The elephant in the room lies right in front of us. As it takes up so much space, it will drop dung, it will urinate, it will need to sleep, eat, whatever. Thinking about it, all those inconveniences would vanish if we could just make it a stuffed animal: same size, same look.

The problem that takes up so much volume is going to have to take up that volume; we can’t change that. What we can change is its substance.

Simply put, the name of the game is changing the elephant’s influence on the room.

No matter the parameters, regulations, or legal attacks on wherever the elephants come from, they are going to come in that size. We can only choose whether it’s living or not. What we have is an inevitability, elephants as a whole are going to be made; for the best or for the worst. We just need to make sure they’re stuffed toys. We need to make sure they’re the stuffed toys that can fill the same volume and please the same people. But what’s most important is the toy’s ability to lack the inconveniences a living one lugs along. If we can please the same people, fulfill the previous elephant’s job and efficiently make this prop elephant, our society will triumph.

Why. What was the motive? What incentive? Elephant droppings stink, the urine stings our nostrils, the elephant needs constant oxygen and essentials to thrive; Why please the displeasure? It turns the room rancid, the wastes and commotion. As people scurry the cramped room to feed the animal- to tend to their treasure, they stomp on the droppings and slip on urine. Society treads on dung as their prize flourishes. They demand change. They demand a spotless room that doesn’t reek of excrement. Suddenly, society finds the existence of a stuffed animal that looks meticulously identical. It gifts its fresh scent, its fur absorbs dirt, it’s a change that pleases without displeasing. Society understands the current problems, further understanding a solution that benefits the future. In and of itself, the existence of a solution promotes an initiative. The brilliant toy elephant gives them a goal to pursue, to seek a healthier alternative that provides the same happiness.

The room has elephants; The earth has plastics.

Polymers are a staple in our society. Polymers run the show; they carry ‘A’ to ‘B’ while merely carrying humanity’s existence. The world’s economy is solely a system of imports of exports. Planes fly the goods, trucks drive the goods, plastics secure the goods, people open the plastics. And the plastics? After their journey, what happens to them?

Whether it’s packaging, daily use, or whatever the case may be, the twenty-first century runs on plastics, we’ll never change that.

What we can change is ourselves.

Mimicking the elephant society, that’s what we can do. We find our fluffy, stuffed alternative; we find the filth in our world and motivate ourselves. Our market world is going to stay, but our dated perspectives won’t.

Essay by: Carson Liu
Mountain Ridge High School

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