Share this article

We all wrote letters,

5 paragraphs

550 words,

our teacher mailed them off,

sent overseas

to people who never read them,

people who would never listen.

We were told these letters would help,= that

animals would return to their homes,= that

trees would flourish,

that water would flow

clear and blue as the morning sky.

But I knew this wouldn’t help,

not with our success measured by a grade= a

percentage on a piece of paper,

and not by the impact

and the power our words had.

Our paragraphs filled with pleas for change=

would fall on deaf ears

we are just kids to them,

kids too young and helpless

to make a difference

to do anything but speak

We all wrote letters

that day at school, saying

we wanted change

but really just wanting the mark.

I sat in a car

speeding along the countryside,

heading back home,

gazing listlessly out the window

when I saw something,

a lone deer

standing atop a great pile of rubble

stone, broken concrete, shattered glass,

and whatever else man has left there to replace

looming elms, rustling maples, draping willows.

I called out and pointed at it to my family

who broke out into excited chatter

and amazement

at the sight

of this creature.

I looked into those large eyes

a brilliant auburn

but petrified

looking out

at me

with pain

and confusion.

I felt my heart shatter

I wanted to scream

that it wasn’t me

who took their home and their family, who

left him standing on a mound of rubble,

never to be cared for by anyone

but it was

I was silent

I thought of the letter

as just an assignment

and nothing more

nothing that could actually mean something

or change anything

We all wrote letters

They never wrote back

maybe never even read them

maybe tossed them out

like any other useless piece of paper, but

it was time to stop this.

Empty words

would never help,

they made you feel good at the moment

thinking you’ve done something great

only to realize the impact you’ve made is


I may be young

but I can do something,

something beyond just talking because

words without actions

are empty

We all wrote letters

but they didn’t help anyone not

the deer by the road

not any animal or forest. Maybe

I couldn’t help that deer but I

can change something

We all wrote letters

Most forgot about them afterward

But not me

I smile at a mother with 2 young children

as I hand them a pumpkin

and a bag of beans



Grown at the school

In the garden I’d created

Combatting pesticide usage

by supporting organic local food

This isn’t protesting or rallying

or even making a public speech

but this is my way to help

my way to fight using my actions

using my actions to influence others to do the same I

know that every bill in my hand

will go to

a better world for all

We all wrote letters

but I didn’t stop there

Coming back from school I

noticed a small plot of land

for the first time

I saw the murky waters

with pieces of plastic drifting about

I felt the rough bark of dying trees

beneath my fingers

I heard the silent voices

of all the animals

who used to call this place home So

I started fundraising donation after


slowly building up

to enough to start restoring

this lost paradise

tree by tree

volunteer by volunteer

hour by hour

the land returned

We all wrote letters

but the paper in my hand now

is different

it doesn’t feel worthless and superficial it

feels priceless and appreciated

because every dollar goes

to charity

and together we will make

our voices heard

even without saying a word

We all wrote letters

I can almost feel the paper in my hand the

leaf is smooth and waxy

but now it’s different

now it means something

I watch as

a chipmunk scurries up the bark

of a huge maple tree

one that I planted there

3 years ago

I glance down at the fallen leaf in my palm

what a beautiful color


We all wrote letters

but I started growing

We all wrote letters

but I restored the land

The letters did nothing

But our actions did,

and I will keep fighting

because I know

that actions