Hi, my name is Todd, and just turned 10 years old about a month ago. I have a dog named Zack, and my three best friends are Zach, Thomas, and Jake (my cousin). I have two siblings, Danny and Ali. My favorite sports are soccer, basketball, running, and skiing, and my favorite sports team is the Pittsburgh Steelers by far. My favorite player is Juju Smith-Schuster, and one of the reasons that I’m so excited about this contest is that Juju is a big part of it. The other big reason is that I like doing my part to help my community and the environment. I get my love for the environment from my dad, who got his love of the environment from his dad, my Papa, who passed away in 2016 from Alzheimer's. Papa grew up in McMurray, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh and was a big Steelers fan. I wish that he was still around, but every time I do something good for our planet or cheer for the Steelers, I think about him and know that he’s looking down on me and smiling.
I try to help the environment in many ways. Here are a few that I will explain later in this essay:
• When I was really young (5 or 6), I often picked up litter at playgrounds instead of actually playing.
• When my family and I go to Steelers or Cornell or Princeton football games and the game is over, I pick up garbage in the stadium until security asks us to leave.
• If I see grown-ups drop garbage on the ground, I ask them to pick it up… and I always try to be polite!
• I pick up garbage whenever and wherever I see it, and a couple of times a month, my dad and I walk along the roads and trails in our town and pick up trash.
• My dad, my sister, and I make signs saying things like “please keep our planet clean,” “if you see litter, please pick it up,” etc. and put them around our community.
• While running in a local 5K, I picked up little water cups and threw them on my front lawn (I collected them later) even though I knew that it would cost me time.
• I came up with 12 tips to save the environment.
I don’t know a lot about this, but my mom told me that when I was 5 or 6 and she took me to playgrounds, I would spend a lot of my time picking up trash. I loved to play on the jungle gym and swings, but seeing litter made me sad, so I cleaned it up.
As I said, my family and I love the Steelers and my dad went to Cornell and my mom went to Princeton, so we go to a lot of their football games. At the end of the games, I stay in the stands and pick up as much trash as possible. Then I haul it to the garbage cans and recycling bins. The security guards smile at me when they see me working, but eventually they say that I have to leave because the stadium is closing.
I ask grown-ups to pick up the trash they drop. I try to be as polite as possible, but I don’t worry too much that they’ll think of me as annoying unless they are my friends' parents.
I pick up garbage when I see it, and I walk around my hometown with my dad to try to keep the roads and trails clean. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do this very much in the last month because of the coronavirus, but I hope that I can again soon. With my dad, I planned to organize an Earth Day community clean-up and to ask my friends from school, Cub Scouts, and soccer, my family, the local Boy Scout troops, and my neighbors to help, but we have to wait to do it until the coronavirus is under control.
My dad, my sister and I make signs with phrases encouraging people to think about our planet and help keep our community clean. We’ve put them up around Chester, our town, and I’ve noticed that they’ve helped in the areas where we put them.
While running in a 5K race (I love running) that went through my neighborhood, I picked up the little water cups that people dropped on the ground and put them on my front yard so that I could throw them away after the race. I didn’t get as fast a time as I had wanted, but it didn’t matter to me because I knew that I had helped.
I created a list of “Todd’s Top 12 Tips for Saving the Environment” and shared them with my family and friends. My school principal liked them, so she decided to read them on the morning announcements so that everyone in school could hear them and hopefully use them. Here they are:
- Pick up litter when you see it.
- Buy or tell your parents to buy food with less packaging.
- Recycle plastic if it has one of these numbers: 1, 2 or 5.
- Buy fresh produce instead of canned fruit and veggies.
- Buy a reusable water bottle to save all of the non-reusable ones that often end up in the ocean.
- If you are going a short distance, use a bike instead of a car to save gas. This tip also saves money, and it can help you stay healthy.
- Don’t buy things made with palm oil.
- Support or donate to groups that work to protect the environment, like the World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic, and the Snow Leopard Trust (the snow leopard is one of my favorite animals).
- Don’t buy things made in a big factory because they create a lot of pollution. You can buy things from smaller local companies that cause less pollution, partly because they don’t have to use lots of gas to get their products to you.
- Read about the environment because you will probably learn something and might think of a new way to help.
- Use public transportation because if a bus carries 50 passengers, it could save the gas from 49 cars.
- If you are writing a story, book, or song, write it online so that you save paper. Also, it’s hard to lose something online, but you can easily lose the piece of paper that you’re writing on.
Thank you for putting on this contest and for encouraging kids to help their communities and the entire world. And thanks to my family for helping me with this essay.