A few months ago, we asked middle schoolers across the state of Nebraska one question:

What do you want the world to look like in 2050?

We received so many great responses and it was hard to narrow it down to the top three! Keep scrolling to read the winners of our 2020 Conservation Nebraska Essay Contest!

Growing up in a positive, optimistic, eco-friendly family, I have always had high hopes for the future. I wish for the human race to once again be deeply conjoined with our Earth. My hope for the year 2050, is for humankind to use technology to help replenish our natural resources and preserve all native animals and plants around the world for centuries to come. 

All around the world, there are countless necessary natural resources at risk of perishing forever. Our careless behavior for the past few centuries has had a major impact on our planet. The industrial revolution beckoned in a new movement of convenience for the consumer, this, therefore, led to more demand, and we increasingly need more natural resources. Rainforests are one of the many things that are suffering today because of humans. Technology is something that humans are constantly working to better and is something that isn’t going to just disappear. My hope for 2050, is that we use these new technological advances with nature, so we can find a way to all coexist and thrive. I picture that we have developed better ways to fuel vehicles and more efficient ways to grow food without taking away natural habitats.

There is no other place like Earth. We have a beautiful planet that is home to even more beautiful plants, animals, and humans. My deepest wish is that we conserve our world for generations to come. Our world wouldn’t be home if we didn’t have the diversity of ecosystems all working together to live in balance and harmony. Humans disrupted that balance without thinking of the repercussions. I desperately hope that we can make a change and restore that balance. Because, if we don’t act now, there will not be a bright future to look forward to. 

First Place

Bella – 8th Grade

Albion, NE

Second Place 

Spencer – 8th Grade

Omaha, NE

The world has gone through a lot of hurt in the first two decades of this new millennium. Right now, people are comparing this world to the past pandemics of 1918 and 1820. But what about the future? I see the world looking at its problems and working to fix them. I hope to see restaurants and stores everywhere being required to offer environmentally safe solutions to packaging. I hope to see people caring for the world and each other to prolong life and happiness to all, humans, animals, or plants.

I hope we can be mature and fix dilemmas about the environment between different countries peacefully. I hope everyone can appreciate living conditions around the world, so we can show empathy towards those who live differently than we do. I hope we can accept everyone despite race, religion, social class, sexuality, and other differences. We have made mistakes, but its human nature. Its also hard for us as humans to see what every other living organism sees.

Even in this hard time I see good. We see and hear people speak out against the inequality of this world. Now it may seem small the differences they made, but give us time to learn from our mistakes and grow to good. I think to myself everyday of a quote, despite from a fictional source, that seems so true, “We are the spark that’ll light the fire,” (Star Wars: The Last Jedi). If we are the spark of fixing inequality, we will soon start the fire of equality. So, if we work towards a better future, we will have one. I always have been told that the way to move forward is through hard work, and this is how we will live in 2050.

Imagine a world where there are no freshwater creatures. If the world continues on the current path, there will be no freshwater creatures such as amphibians and fish.  Because of plastic and water pollution and other environmental factors, massive extinction is occurring around the world.  Although there are many animal species that are impacted by these factors, I have chosen for my goal for 2050 is to see full restoration of freshwater animal species.

I would like to see our world use more biodegradable items to decrease single use plastic significantly by 2050. Freshwater animals, which are dying off due to plastic consumption, are fooled into thinking that they are full, so they end up starving to death. Not only can single use plastic starve the animals, but it can entangle them in a deathly trap and prevent them from surfacing for air or from using some of their main body parts. Plastic bags, straws, bottles, cups, and utensils are examples of single use plastic items we use every day without usually thinking of the harm they may cause animals in freshwater. I would love to see in 2050 the world use more biodegradable items so that our animals can live safely in the waters. 

I would like to see, in 2050, a decrease in water pollution due to pesticides and gasoline. Pesticide pollutants can get into the water and affect the amphibians by suffocating them because of the small pores in their skin that absorb any liquid. Gasoline from boats can also affect the amphibians and other creatures that live in the water by killing them by changing the water that they live in. I would love to see us decrease water pollution in 2050. 

In conclusion, my 2050 vision is to see an increase in freshwater animal creatures by using more biodegradable items and decreasing water pollution. Animals that live in freshwater are digesting or soaking up harmful materials which result in them dying. I would like to see in 2050 a world with full restoration of freshwater species.   

Third Place

Josie – 6th Grade

Wayne, NE