Hello everyone! Today’s post is a little bit different from usual. I’m going to share a story about how I became more aware of the environment and what made me become so passionate about it. This will be in a short story format, so I hope you enjoy reading it!
I was born and raised in China. Now I don’t want to generalise the entire country, but where I was raised, it wasn’t the richest place on Earth. It was a tiny little town, excluded from the outside world. There wasn’t anything exciting about it, but what I loved about it was the beautiful environment. My grandparents lived next to a lake and right across it, you can see fields and fields of crops.
Occasionally, you’ll spot some cows around or some chickens, running around on the fields, trying to find food. Life then was simple, but it was beautiful. Even after moving away from that town to a bigger city, I would still visit my grandparents every now and then, looking forward to my bike ride as I ride around the town.
Every time I visit, it would be the same. Chasing after the wind and playing around the fields. Once it gets dark, I ride my bike back home and look forward to the next day. Every time I visit, it was the same. Except last time. I returned after a few years since I moved away to a different country. This time, it felt different.
I rode my bike around the same old town. Went to visit the giant lake and somehow…it disappeared. I asked my grandmother.
“Hey, where did the lake go?”
My grandmother pointed. “You mean that one?”
In a distance, I can see a very dirty lake. I thought my grandmother was joking, but then I see that little wooden shack next to it. The same shack next to my beloved lake. The lake that my mum used to ice skate on with her friends when she was young. The lake that the cows would drink from. The lake that I would ride my bike around, is now filled with trash.
Refrigerators, microwaves, broken children’s bikes and food scraps. It’s the same lake, but it’s different now. It’s not beautiful anymore, and that’s not the lake’s fault. Although I was shocked, I should have expected it. The last couple of times when I visited it, there were a few food scraps here and there. A few soft drink cans and other small items.
I should’ve asked to help pick them up. It was only a small bagful of rubbish. It wasn’t a lot. But since people saw others throwing rubbish there, they can’t help and have some urges to do it too. It went from small food scraps to packaging boxes. Now it’s refrigerators and bicycles. I should’ve done something because I knew. And now the lake can’t be saved. Because I failed.
I should’ve picked up that bagful of rubbish. I should’ve visited the lake more often. I should’ve told people to stop dumping rubbish there. But I failed. I didn’t do it. And now I deeply regret it. Not only is the lake now filled with rubbish, I too, lost the image of that beautiful lake in my mind.
I don’t remember what it looks like anymore. It’s just a vague memory of a glistering lake surrounded by trees with a small wooden shack next to it. Not this lake surrounded by buildings with rubbish filled to the top. Where did the dirt path go? Why’s it concrete now? Where did all the cows go? This used to be where they all hanged out at.
I don’t know. I don’t recognise the place anymore. And there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s too late now. The image of the lake being filled to the top gave me such a huge impact, it was like a slap to the face. And that was when I decided to cherish the environment more and start changing my lifestyle.
To all of you reading this, I’m sure there’s a childhood place that you too, would want to protect. Don’t ignore them. Start saying no to plastic little by little, start recycling, start buying reusable products, just start somewhere! It’s the small changes that we make that can change our surroundings.
You may think that something so small won’t make a difference. But that’s what I thought too. That small bag of rubbish near the lake couldn’t do any harm. But I was wrong. So, change your mindset, because every little action can make a big difference. Start now.
I will appreciate it. My beloved lake will appreciate it too. Its sacrifice changed my life, and I hope from now on, I won’t lose another piece of my beautiful memory. And I hope you won’t lose yours as well. Thank you.
Thanks for reading.