Dinosaurs died a slow awkward death. How can death be awkward you ask? Well when you don’t evolve and adapt to the changing environment you have no choice but to hang your head in shame and watch the inevitable happen. How embarrassing it must have been for these creatures to realize they missed their opportunity to exist. Sure some the brontosaurus must have had a good laughed as the mighty T-Rex turned slowly into the chicken (or so it has been theorized where the chicken evolved from), but last I checked the world is overrun with poultry and the same can’t be said for those long- necked monsters. I would imagine that is the same way that most modern companies will feel if they don’t start changing and realizing it isn’t a comet that will end them, but their unwillingness to change to what their world is demanding because that world can no longer sustain them as they are today.

As the millennium moves quickly forward, my generation has been awakened to the fact that our Earth is in real danger. It does not take a young girl from Norway to send the alarm to us, we are very aware of the change to our environment, and unlike older generations we do not have the luxury to throw up our hands and ignore it, nor do we have the ability to say that the ends justify the means. Earlier generations, perhaps as early as Gen X, were aware that the environment was being affected by humans and most specifically their desire to develop their industries. They felt bad, at least I hope they did, but decided it was more important to keep developing their industries and the economy. The ends justifying the means. We feel differently, and not just because we are the unhappy recipients of the pollution that has been the result.

If industries today want to make it into the future and have economic viability they are going to have to change the way they do business. They are going to have to realize that the consumers of tomorrow aren’t just looking for the cheapest or the next big thing. We are looking for companies that are giving us an option to keep our world cleaner, so that we can still have a world. Environmentally friendly packaging is rapidly becoming a necessity for companies. If they are unwilling to evolve and offer up products that are not only something we would like to spend our money on, but also packaging them in a way that isn’t filling our landfills, we will use our voices and not purchase them.

Though this generation, the future consumers and sustainers of the economy, are not being heard now, it would be a mistake to think we will be quiet. We will demand better. Learning from the generations before us on how to effect change through our wallets, we will force better choices from the companies that are smart enough to meet our demands. No better example can be seen than that of McDonalds and their conversion from Styrofoam containers to paper. How hard will it be to get them to make that paper made from 100% recycled products? I would venture, if they want to keep those Big Mac rolling out the door, not very much.

Companies today can keep their arrogance. They can keep their heads in the leaves, picking the choicest ones, or they can look to the ground and realize what they are standing on and the meaning of it. The consequence if they do that will be a slow and hopefully awkward extinction. However, the companies that embrace the change, even if that means shrink their bright, bold packages, for sustainable no-dyed packaging, will find that they will not only survive, but prosper. Those that realize what we expect of the marketplace, including the items that hold it, will be able to lay several golden eggs.

Essay by: Riley Harold Schrader
Batavia High School

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