By: Oanhie “Shinsen” Pham, Copy Editor & Staff Writer

Loyalty

We may be a world of many nations, but we still are all inhabitants of the same place. We all share our home with one another, yet we don’t seem to embrace all that Mother Nature has given to us. We use and abuse our resources. This summer, I challenge us to be loyal to our beautiful home, Earth. The U.S. produces 40 percent of the world’s waste at 1,609 pounds per person per year, according to www.recycling-revolution.com. We don’t realize it, but a lot of garbage we throw out doesn’t really belong in the landfill. Hershey’s Kisses wrappers are recyclable. Same with motor oil. The National Recycling Coalition states that in 2000, nearly 70 million tons of materials are kept out of landfills and incinerators just by recycling and composting. Recycling also can reduce toxic emissions from polluting our air and water.

If you can help it, ride a bicycle to your destination. If you love gardening, share your enjoyment by helping a neighbor start a garden himself. Instead of just tossing things out left and right, try to separate as much garbage as you can from the recyclables. If you want to see how it impacts your environment, visit your local landfill and see if there are any tours available. Let’s show our planet love and kindness by doing our part to keep Earth a wonderful place to live in for many, many years to come.

Honesty

This is a small activity to reflect on.

Write a list of times in your past where you found yourself weighing the worth of honesty and explain why. What made you decide to be honest in a particular situation? Why did you feel the circumstance was made better because you weren’t so honest? Would you do the same thing if it happens again?

Respect

Itching to get artsy? Think of a design for a T-shirt or tank top that’s all about respect. You can either use T-shirt transfers (the ones you can design on the computer and print on), use pre-made iron-on words or work directly on your canvas. Whatever your design turns out to be, make sure the theme of “respect” is easy for people to guess. For example, you can have the word in big letters in the center of the shirt. In caption boxes around RESPECT, list ways that show respect. Examples include “Recycle,” “Love your parents” or “Aretha Franklin” (or even “Otis Redding” if you prefer). Have fun!

Dedication

If you find yourself glued to the television all day, every day, maybe it’s time to loosen up your dedication to the TV screen. How about volunteering your time to do something positive for your community? Hospitals, charities, care centers, schools, etc. are always looking for volunteers. Tie it in to a cause you care for. For example, if you wish to feed the homeless, a way to do so is to dedicate some of your Saturday (or any other day you’re free) to a local food bank. Volunteers can help pack meals with donations given from the community. If you enjoy gardening, why not see if you can help plant a small garden at a senior home?

Integrity

This summer, make “Millions” a part of your movies-to-watch list. A religious boy named Damian finds a bag of money that seemed to have fallen out of the sky. He then tells his older brother, Anthony, and they both think of ways to put the money to use. Anthony is practical with his money while Damian decides to use his share to save the world. Click here to watch the trailer.

Discipline

Name a goal you wish to achieve. Whether it’s a health goal or not, stick with it. Think of it as a summer resolution. If you want a certain grade in your class, make that the goal. If you truly want it, put it high on your priority list. If an activity comes up, instead of thinking of how fun it’ll be, decide if it can wait until after your accomplishment. Whatever the goal may be, you may reward yourself along the way, but know that the greatest award will be conquering that goal.

Academic Excellence

Before another school year begins, I challenge you to pick up a nonfiction book and start reading. Just because you’re not in school doesn’t give you an excuse to stop learning. Here’s another challenge for those still in summer session: Raise your hand when the professor asks the class a question. It’s an incomparable feeling when you’re ready to pounce on a question delivered to all the faces around you.