Recently, I asked my students to write a letter about something they wanted to change in the world. They wrote some eloquent, passionate (and occasionally hilarious) letters about everything from dog parks (Seattle needs more of) to rice milk (Starbucks should offer for soy allergenic vegans) to tigers (should be saved). Something ignited in many of them, realizing they could share their opinions about something that mattered to them with someone — maybe even the president! — who might be able to do something about it. It was beautiful to see.
My student Jade took this assignment especially seriously, and poured her eloquence and caring into it. Jade is a bright-eyed, big-dreamed, strong-hearted girl, and her letter gives me a huge jolt of faith in the young people who are coming up, poised to lean their weight into the world.
With her permission, I want to share her letter. The prompt was mine, but the topic, research, fire, and words are hers. Read it, share it, act on it.
Dear Mr. Obama,
My name is Jade. I am eleven years old and I live in Seattle, WA. I am concerned about the proposed Enbridge pipeline through the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. The oil they will be mining is the dirtiest oil that we know of; the Tar Sands oil. In mining the tar sands, Enbridge would be making 1.8 billion liters of wastewater a day. The pipeline would cross over 700 streams and watersheds, causing erosion. The oil would be loaded onto super tankers and navigated at 15 knots between sandbars and reefs where there are frequently hurricane speed winds. A few years ago, a passenger ferry named Queen of the North sank off that coast. She is still leaking oil and the tankers would be three times the size and carrying a half billion gallons of oil. The oil would be shipped off to Asian markets; every one would buy cars and need the oil. Enbridge would not be able to stop.
Many of the First Nations people who live at the edge of the rain forest are hunters and fishers. With the traffic of 200 tankers a year, they would be waiting for when one sank, ruining their way of life. The spilled oil would also effect the whales, and the fish, and the water the land animals- like the Spirit Bear and gray wolves- depend on, drawing them all to extinction.
I live off the Puget Sound. I share the same water as the rain forest. The oil would affect ME. It would reach and harm the creatures even in the sound. You can’t ignore this. We as a planet cannot let something like this happen. This is where we live, where we belong. We have to take care of this earth.
I am interested in knowing what actions are being taken for this proposal.