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"Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES): A Preface"

By: Evan Dickerson
Paramus High School

It was a fateful day, on July 20th, 1969 as Americans everywhere sat glued to their television sets. The United States had finally done it. The all-veteran crew of lunar pioneers had taken their first steps upon the dusty surface of Earth's giant organic satellite. But the footprint left by Neil Armstrong's boot was more than just cosmetic. The Apollo 11 moon landing was revolutionary in the way that American's saw the world. There was an unspoken understanding throughout the country of the immense capabilities of man. Neil Armstrong said it best himself when he categorized his monumental achievement as "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Firstly, In no way am I saying human innovation began in the '60s with the moon landing, but something about leaving the world entirely gave Mother Earth a very real feeling. Like a berry hanging exposed on the branch of a shrub, Earth sat in its orbit along side its desolate and inhospitable kin. Yet unlike the fiery gasses of Venus and the immense crags and rugged landscape of Mars, Earth stood alone as the only planet of the nine able to support life. She cared for her inhabitants for hundreds of millions of years as they grew bigger and faster, and smarter. Although these planetary travelers prospered under the protection of the Great Planet, they were not without their sufferings. They had to endure a meteor strike so immense that it drove nearly all of them to extinction, and ice ages that attempted to freeze all that remained. Yet, the creatures survived, and continued to thrive. Eventually, after millions and millions of years, the children of Mother Earth evolved into humans. These humans were imaginative, and inventive, and began to realize the resources that their host so graciously provided.

Over time, humans grew more efficient at using their most prominent feature: their intelligence. They were able to manage their resources for ultimate productivity. During what is known as the Neolithic Era, humans were able to mass-produce food for themselves using farming techniques at the cost of habitats for other creatures of the planet. Mother Earth saw great changes to her landscape. No longer was her environment perfectly cyclical, nor was she as beautiful as she once was, but what she did see was more and more humans. As their numbers increased and as they slowly began to strip the earth of her resources, another revolution would change the planet forever: The Industrial Revolution. Humans were now able to mass produce all kinds of goods instead of just food, but at an even greater cost. The burning of coal produced smog so volatile, it blocked out the Sun. No longer did it seem like Mother Earth's children were working with her. Now, they began to work against her.

With every creation and invention, it seemed as if there was far more regard for human progress than there was for the well being of the planet. Earth's pristine waters once as blue as the sky above them now held a sickly shade of brown. The forests that sheltered millions of animal species were now cleared out to make room for housing for the dominant humans. The soil that once contained enough nutrients to support an immensely diversified amount of plants was now stripped dry due to thousands of years of farming. And most terrifying, was the invention of the destroyer of worlds: nuclear warfare. The human race now had the capability of creating immense destruction to whomever they pleased. This, was the ultimate seal of human's disregard for it's eternally gracious host.

Now, as world leaders sit with their fingers on red buttons completely ready and willing to destroy the planet and all of her inhabitants, there must be those who stand against the destruction, and attempt to make amends with the planet for thousands of years worth of heedless damage. The time is now for a new revolution: The Environmental Revolution.

The goal of the Advanced Placement Environmental Science classes is to raise awareness for a need for this new revolution. Whether it be by creating recycling bins that are placed in hallways and classrooms all throughout the high school, or even simply performing labs that teach us the significance of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions or why inorganic fertilizers are harmful to the environment, the APES classes work to contribute to the survival of the human race, and the consolation of the planet. Although our individual contributions will not be visible, through fundraisers, operations of the HOPE club, and events such as "Recycle-Mania", we hope to create an awareness among the school of the significance of conservation, and action against desecration of the environment. And like those brave pioneers of cosmos, we must face environmental reform in small steps, to achieve the ultimate and continuous prosperity of mankind.

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