b. My favorite season is winter. I live in Arizona so I think being surrounded by constant heat is something from which I should take a break once in a while. Although I am not accustomed to extreme cold, such as below-zero temperatures, I find an immense appreciation for the aspects that come with the amazing season, including falling snow and longer nights. I still remember being in fourth grade and the outside temperature plummeted to sixteen degrees, the coldest temperature I had ever experienced in my entire life. Still in my youth, I was quite reluctant to adjust with the sudden change in the Arizona climate. I wanted to be as warm as possible. What I did not realize then that I do now is the splendor that surrounds the cold. The cold gives us the opportunity to look up to the stars for longer periods of time during the night, to spend more hours with family and friends, and to reflect on the year soon to be concluded. Now, a senior in high school, embarking on my next journey, “College”, winter does not feel the same. It has not felt the same in a long time and for one particular reason: climate change. Each day, thousands of animals and plants are overcome by the ruthless acts of human beings and our rapid consumption of resources, especially fossil fuels. As a result, average global temperatures have risen tremendously in the past decade, with only even more horrendous events to follow in the near future. What can we do? Politicians have vowed to combat this impending issue but are distracted by their public notoriety and prominence. Activists like Greta Thunberg of Sweden have made countless efforts to express their concern over the imminent crisis through peaceful protests and worldwide conferences, yet there has been little progress. I myself have committed to confronting environmental catastrophe; but, in the end, what can I do? I’m just one person among several billions. My opinion, as many others, has gone unheard. However, I think it’s safe to say that humans are the world’s worst virus. We are so wasteful and unappreciative of the fact that Earth is our home. It may as well be our only home. So, as a species, for the sake of our planet and the future of civilization, a united front on the climate crisis has never been more imperative. We only have so little time. Let’s make it count. One way we can initiate this vital change is through the promotion of more environmentally friendly packaging. Although the manufacturing of this kind of packaging tends to be more expensive than the more obvious, “economically friendly” resources to which we have grown accustomed, in the long term, there are numerous benefits; an example being the environment. Plastic has been one of the leading causes of death in many marine species over the course of the past decade. Thousands upon thousands of marine life have washed up on our shores in desperate need of salvation. With a reduction of plastic packaging and a move towards more efficient resources, these animals would have a chance; a chance at life. Marine habitats would then have the ability to rehabilitate and grow in prominence. Biodiversity in our oceans would be restored, not to mention the economic benefit. With a drastic shift in packaging behavior, numerous jobs across all aspects of industry would emerge, along with production efficiency that would reduce costs and promote economic growth. But we must begin now. If we wish to see our children grow in the future, and enjoy the seasons, make memories, or even simply spending time with family, ‘now’ has never been the more appropriate time. We have the chance to change our future. Let us not mishandle the opportunities that lie ahead.

Essay by: Sebastian Isaac Montano
University High School

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