A booming, melodic voice rang through the auditorium inquiring, “are all the children in”? Reverend Kelly Wilkins presented this dilemma to us on multiple occasions throughout her keynote speech, and I sat there in awe at the point she presented. She interlaced the issue faced with my own and younger generations; that we are being left behind. This is becoming the ‘norm’ in multiple cases, and for my purpose I’m focusing on the issue of lacking exposure to environmental concerns. It is noticeable from walking around the Chesapeake Watershed Forum that environmental awareness seems to lie with the elders in our communities. This may be because they are witnesses to changes in the environment, and therefore feel obligated to assist in restoration projects. Yet all the same, why does it seem that younger individuals are unaware of this field, when we need the newer generations to fix the problems at hand?
Our current society is highly consumer based. We care about jobs and the economy over most issues that matter outside of the scope of our society. Children are taught about the importance of obtaining a job to pay for our overpriced clothing and over the top technologies. But why aren’t we teaching our children the importance of keeping chemicals out of our water ways and households? The environmental movement has been going strong for centuries, and still many do not understand this notion. I believe one of the largest problems we face is what Dr. Levin hopes we take away from this semester: asking the right questions. After all, this is the most effective way to learn, and I fear we do not implement this learning tool as often as we should. We have become wired to ask simple, non-invasive questions opposed to reaching the bottom of whatever the subject matter is. People no longer ask about the natural world around them, which is the fault of our society influencing older generations. I believe our society has done a great disservice to the people, filling minds with stuffing opposed to knowledge. If we accept this, there can be no hope for future generations. We are fed stories about what is safe for human consumption, but this information is brought to us by the corporations creating the chemicals, which are interested in solely creating a profit. But does anybody question this? Very few people do, and this has to change before we can see a change in the world. But children cannot do this on their own. We need our elders to join the cause and be willing to ask these questions, educating themselves before we can ask others to do the same. Our parents and grandparents have a responsibility to their children, to discover the issues at hand and spread the word. Share these stories with your loved ones, implore them to ask the right questions, accepting nothing less than the truth. And most of all, begin to wonder “are all the children in”?