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In fourth grade, I was forced to choose a profession for Career Day. I remember being overwhelmed by the vocations available to me. I could be a doctor, an engineer, a public accountant, or even a pilot. How could a nine-year old choose? Since then, many have told me to become a lawyer for the prestige. Others have told me to go into computer science for the money. Yet, I can’t imagine limiting my creativity to a profession that would not engage my greatest convictions.
One conviction I hold is that I want my generation to be ecologically prudent: to use little, and waste even less. To me, the idea of sustainability does not conjure thoughts of EPA restrictions and mass hysteria. Sustainability means a common sense lifestyle, promoting the best use of Earth’s resources. I enjoy seeing people grow from being apathetic to astounded when I tell them about novel ecofriendly innovations. I enjoy peeking at their contortedly amazed faces as I hand them business cards made of 100% elephant feces. Feces! Although others may not find beauty in this useless matter, I am fascinated by its transformation into this valuable commodity. This incites my desire to educate others about environmentalism.
My desire drives my work as the communications director of Mean(ing) Green, the University of North Texas’ sustainability organization. While representing my school, I coordinate events to educate UNT students regarding their carbon footprints. In alliance with the UNT Office of Sustainability and Eco-Representatives, this organization installed solar trash compactors in Denton and planted a natural dye garden. While educating students about how much energy they use may seem trivial, it has great implications.
My job shows me how I can change peoples’ mindsets. I want the American public to embrace sustainability. The idea stems from a statistic I found while studying for an ecology competition called the Project Green Challenge. The Sustainable Building Industry Council claims that American housing construction uses 20% of U.S. energy, and worldwide construction alone has depleted 25% of the world’s forests. This inspired me to cofound EcoRenovation, a developing business focused on introducing “green” products to the remodeling industry. As president, I have led this business to be a finalist at both the UNT Ventures Competition and the TCU Neely Values Contest. If successful, this business will market sustainable products (biodegradable plant liners, recycled material roof shingles, etc.) as an alternative to traditionally unrecyclable building materials.
Now as I look back to my fourth grade self, I tell him not to worry. He’s teaching people why they need 100% recycled business cards and guiding their transformations into becoming conservationists like himself.
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