Once you find inspiration, a splash of color will fill you up with the energy to make a change. The four walls around you feel less binding because you now realize you have a window leading to an outside world full of indescribable enchantments. You have an amazing chance to captivate the world with the passion that you carry. You can achieve everything you aspire towards! My passion and power for sustaining the environment has brought me here…and now a flag I designed will be among 18 others in the pristine Arctic, proudly symbolizing the strength youth can have to support our planet!

Let me take you on the journey where it all began. Hop on a sleigh, and let’s take a ride through my crisp white memories embedded in the snow. For as long as I can remember I have been an avid environmentalist with an open mind. I wanted to become aware of the issues that engulfed our world because that is truly the only way to find a remedy.

My first recollection of engaging myself in environmental concerns started with Twiggy. You may be saying “Hey, what’s a Twiggy?” Twiggy is posing in the picture where I hold my flag up high. She is a tree. She started out just like us, young and needing a lot of tender, loving care. She was the smallest tree on the block, and because of this, the City wanted to give us a new stronger tree with a better chance to flourish. As kind as this offer might have seemed, I believed that Twiggy, like any other young sapling, could achieve greatness if given the opportunity.

The City started to pluck trees in our neighborhood and with an impulsive thrust we started to compose signs and letters to convince the Forestry Department to HALT! They sweetly agreed that they would give Twiggy a gamble, and today she is proof that everyone deserves the chance to revitalize themselves.

After this success story, I began to research other ways I could get involved. I discovered one of the treasures of my life, the esteemed and well-respected Greenpeace. I subscribed to their email and regularly checked in for news. I was extremely intrigued by the rainforest ecosystem and the human impact on it. Untangling the vines, I came across the diverse tropical island of Sumatra, Indonesia, home to many critically endangered species. Here, animals such as the arboreal Sumatran Orangutans are victims because of the destruction and disappearance of their once lush homes. Thus, I wrote and illustrated a story about an orangutan named Tangora, and her quest to save her rainforest friends and their habitat.

That brings our trip to the present, when I received an email from Greenpeace about a competition to design a Flag for the Future, which would be set in the dazzling Arctic. The contest combines my passions of creative writing, illustrating, and caring for the environment. When it was announced that I was one of the finalists, I was ecstatic! 18 young budding activists and myself gained the privilege to send the message that ice should always be abundant on top of the Arctic waters, sustaining lives, from the large and in charge polar bears to the smallest plankton, all vital to our planet’s continuity.

It appears we’ve reached the end of our ride, but only to start a new adventure. What will I become…a future environment lawyer? Farewell my friends, but I know we will meet again! Whether it is after you wander and discover one of many wonderful things unknown or are already full of inspiration and are just bursting to share it with the world.

Make your dreams reach sunlight and never let go of hope. Want to start to make a difference today? With just a click, you can help save the Arctic and declare it a global sanctuary! Make your voice heard by telling President Obama to make drilling stop in the Arctic for good. Show your strength, learn, be creative and get involved!


*Kari Reller from Ontario was one of the 18 finalists in the Flag for the Future competition