This summer I attended TRACTION in Columbia, Missouri for Blue Jay Journal TV. TRACTION stands for Teens taking action to prevent traffic crashes.
The conference had schools from all around Missouri. We all had different team colors. BJJTV was gold. This is the first time BJJTV has attended TRACTION and I was proud to be on the gold team!
Over the course of the three-day conference, we heard from different speakers about distracted driving, drowsy driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and narcotics, and the consequences of not buckling up while driving.
Hearing some of these stories had a huge impact on me personally. I’m not an emotional person by any means, but some of these stories hit me really hard and made me realize that driving is a privilege and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
We also participated in team building games, leadership training, and brainstorming sessions to come up with some ideas to bring back to Washington High School to prevent traffic crashes and fatalities.
I absolutely loved my experience at TRACTION! Going to TRACTION didn’t only make me look at driving differently, but I also learned some very important life skills. Going into the conference I didn’t expect to take away more than the message of safe driving. I learned leadership skills, the ability to work together with a team, and I gained some confidence talking in front of large groups of people.
After attending TRACTION, I felt so much closer to all the other BJJTV members that went. I feel like if I hadn’t gone to the event, I might have felt uncomfortable going into the class in August not knowing any of the people already. It for sure made us closer.
I’m super excited for the TRACTION reunion this coming year because we got to know some of the advisers and some of the other teams. I’m proud to say that I will be applying to be on the TRACTION 2018 staff. I hope to be a positive influence by impacting other people's lives.
My Thoughts on Global Warming, the Paris Climate Agreement, and America's Role in Solving this Problem
Global warming is something that everyone should be concerned about and want to end. I feel that global warming should be the world’s biggest concern at this point. If the world doesn’t start taking action to reduce and even acknowledge this is happening, the damage already done will be irreversible. Species on this planet will cease to exist.
Global warming is the rise in the Earth’s surface temperature, and it’s caused by a number of carbon dioxide emissions from the constant burning of fossil fuels and the stripping of lush forests of their hundreds-of-years old, beautiful trees, also known as deforestation.
Some other causes of global warming include the pollution created by factories, methane gas produced by landfills and agriculture, and nitrous oxide produced by fertilizers. The list goes on and on.
The effects of global warming are concerning. The lack of acknowledgment and awareness about the issue have caused sea levels to rise while ice and glaciers melt worldwide (especially at the poles). Many species are on the brink of extinction, while others are moving to cooler climates. The increase in the severity of natural disasters, the spread of diseases, coral bleaching, and other irreversible effects will only continue to get worse if action isn't taken.
Over a month ago President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, which is aimed at tackling climate change. Personally, I feel that this was an extremely selfish act considering that 195 other nations signed and are concerned about the planet's future.
Trump says that his reasoning for withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord is due to wanting to keep America’s sovereignty intact and believing that America can do things to impact global warming in the US alone.
Global warming isn’t just America’s issue, China’s, Paris’s, or Russia’s; it’s a problem worldwide that needs to start being addressed. America needs to put aside the desire to rule the world and wanting to be independent and finding solutions on their own. Sorry President Trump, but going it alone isn't going to work to solve the Earth's problems. We must unite with other nations to conquer climate change.
At this point, the effects of global warming are extensive and can be experienced everywhere, but it’s not a complete lost cause, although action needs to be taken immediately. There are so many ways to reduce the dramatic effects of global warming. A great start would be to reduce your carbon emission footprint, embrace renewable energy like solar or wind power to help power your home, purchase energy-efficient appliances, invest in a fuel-efficient vehicle, recycle as much as you can at home, and lower the amount of water you waste.
Global warming is a very real thing, and it's not just going to go away on its own. Everyone around the world needs to start taking responsibility and try to stop the effects they may have on global warming. To learn more about global warming and ways to help stop its damaging effects visit: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101
There are endless amounts of activities to do in the great outdoors to rejuvenate yourself. Although I enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, I have found that hiking is the best way to refresh my mind
Hiking is not only good for my soul and body, but it allows me to appreciate the little things in life that many people take for granted.
It doesn't matter if I’m hiking in the elevated Smoky Mountains, walking up the steep Sleeping Bear Dunes, strolling through Shaw’s Nature Reserve, or taking in the views of the Missouri River on the Rotary Riverfront Trail, I always end up getting lost in the beauty of nature’s many unique features.
Seeing natural wonders makes me forget about all the things in life that really aren’t all that important. What Netflix show I’m going to binge watch next or what I’m going to wear on the first day back to school suddenly doesn't matter. Being in nature’s presence really makes me appreciate the little things in life which I tend to sometimes overlook.
When I’m hiking and taking in all the diverse scenery that the world has to offer, it allows me to escape any stress or anxiety. Viewing the environment allows me to take a deep breath and not be concerned about what’s going on in my life. After I’m done hiking, I always feel one hundred percent better and ready to tackle any issue I may have at the time.
Not only is hiking good for your soul, it’s good for your health. Going on hikes regularly improves your physical strength. I always feel energized after a hike, whether it’s a three or five mile round trip adventure. From the feeling of accomplishment to the true vitality, I feel like I come out of every journey stronger.
Overall, I feel that hiking is a great way to refresh the mind and body. I have also realized that I don’t have to go very far to experience some great outdoor scenery. Missouri has some extraordinary trails ( https://mostateparks.com/page/57778/locator-map ) found within our many state parks and historic sites.