encouraged by contests Disney held for schools who make a remarkable and creative difference in helping everyone be green. Meanwhile, Nickelodeon made an internet campaign which showed kids just how easy it is to save energy everyday, with little things like turning off the lights and electronics when not using them, unplugging cords which aren’t being used, and keeping an eye on your thermostat by making it warmer in summer and cooler in winter rather than going extreme in either direction. Adults can get involved too. Many celebrities are making moves and encouraging others to recycle. Think how many people would put a compost bin in their backyard if they knew Amanda Seyfried and Lea Michel had one in People magazine. Making Eco-friendly things popular in today’s society will make it catch on faster. Even Leonardo DiCaprio made his own film about global warming, “The 11th Hour”. The aim is that people don’t find it hard and it can fit easily into their daily routines, helping the planet every day. Earth Day is a start, making helping the planet a holiday and an international event.
Our planet is beautiful and simple It has not religious or political stance. It’s has no opinions, criticisms or complaints. Most of all, our planet is generous. There is a book children read titled “The Giving Tree”, in which a tree gives a boy it’s fruit, its leaves, it’s branches, everything until there is nothing left. Our earth is reflecting that tree now. We have taken its forests and destroyed them for industry and manufacturing. We have taken it’s earth and torn and ravaged through it for common minerals which we raise prices on. We have taken its water and spill oil and trash in it, not aware of the other lives which depend on it. We have taken its air, and tampered with it. Now, we have to help it the way it has helped us. We can replant the forests, cut back on the mining, clean the water, and save our air, before there is nothing left. Now we have no excuses, we have solutions. The rest is up to us, and how much we want to repay the earth for everything it has given us: for being our giving tree.
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Seriously, detention is officially the most pointless form of punishment. I mean really, the first thing they tell you when you walk in is, “don’t read, don’t draw, no music and no talking.” The only activity that leaves us is to sit there and stare at a wall, which, as productive as that sounds, probably ends up killing more brain cells than you can count. If the people in here are already considered delinquents, why make them stupider; as opposed to letting them read or study, you prefer to make them more simple, which will just end them up back here, taking another of your afternoons, teachers! Aren’t you just digging yourself your own grave with this? I didn’t even, really, do anything terribly wrong, yet I’m sitting here, in an empty classroom with nothing but chairs for company, staring at mister Metternich for so long that I think I am subconsciously counting his nose hairs. Some are really long and grey… Okay, I have to stop this! At least what I did was worth it, not like a cell phone going off or bad mouthing the teacher. Amber Metternich is one of the coolest girls in the class: she has amazing blonde hair, big brown eyes, and, sure, she wears a bit of makeup, but come on, which girls don’t? Anyway, being the teacher’s daughter, she doesn’t look at a lot of guys, so you have to make her want you. So, when Metternich assigned the class to write something about Marie Antoinette, I figured it was a perfect opportunity. So the next day I actually volunteered to present first, which was when Metternich first started getting suspicious. Before I could take it back, he pressed the play button on my video. The entire class had the pleasure to witness me strumming on on the guitar and singing a self written song that, in actuality, had nothing to do with Marie Antoinette. If I can say nothing else, I can say I looked good, hair swooped to the side with a blue Ralph Lauren polo shirt and black jeans. The song was a little bit like a parody of What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction.
So there’s a queen
Who’s really mean
Living high while the people have nothing
But we got told
To write about her
But I think someone deserves a song first
Everyone on the planet hates Marie
But there’s someone here who’s way more cool
I’d rather wright a song
For a different girl
One who’s smart and funny
A real partier
Someone who’s sitting in the room right now
You should know you’re awesome
I think you really deserve this song
And before it moved on to actually say a little about the Queen of France, Metternich stopped it with a face more red than a solo cup! I swore sparks were going to fly from his grinding teeth. Meanwhile Amber is sitting there with her head in her hands and bobbing up and down. I really didn’t think it would embarrass her, but I guess in hindsight she’s a really shy person, so singing about her in front of the entire class might not have been the way to go. That Say Anything moment is what landed me in detention, and her dad has been giving me the stink eye for the past hour.
When I finally got to leave, I stopped by the teachers lounge to get a soda, and there was Amber. Sitting in the teachers lounge with her hair in a messy bun on top of her head and a really oversized sweatshirt. Man, she is truly awesome. She looked up at me and I could swear that violins are playing somewhere when she looks up and me and smiles, “Hey.” So was that really worth it, sitting in detention for 3 hours, being locked in a room with her father and the most unproductive punishment established by school systems? Yes! It turns out she thought that was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for her, and the bravest. She gave me her number and we’ve been happily texting all night. Then, I woke up to the sound of a heavy book on a table and Metternich saying “Detention’s over Casanova.”
When considering the true definition of Ambition, let us look to Julius Caesar. The play is a perfect example of how too much ambition hurts us and hurts those around us. Brutus killed a good man and great companion in his quest to keep Rome a republic; in contrast, Caesar was killed by his ambition (according to Cacius) to be a great leader. This strong will and emotion leads us to do crazy things even if we start with good intent. It skewers our conscience, leaving us vulnerable to madness. Still, without ambition, or with a lack of it, like we see in today’s youth, we are next to nothing. Ambition drives us forward, pulling us closer to our goals, allowing us to take the next step further and higher up the ladder. So this Ambition is a tricky, deceptive mistress who is hard to contain. More often than not, a surplus of ambition leads us to our own downfall.
The good ambition
Ambition is not all bad. We must look at a world without any ambition whatsoever to know what a truly great thing it is. Where would we be without automobiles, the telephone, steamboats, even electricity itself. You can make a more common analogy to great innovators like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. These were all little men and little people at first, but with a little push forward by that human ambition which made them great: turning electricity into controllable energy, the T-bird into the Hummer (more luxurious but a bit of a step back in terms of mileage), the biplane to a Boeing 747, and cable phones into smart phones which we barely even use for calling. Through ambition, athletes break world records, new discoveries in the world and science and space are made. Through ambition we become our best and the world’s best.
When it crosses the line
Now ambition is all good and fun on a small level, but in our strive for greatness, human beings never stay small. Soon enough, being a mailman or window washer isn’t good enough. The main character in the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, J. Pierrepont Finch is a lowly window washer who wishes to achieve a higher job with higher pay. He slowly rises from Mailroom, to Junior Assistant, to Vice President! In his quest to be on top, he lies about being an alumnus of “Old Ivy”, sticks the President’s boss as head of the mail room, sets up a man with the President’s mistress, and gets the Vice President of Advertizing fired. While he had a noble cause, he did anything and said anything to get to his place at the top, which proved to be Finch’s fatal flaw when he took Bud Frump’s idea and it backfired. Ambition is really a toxin for its user once it begins to harm other people. Like the ancient Roman Empire, too much ambition will not take you down through itself, but rather through the enemies you’ve made through it.
Ah, poor Caesar, to be stabbed in the back by people whom he thought close to him, he was betrayed in a very foul manner. One by one, he saw the faces of his friends, turned enemies, in his last dying breath. When questioned, Brutus and Cacius thought that they were not to blame: Caesar’s own ambition was his downfall. However, what was his ambition? Did he really want to be king of rome, even after turning down the crown three times already. Caesar didn’t seem to want an actual title, but rather, he wanted to be a royal figure, a local celebrity, the biggest fish in the pond. This ambition is not necessarily a murder worthy one, still, it isn’t the most noble either. Many people nowadays strive for this fame, they love it, the power and attention. Many people feel that too many children are being put into the acting system or other talent programs at a far too early age. Most people who fear this fear the thought of these child stars growing up in bad surroundings and losing their childhood, becoming obsessed with fame and keeping themselves in the spotlight. This is, like Caesar, mot a bad thing until like most children they seek negative attention rather than positive attention. An ambition to be famous or beloved is not a great one, because along the way you will keep fighting for it, never stopping to achieve it. Fame becomes your drug, and you feel like you need it to go on, and along the way it will give you some jealous enemies.
Ambition, pushing us to the moon, pushing us to the best, it just pushes us. When we take this push and instead of pushing ourselves push the limits we can fall to the other side quickly. We fall to the side that gains us enemies, flaws, and addiction. We cant stop once we are on the side of ambition which is beyond our control. Yes, let us look to Julius Caesar when thinking of our own ambition. Let us look to him as a lesson, as a caution and as a warning. We must learn from the mistakes of Caesar and his enemies so that we may not be lost in our ambition, drowned by it and addicted to it.
In America today there is a very large divorce rate. Some because of abuse, others because of accidental Vegas Marriages, most because couples simply lose their lust for one another. Even with an increasing divorce rate, couples are becoming engaged and even married as young as High School! In some cultures, this is because of an arranged Marriages, which should benefit both families economically. There is growing controversy all over the world about legalizing gay marriage. Some feel like marriage is more personal, and that it is a connection between the couple and God (or simply very personal if you don’t believe in that). So in light of Valentines Day, is Marriage for the Passionate or Prudent? As a romantic, I agree with the first.
Most people can remember Marilyn Monroe’s stunning performance in the 1953 hit,” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. She plays a ritzy girl who likes the high collar end of life, even going as far to marry a boy with a big inheritance. His father sees this and tries to steer his son away from her in fear of her gold digging characteristic. When criticized up front by the father, Marilyn’s character defends herself with
Esmond Sr.: Have you got the nerve to tell me you don’t want to marry my son for his money?
Lorelei Lee: It’s true.
Esmond Sr.: Then what do you want to marry him for?
Lorelei Lee: I want to marry him for YOUR money.
Lorelei Lee: Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?
Putting the humor aside, Marilyn also says, “if you had a daughter, wouldn’t you want her to marry well- a man who can support her? Why shouldn’t I want that for myself?” And, low and behold, Lorelei had a point. But, in the end, she did fall in love with Esmond, without her intention. He loved her even though everyone else questioned her and he would love her forever, and that’s what made her want to marry him. Even if the relationship started arranged and by the size of his wallet, she got the ring when she realized her true feelings for the boy as well.
In the Orthodox Jewish tradition, there is a Shidduch. It is a system of matchmaking within the community for marriage purposes. It is one of the main focuses of another classic, “Fiddler on the Roof”. The eldest daughter voices concerns to her mother over matches as the matchmaker, Yenta, arrives. She complains about the ‘last one’ being“So old, and bald… he had no Hair! To which her mother responds
A husband is not to look at, A husband is to get!
Which reminds us that marriage was not always so lovey-dovey. Originally it was for a simple family arrangement. Of course most cultures had some sort of matchmaker who would at least try to find good men, for those who could afford it. It was more of how well you could live, rather than how much you liked them. And why? Maybe because emotions don’t last very long in most cases. As we change, our minds change with us. We always seem to regret the decisions we made as teenagers, and then, marriage was a permanent thing, not a simple divorce to be had. If you fell in love with a poor farm boy and married him, and found the next day that your “love” wasn’t that strong, you’re stuck. Even if “you have to look at your husband sometime”, an old man who can take care of you, who you never liked in the first place sounds reasonable.
So,why do we take the risk of making a huge mistake? Because the reward is priceless. You can’t understand the look elderly couples have in their eyes, remembering all of the years they’ve had together, the children they raised together; the memories and lives they shared, all sealed always after years in those eyes. They have this magical ability to not even say a word to each others, but just be happy in their own presence. They know each other better than anyone else on the earth. That’s the ultimate goal. Do we always achieve it, no. But isn’t it worth it to find that kind of happiness? Most definitely. It’s a rush, and a journey well worth taking.
Tzeitel and Motel from Fiddler on the Roof
A rising issue in America, hidden, and lurks in the shadows, unseen, and not discussed; We see our athletes in the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL everyday, for some sports fans, its almost as if these athletes live in their own homes. Our children want to be like them and aspire to their greatness and fame; however now these athletes have taken a more infamous route. More and more athletes nowadays have been caught using Steroids, or Performance Enhancing Drugs. These are illegal in every sport in the United States and even potential hall-of-famers are taught this back in High School. This is a horrible reputation for athletes to gain, making them lose a fan-base, sponsors and even their jobs. What can we do to avoid this? It’s quite simple; Athletes should be tested more frequently, and test every athlete for Steroid or Drug use so that the games that we play and compete in are legitimate.
Most people would argue against this idea of Drug Testing more frequently. “Why do they all have to? Most of them don’t use steroids!” I find this statement to be true, most professional athletes do not use drugs; however there are those who do use them and have to take responsibility for their actions. Those who do not use drugs or steroids will come out negative in a test, so what do they have to fear? Also, some players might be offended if they are asked to take a test when no one else must. If we make this a requirement for all athletes, than they will not feel blamed or accused, it would simply be procedure. The point is, in fact, that there are honest players out there who play purely on talent, the extra precautions, extreme as they may seem, are to ensure that they are not robbed of titles or wins or simply their status in the league. It is quite shameful to find that someone who could have earned a title didn’t simply because another person cheated. In my eyes, sports are very romantic and have a very Renaissance feeling about it. It’s about pushing mankind to achieve some kind of greatness, to push the boundaries of what we thought physically possible. Why disgrace this noble idea with drugs, inhuman additions, which doesn’t prove anything except the fact that you can take a kind of medicine.
The best possible outcome for this would be to eliminate usage altogether. Most athletes don’t realize that these “Performance Enhancers” do not only make the game unfair; they’re harmful. They harm the athlete and those close to them. Athletes use steroids to increase their aggressiveness and energy; however this doesn’t turn off once you leave the field. Steroids can make a person, immediately, burst into fits of rage, harming spouses and partners. They can become more isolated, slowly sinking away from everyone else, pushing away the ones they love. These drugs throw off the balance of testosterone and ultimately damage the player, inside and out, mentally and physically.
Some athletes feel as though this is a violation of their privacy. Honestly, its not that hard to take a drug test, and if its regulation than it’s nothing against you personally, simply standard. Most athletes have been taking these tests since high school or earlier, so why do they get so nervous about this. Over the years there have been various scandals of high school football teams in situations where coaches encouraged their players to use steroids. Some professional players may have been told this and feel that it is either okay to use these or they feel like they need them. These are the rules, for safety and fairness, we only want to assure that the game is being played fairly. A message to all athletes, imagine Timmy Markhoitz, screaming his hear off in the crowd. Hes not cheering for pills and needles, he’s cheering for you. He wants to be like you. Ask yourself, do you want him to be like you?