Essay For Our Environment Before And After

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I was born in Raleigh, NC and lived there for two years, but I really grew up in Shelby NC. I resided in Shelby For nine years of my life. Most people don't know where Shelby is because its such a small town.  Living in a small town can sometimes be good or bad for a person, but in my case I experienced both.

Growing up there was difficult because of it being such a small population. My best friend in the entire world still lives there, along with some other very close friends that I know I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, all of my good friends were not in my grade in elementary school growing up. I did not get along with most of the kids in my grade, and honestly was bullied as a child. The girls were very mean to me simply because I wasn't up-to-date with elementary school fashions, and they found me uncool for unknown reasons. There were many times when I would come home crying because I thought the girls hated me. I didn't realize at the time that this should not have bothered me so much because they turned out to become teen moms, or not graduate High School. They went nowhere in their lives from what I have heard, and in reality, I came out on top. Those girls ended up having drug or alcohol related problems later in life as well.

The problem with Shelby was that because it was so small there was cliques. Even with this adults, to this day, they all gossip about each other and knows everyone's business. Growing up in an awkward environment like that ultimately made me stronger as a person. Being bullied, and having a hard time fitting in at a young age, made me who I am today. I consider myself a very accepting, kind, and forgiving person. I feel bad for those girls who bullied me as a child, and I hope they eventually get their lives together.

Today if I see someone who isn't the most popular, or who is more quiet, I'm not quick to judge them. I am the first person to be friendly and invite them to join me and my friends. Having a difficult childhood made me a person today who is understanding of how it feels to not be "popular", or the most well-liked. I know how it is to not always be on top, and as a result I have become a person who is willing to be friendly and kind. I try my best to get along with everyone, and I  treat those with respect that I might not particularly like. I treat others as I hope to be treated. Honestly, I am thankful that I grew up in such a small town, because I am completely satisfied with the girl I am today. I am very proud to say that I grew up in Shelby NC.

I spent my formidable years in a small NC Town.  Most people have never heard of Shelby NC, but that was where the foundations of my character were laid.  

I am relatively certain that all of my current friends have fond memories of their early years; memories filled with laughter and learning.  Unfortunately, that was not my experience.  In fact, most days after school, I found myself in tears; the daily loser of a never-ending elementary school popularity contest.  If you've ever been in a situation where you were told, "If you are not wearing the same brand of blue jeans we are wearing, then you cannot be in our group of friends" you know exactly to what I'm referring.  I received a steady onslaught of misery dished out by girls that judged me by my clothing, and nothing else.  

Harassment was my daily battle, and to survive I found myself making mental resolutions.  I began to fill my mind with many resolutions, should I ever break out on top.  Though there is quite a list, my main resolution from that time of suffering was that "No one should ever need a friend when I am around."  To that end, I constantly find myself looking for the outcast in every social circle.  

With a little practice, the outcast, are easy to spot; those lonesome, awkward souls on the fringes of the circle, looking into the center of a circle for acceptance.  I am the first person to invite them to join my group of friends.  I treat others as I hope to be treated now, and as I wanted to be treated when I was younger.  I reach out.  I always reach out.    

At the time, it was inconceivable, but now I realize that I was very positively 'shaped' by all of those early negative experiences.  Like steel in the foundry, the proverbial fire issued from the lips of the 'pseudo-popular' shaped and molded me. I've since realized that the 'pseudo popular' among us are actually some of the most shallow and unsure of all people groups.  Their inherent shallowness requires them to forgo the honest judgement of a person on the merits of their character (for fear that they themselves will be found lacking), and superimpose a convenient, surface level substitute.  True to form, many of the girls at the apex of the 'pseudo popular' circle I had been excluded from in elementary school, became drug addicts, teen moms, and high school dropouts a few years later.  While I'm thankful for what they taught me about how to treat others, I do hope they eventually get their lives together.


I think the difference between the two passages is particularly striking.  The content is mostly there in the first draft.  Unfortunately, it is masked by a flood of grammatical errors, and it lacks a logical progression.  The feel of the first draft is a jumble of thoughts listed in a random stream of conscience.  By the way, the first draft was reviewed by her English teacher, before it was submitted to me for review (and got a “good job”).  

In my assessment the initial essay is written at an 8th - 9th grade competency level.  Significantly, this child was a high school senior (and an AP/ Honors English student with straight A’s as a junior and senior in English).  This same ‘teacher’ once told the student that she was a gifted writer.  Sadly the teacher’s assessment of the student was incorrect, but thankfully, the student’s parents came to me before allowing her to send that initial pile of junk off with an admissions application.

The revised essay, which underwent at least 5 revisions provides incredible insight about the nature of contemporary bullying, and the mindset of those who bully other children.  It also presents a compelling narrative of how one student managed to cope, and fight back.  

A side benefit to the College Admissions Essay Prep Help Service is that you get an “Introduction to English 101” in the process.  

I must say, that this child is quite a ‘writer’ now  ~ having come through our system.

The College Admissions Essay Assistance Service is ridiculously priced below market value at only $95.   

“I think it should be mandatory for every student entering my English 101 Course to If  1) use apostrophes correctly and 2) explain, concisely, when to use an apostrophe and when not to.  If you cannot do these two tasks then you should not be allowed to enroll in college.  

Furthermore, if you come into my class without knowing this basic tenant of our language (along with a lack of  understanding of the difference between and adjective and an adverb, or any manner of basic grammar), I want you to know this right now:  heaven will have mercy on your soul, but I will not.”  

~ John Hodgson

Professor of English

“You will read all of my English 101 papers.  As soon as you come across a misspelled word, comma splice, run-on sentence, incident of subject/verb disagreement, or any other rote occasion of poor grammar, you will identify the error with this red pen, and put an “F” on the paper immediately.  Do not waste your time by bothering to read the rest of the paper, as the material contained therein in my mind is unimportant.

If you manage to read through a paper that is well written and contains no grammatical errors, put it in this box, and I will grade it for content.  

I estimate that out of the stack of papers in front of you, only a handful will make into my box for a content grade.  It’s a shame that so few students have anything worth saying, and even those who do have something to say, invariably can’t say it properly.”

~ An English Professor speaking to his Teaching Assistant (TA) about how the (TA) will grade the Professor’s English 101 papers.

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Since 1972, The United Nations Environment Programme has marked 5th June as World Environment Day – an annual event for positive environmental action. This year’s Environment Day is hosted by Canada, which chose the theme of “Connecting People to Nature” – inviting citizens around the world to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. Jonathan Shopley takes the opportunity to review how well we are doing in respecting our critical relationship with nature.

The arrival of the Age of the Anthropocene

The origin of the modern environmental movement traces its roots to the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, a scientific analysis of the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides, published in 1962. The intervening years have seen the publication of equally powerful treatise including Meadows et al’s “Limits to Growth” (1972), Gro Brundtland’s “Our Common Future” (1987), and Paul Hawken’s “Ecology of Commerce” (1993). They successively frame the human impact on our natural environment as an opportunity to better understand, appreciate, value, manage and enhance the natural ecosystems that sustain life on earth. 

These and other studies placed our relationship with nature under the microscope, and humanity’s impact on the Earth is now considered so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – was proposed by scientists in 2016.  This new geological age recognises that the collective influence of humans was small before the dawn of the Industrial Revolution during the middle of the 18th century. However advancements in technology occurring since then have made it possible for humans to undertake widespread, systematic changes that affect several facets of the Earth system. 

Our evolution as a species over the past 4 billion years has progressed under the influence of slow changes in geological conditions on earth. The Age of the Anthropocene recognises that human impacts on the natural environment have established powerful feedback loops that now drive the Earth’s evolution at an extraordinarily faster pace.

Navigating the turbulence of the Anthropocene 

Evidence of human impact on the resilience of nature grows from day-to-day, and our rising awareness of the risk of losing control has driven a wide variety of political and business responses over the past 50 years. In the 1970s, environmental impact assessments became the norm for evaluating and mitigating the negative impacts of large-scale developments. After Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster in India in 1984, environmental, health and safety management and auditing was developed as a business tool to prevent damage.

Towards the end of the 20th century, industry turned to nature for inspiration about how to mimic the extraordinary power of ecosystems to self-regulate. Janine Benyus’s concept of Biomimicry sought sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies. The concepts of Circular Economy and Industrial Economy filled in the gaps as the impact of discharges from industrial processes and the impact of post-consumer waste became better understood.  

From understanding to inspiration

We are developing a deeper understanding of these impacts from the fire-hose of environmental data collected by a myriad of satellites and a growing internet of environmental sensors which provide an ever clearer picture of our whole earth impacts. What we’re lacking now is the ability to read that data in a way which strengthens our ability to protect and enhance the systems that sustain and support our economic and social well-being. Big data analytics and artificial intelligence will have a critical role to play as we seek to make sense of all the measurements that are supposed to make us better managers of the natural capital assets upon which our evolutionary trajectory depends. 

When Canada, this year’s host of World Environment Day, calls on us to connect with nature, they don’t mean through big data analytics, biomimicry or circular economics. I think they are suggesting that as important as it is to measure and understand our impact as a means to repair and protect the environment, it is more important to reflect on the fact that the natural environment sustains the world in ways that we simply cannot yet analyse and understand.

Earlier this year I spent a week in Rimba Raya, a rainforest protection project in Borneo. While I was there, I witnessed the release of five orangutans, orphaned by the ingress of palm-oil into their natural habitat, into an area of forest rehabilitated by the project with funding from our clients. I was watching the release with Dr Birutė Galdikas , the world leading academic on orangutans, who pointed out that orangutans share 98% of their DNA with humans. As we stared into the brown eyes of the soon to be free animals, we could only wonder that a 2% difference makes to our relationship with orangutans so complex. We spoke too about the fact that the largest species on earth is mushroom mycelium that can stretch for kilometres, and move tonnes of nutrients and energy through the earth without our even being aware of it.

As we celebrate World Environment Day in 2017, our increasing ability to monitor, measure and analyse our impacts on nature is a positive step. However, we should not forget that the complexity of nature puts it way beyond our ability to fully understand how it works. We need to be wise and alert to the fact that the Anthropocene could still be our making or our undoing. 


Hero Photo: Daz Smith of Dr. Love Graffiti at Bristol UK Upfest, 2015.

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Jonathan Shopley

Managing Director

Jonathan leads Natural Capital Partners’ contribution to international policy developments on climate change, and standards for carbon trading and carbon offsetting. He is on the board of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), and the executive team of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA). Jonathan, who joined our team in 2001, has 25 years’ experience in identifying and mitigating environmental impacts from industry. He is regularly invited to represent the view of business at UN COP meetings, and industry events throughout the world. 

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