Written by Howard Whiteman
Murray State University
There is a lot of darkness and misery in this world, but there are also a lot of bright spots. Farmington native Carly Peeler is one of those luminaries.
You could say Carly is different from most high school sophomores. She likes snakes, but she also competes in contests. Just imagine? She uses the pageant to educate people about snakes, pollinators, and other important yet underappreciated parts of our environment.
She is also an avid volunteer, helping out at LBL’s Woodlands Nature Station, the Salvation Army, Needline, growing pollinator gardens, conducting environmental awareness events in local schools, and in Hancock, Murray. I also spent time helping with toad research. biological station. She also started a petition for green space being developed as a solar farm in Graves County. In a very real sense, Carly is an environmental advocate and activist.
Because of all of these accomplishments and experiences, Carly was selected as the 2024 Graves County Teen Miss U.S. Agriculture Award and most recently the Kentucky People’s Choice Miss U.S. Agriculture Award.
I am very fortunate that from time to time I meet students in their late teens or early 20s who make me feel positive about the future. That is always encouraging and over the years I have noticed that my students are increasingly engaged and engaged with environmental issues more than ever before.
But it’s rare to meet someone who is currently in high school and is so passionate about the environment, who shows it not only through speeches but through a variety of activities, all of which benefit our world.
You can think of Karlie as a local Greta Thunberg, who made history as a teenager. By advocating for greater efforts by older generations – you, me, and the 30-plus people who have ruled the planet – to take climate change more seriously and do something about it, she I found a way to gain that presence. She has inspired people of all ages with her courage, eloquent speech, and passion, especially at a young age. Karlie seems to have been cut from the same cloth.
I’m sure there are many more kids doing similar things that I just don’t know about. And the realization that there are many more Carlys and Gretas in the world definitely makes me feel better about the future.
Yes, there is a big problem. And yes, the current generation can no longer strive for the future. In any case, the Kali families of the world understand better than any of us that we influence their futures more than anyone else, so in any case, we will no longer have to deal with this issue. You can’t escape it. We must work to make changes that will benefit the environment, people, Kali people, and all future teens.
It is also good to know that Kali’s generation has a greater awareness of nature and its protection than any other generation in this country. Kali families around the world help all of us of all ages learn to appreciate nature as much as they do, and think about how we can all change our behavior to protect and restore nature. I will do my best for you. The future is certainly bright. Leading the way is a teenage beauty pageant winner who wrestles with a snake.
Dr. Howard Whiteman is the Federal Endowed Chair in Environmental Studies and Professor in the College of Biological Sciences at Murray State University.