2008 – Eighth Grade Second Place:

Matthew Johnson, Minnesota.

Is global warming the greatest challenge facing humankind?

The world of today poses many challenges and problems that humankind
must overcome. Among these challenges are greed, poverty, global
warming, war, and prejudice. The question is, what is the greatest
challenge that humankind is facing? In my opinion, the greatest
challenge humankind is facing is our inability to make decisions based
on their long-term global impact.

All of our problems seem to stem from people making decisions
without enough thought. Imagine a garden in which flowers symbolize
the progress that humankind has made throughout history. But as the
flowers' seeds spread and develop into more advanced growth, new weeds
appear, too. The weeds can destroy or hinder the growth of the
flowers. If you exterminate a weed as soon as you realize it is
there, it is usually a simple process. However, if you ignore a weed
it will continue to grow and send out new shoots. Over time, it will
develop a deep grip and strong roots that make it extremely difficult
to remove. After the weed's roots grow deep, removing it may cause
damage to the surrounding flowers. Since, in one way or another, all
the visible weeds are connected to the same root structure, there is a
very large problem. Even though you pull our one part of the weed,
the larger organism will survive and continue to grow. Eventually,
one weed, or the entire system of weeds, will be too much for the
garden to withstand so the flowers will die and all progress will be
lost. The other part of the problem is that if we do try to remove
the giant weed, we must sacrifice nearly everything in order to be
sure that we are completely rid of it. We have many weeds that have
grown deep within our society.

Global warming, war, hate, and many other things are great weeds in
the garden of our human existence. We can work hard and perhaps
succeed in removing any problem that we may have, but it will take
sacrifice. Despite the sacrifices, we hav eno guarantee that the
problem will not return i ntime or that a new one will not take its
place. Many humans do not have either the strength and position or
the will to do what it takes to remove these problems. Since not
enough action is being taken to stop the problems of today and
tomorrow, they are infiltrating deeper into our society. eventually
it may be too late to stop the problems altogether. Until enough
people have the courage to do what it takes to stop the problems, they
will continue on, making things more difficult for all people. As we
wait, the price for removal grows greater and greater. It is only a
matter of time until it will be too late to weed the garden of
society, even if we give up everything.





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