Get Real

These days most teens have a lot on their plate. Similar to advice pieces, dealing section is a chance to help other teens by providing tips on “dealing” with school, dating, family and social stress. How do you cope with challenges at school, home and with friends?

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ADVICE/DATING/DEALING Dichos are a popular Latino tradition. These Spanish sayings have been passed down for generations and reveal wisdom on overcoming life’s challenges and succeeding. Tell us about the best advice you’ve gotten from your family, a friend or your own inspirational thoughts. Due to the popularity of this section, we only accept a very limited amount of articles from writers.

HOT TOPICS What is the most important issue to you right now? In your school? Amongst your friends and in your community? Why is it such a hot topic and how do you feel about it? Describe the impact the issue has on your life and your community.

TAKE ACTION Latinitas are getting involved and taking charge. Young Latinas are paving the way as community leaders, activists and volunteers.  A wave of young talented Latinas are ready to become the future leaders of America.  Tell us about how you are taking a stand and taking charge. Do you volunteer? How are you making a difference?

 Have you overcome a challenge or difficult situation? Do you have a back story you are dying to share with your peers. Have you faced serious issues such as a long-term sickness. We all have issues, and we all struggle sometimes. This section is focused on first person accounts.  Write an article having to deal with difficult challenges such as dealing with depression or a parent’s divorce to the everyday stressors of being a teen.

Read one of our articles below!

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint by Taylor Figueroa

There aren’t too many Bindi Irwins out there, and what I mean by that is, unfortunately, not many girls have the privilege of being raised in a zoo. Animal lovers in big cities do exist, but often feel deprived and helpless. How can a city girl help wild animals if there aren’t any in the city to protect? We may have adorable puppies and kittens, but few of us get to nurture Nile crocodiles the way Bindi does.

One important thing to recognize is that cities actually impact wildlife even more so than any zoo.

Yes, zoos might have breeding and rehabilitation programs that have been known to save entire species, but cities are often the SOURCE of extinction itself. What better way to combat extinction than to fix the system that’s causing it? A preemptive attack!

According to Jane Goodall, the woman who revolutionized the human view of primates, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

As of now, America’s general choice to use fossil fuels to power vehicles and technology (which most of us “rely” on), and to consume large amounts of fish, beef, and PLASTIC (hopefully, in this case, simply by using), creates a carbon footprint ⅓ the size of the Earth! This means that ⅓ of the Earth’s surface area would be needed to produce the amount of resources we use within a given period.

If I just made you feel insignificant by shoving you into a statistic the size of the U.S.A., your mindset needs to change. Instead of insignificant, you should feel RAGE! You should think, “NO! I refuse to cause so much environmental damage!” If every person though that, the contributions would add up. When you decide to reduce your carbon footprint, you inspire others to do the same.

How can you reduce your carbon footprint?
Be mindful of the nature around you.
You may see ugly houses and concrete, but between every bricks’ crack, there is a world of insects, who help nourish our soil, eventually nourishing our plants. Plants are beautiful creatures! They not only feed the world, but provide materials, medicines, and most of all- oxygen. We breathe out toxic carbon, but plants breathe in carbon, and release what we need.

Gardening is a great way to reduce, or at least counter, your carbon footprint.
Make sure, however, that the plants you grow are native to your area. My Grandma Dora often plants aloe vera, for example, because they “don’t require much water”- a major plus when you live in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Conserving water is important.
When you take a shower, time yourself, or buy a showerhead that reduces water output. Less than 1% of our Earth’s water is usable fresh water for humans and animals to share. We need not destroy it!

By destroying it, I not only mean “don’t use it at such a fast rate,” but also “don’t contaminate it.” This is where consumerism comes into play, whether by eating or buying. When we eat beef, we threaten water in two ways. One, cattle are often, to their risk of health, fed hundreds of pounds of corn each. Corn is considered a “thirsty” crop meaning that it takes a large amount of water to grow crop, per pound. By eating beef instead of crop material itself, we use 20 times more water. The other way eating beef causes water harm, is that cattle can erode land as they walk, dropping dirt (and possibly feces) into nearby rivers.

Plastic contaminates water because it takes hundreds of years to break down. Littering has led to some plastic directly falling into water, altering its pH with the chemicals it’s made of. Landfills indirectly affect water as the chemicals can seep into the ground as the plastic degrade, causing groundwater to be acidic.

If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with animals, let’s talk fish. Yes, over consumption of fish has significantly affected fish population, but so has water contamination and climate change.

Climate change is caused by increased levels of CO2, usually due to fossil fuel burning, which destroys the ozone. The ozone protects the Earth from the sun’s radiation- a super hot thing!Electricity and gasoline usually rely on fossil fuels. If you want to use less coal, you should consider reducing your use of technology or vehicle transport.

Climate change affects animals for many reasons, including relying on particular weather patterns to initiate rituals like migration and breeding (climate signals time of year for most animals), and requiring certain vegetation for food, which requires themselves a specific amount of sunlight for photosynthesis.

 Gardening, conserving water, reducing beef, fish and plastic consumption, as well as limiting technology and vehicle usage, are ways to be the Bindi Irwin of the city. Our hope is always for the next generation to improve their mindset towards environmentalism. Keep that value alive, and one day, city girls and animals can live in harmony!

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