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  • Susan Russell

Saplings of Positivity

Over my time as a high schooler, and more specifically as a young person, I have found we as youth are surrounded by a culture of pessimism. With widespread access to digital news media at any point in time, most of which is designed to instill a negative reaction, a common challenge among young people is to find ways to make a positive impact and overcome the negative biases which are intertwined with daily life. As someone heavily invested in environmentalism and sustainability, I found there are several avenues for people to follow in order to make a difference.

For one, many local organizations exist to facilitate change. For example, both Aurorans for Climate and Energy Sense and the Town of Aurora Climate-Smart Communities Task Force have accepted me as a member and hold public meetings monthly. Both groups provide great avenues to work on bettering the environment on a local level, and are highly accepting of new ideas from community members. Still, even more grassroots organization can be both simple and effective in producing change. A group of friends can decide to pick up trash one day, or a family can go out and clean up a nearby park or road. In other words, if one knows how to organize at a grassroots level, the only barrier to creating positive change is negativity.

But how to deal with this negativity? In short, remember that there is always good in the world. Even though the world around all of us tries to bring us down, there is always good to be found, even in the smallest of things. Take pride in the little things, and admire the efforts you have already achieved. When the positives are more heavily focused upon, we as people feel more ready, more motivated, and more capable of creating positive change. What’s more, these small positive changes compound, and with enough change others may be inspired to do the same.

Such is what happened to me- inspired by the actions of my peers and eventually of community leaders both in and out of my Town's government, I have aspired to follow their actions and create greater positive change myself. At the end of the day, although there is much doom and gloom in the world, even the smallest sapling of positivity can grow into a great tree of care and improvement.

By Pat Lally

East Aurora High School

Class of 2024

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