Constitution Day 2019
Constitution Day Essay
By: Pascal Weisberger
(Treasure Village Montessori 8th grader)
In the Florida Keys as in most communities, being a good citizen involves being actively part of the community. One way to do this is to take part in community meetings to address important topics that affect the community. Environmental, social, and political issues are a few big topics that are important for most communities and the Keys is no exception. These issues affect citizens in their daily lives. For example, if a politician like a mayor makes a decision or law, it will directly affect the citizens. Environmental issues like pollution also affect citizens because it can negatively impact their homes and property if not dealt with, as well as their ability to take part in many recreational activities specific to our marine environment. In addition, social issues determine citizens’ services and affect how different members of the community are treated, like people of different gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or economic status. In the Keys, environmental issues like marine debris and poor water quality are particularly important to resolve and addressing these issues at community meetings can be helpful towards finding a resolution.
Another important way of being a good citizen in the Florida Keys is being conservation-minded, which means minimizing our impact on the environment, such as being careful of how many fish we take, not touching coral when out on the reef, not operating boats on seagrass beds, and limiting the use of products that can hurt the environment. Caring for the environment also means supporting environmental organizations/agencies like REEF, Coral Restoration Foundation, the FL National Marine Sanctuary and the FL State Parks, all of which are very important to ensuring the future. Furthermore, another way to be a good citizen in the Florida Keys is to help those less fortunate or do volunteer work. For example, a supply drive can be done for the Bahamas, since it needs help following Hurricane Dorian. You can also help out at a local soup kitchen or set up a fundraiser for the homeless, two examples among countless more opportunities to give back to the community.
Moreover, a good citizen in the Florida Keys is someone who votes during elections. Voting is a very important responsibility because it determines whoever will be elected in a political position. It has a big impact on who is chosen during an election and therefore should not be taken lightly. The people who hold local positions like the school board or mayor can make big differences for good or bad and are elected through voting. The decisions that politicians make, from funding for local schools, to the amount of development in environmentally sensitive areas, and the type of businesses that are allowed in the community, greatly affect citizens in their everyday lives. Therefore it’s important that people are informed about the importance of voting and are knowledgeable about who or what they are voting. The results of being ignorant or unaware before voting, or equally bad, not voting at all, is something that we citizens, both locally and nationally, should strive to avoid at all costs if we hope to preserve our rights and privileges.
In summary, to be a good citizen in the Florida Keys, not unlike most other communities, but different than some, a person should be socially and politically involved in the community in a variety of different ways. As a resident of the Keys, caring about the environment is very important, given the threats to marine life such as pollution, climate change, and environmental degradation. These are also issues that can be addressed at the ballot box, by electing individuals who are willing and capable of taking on difficult issues when they arise, and being brave enough to make tough decisions, even when they may not seem popular or require hard work to make happen. Finally, being an involved citizen in our community means living in a way that minimizes our impacts and look for opportunities to live smarter and closer to nature, while caring about and taking action to help our fellow citizens. This is the type of citizen that the Florida Keys deserves, and the one that it desperately needs if it is to overcome the social and environmental challenges threatening it and survive into the foreseeable future and beyond.
Event Photo Gallery
Party at the Polls – 2018
Our chapter threw a party for voters at the Murray Nelson Government Center. The theme was that Voting should be fun and joyous and a reason to celebrate together. Over 130 people attended this event.
Rooftop Solar Project – 2017
In 2018 our chapter partnered with Solar United Neighbors of Florida to help homeowners in the Upper Keys learn about and access affordable solar via volume purchasing and competitive bidding to achieve major discounts. Over one hundred people joined the effort and twenty-one homeowners in the Upper Keys actually added solar panels to their rooftops. To find out more, go to SolarUnitedNeighbors.org/Florida.