Write-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest Finalists and Honorable Mentions

Congratulations to Dominique Pankey of Appomattox, Virginia! She is the winner of the The Gallery Collection’s 1st Annual Write-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest and will experience the adventure of a lifetime by joining the “Foxtrot” fleet for Sail Caribbean’s marine-based environmental service program in the Caribbean. Below is the message that Dominique wrote to President Obama:

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at SunsetDear Mr. President,

My name is Dominique Pankey. I’m 16 and a junior at Appomattox County High School in beautiful, historic Appomattox, Virginia. As a young person, I am concerned about the issues confronting us today and how they will affect the world I will face as an adult. A very bleak picture is painted in the media and I have to wonder, what will be left for us?

Americans have to face the reality of our energy problem. Alternate energy sources must be explored in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oils. Middle Eastern oil cartels have held Americans “hostage” at the gas pumps and will continue to do so until we take steps to insure our security.

Renewable resources such as wind, solar and bio-fuels could not only take steps towards independence from foreign oil but create much needed “green jobs” to help stimulate our economy. America’s greatest resource is our wonderful, diverse and diligent work force coupled with the brightest scientific minds.

“Green jobs” and renewable energy sources would also reduce our carbon foot-print on the world, providing my generation with opportunities to achieve the American dream and live in a safe, more secure and independent nation. America and its people are leaders in the forefront of this battle. I think now and always we will believe America is the greatest country to live in and I am proud to be an American.

Submitted by Dominique Pankey from Appomattox, VA, a junior at Appomattox County High School

Here are the messages submitted by the 4 other finalists. Visit the honorable mentions page to read the 15 entries that merited special recognition. Job well done to all!

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at SunsetDear Mr. President,

I read in a recent issue of National Geographic magazine an advertisement which featured the quote, “The biggest impact we can have on our planet is not to have one.” This succinct advertisement truly embodies why we need to go about developing innovations that will offset our wrongs and redevelop our way of living to suit our fragile planet. In 2008, a carbon emissions record was reached with a staggering 8.38 gigatons of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels alone. The United States and China contributed one third of the total emissions. If you consider that there are approximately 75 million functioning cars between American and Chinese owners, it is reasonable to assume that we use trillions of tons of gas a year. In fact, the United States consumed 7.2 trillion gallons in 2008 alone.

Even though these overwhelming statistics reflect our negligence, new technology and my generation’s innovative tenacity leave me optimistic for Earth’s future. The United States is a leader among countries and its citizens are quickly catching onto environmental issues and becoming more globally astute. One by one, we are beginning to realize the repercussions of our inefficient lifestyles. Thousands of towns across the US, including my own, readily await advances in solar and wind power. Mr. President, inspiring an entire country to recycle and reuse will not only unite us all, but will change Earth’s fate for the better.

Take the lead…we are ready to follow in your non-carbon footprints.

Submitted by Carley DeFranco from Rush, NY, a senior at Rush Henrietta Senior High School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear Mr. President,

Our earth is a precious thing; it is a source of joy, love, sorrow, pain, and inspiration for all of us who live on its surface. Whatever strange and miraculous series of events occurred to create this treasure is finished, leaving Earth and its inhabitants to utilize and respect its wealth of resources. Humans, throughout the ages, have been notorious for only seeing what’s coming in the next few days, rather than looking at the big picture. We’ve drained, abused, and desecrated this land which trusted us so unquestioningly in order to satisfy our unquenchable greed. This lack of conscientiousness will inevitably lead to not only the downfall of our race, but also the fall of this earth.

It’s your job to be the “big picture” guy. You need to realize the flaws in our system, to correct them, and to set a pathway for future leaders to follow. Renewable resources are one of the most effective ways to not only help the environment, but also to create American jobs. The technology for solar panels, geothermal energy, and wind power is there, but not cheap enough for mass marketing and production. If tax cuts were implemented for the use of green technology, green energy could become a profitable and growing market!

I hope it is evident to you that the government needs to refocus on the environment. Our earth is precious and we must protect it. Thank you for your time.

Submitted by Mallory VanMeeter from Lafayette, IN, a senior at freshman at William Henry Harrison High School

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at SunsetDear President Obama,

Our dependence on foreign oil affects America’s most important issues. It is responsible for our economy, environment, as well as our security. Our ability to cut our addiction to foreign oil will decide our future. The continued use of unclean fossil fuels continues to damage our environment. The billions spent on seemingly cheap oil is more trouble than it is worth. We are handing out billions of dollars to countries that use that same money against us. Should these countries decide to stop the flow of oil to the U.S., our economy would be crippled. It happened in the 1973 Arab Oil embargo. Similar shortages were observed in 1979 and 1991. Do we really need another warning?

Energy Independence through renewable energy is a field that could secure America’s standing in the world. There would be a revival of thousands of jobs in old industries such as the auto industry as well as the creation of thousands of new jobs in new industries of clean, independent, renewable energy: Energy that works alongside the environment, not against it, preserving the place we live for all. Energy independence is necessary for the survival of our nation. Without a reliable source of energy, there is no innovation, no security, no progress. As Americans, history shows that we have and will solve obstacles before us, and energy independence is no different. I believe that energy independence through renewable energy should be one of your top priorities as President.

Submitted by Josef Dagher from Sterling Heights, MI, a junior at Adlia E. Stevenson High School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear President Obama,

Before reading this letter I invite you to look out your window. Just soak in the beauty of the outdoors for a moment, and then imagine what it would be like if it all vanished. Our planet is the greatest resource we as humans possess. It provides us with food to nourish us, water to refresh us, gorgeous landscapes to inspire us, and a breathtaking array of wildlife for us to enjoy. Yes, our planet is wonderful, and it is our duty to take care of it.

Over the past decade, world leaders have finally begun to take notice of our planet’s plight. Together, they say, we can stop the downward spiral and restore our planet; yet factories still spill out black smoke and rivers are still polluted. Now is the time to act; now is the time to save our environment, our home.

Mr. President, I urge you to implement a plan to protect our greatest resource. Wildlife preservation, alternative fuels, wind turbines, and tighter regulations on factories are all good ideas. These resources are at your finger tips; please implement them as soon and strongly as possible. Then there is the next step, of which I am sure you are well aware, seeking beyond the now and finding new sources of energy to protect our environment in the future. Every cent spent is worth it if we can preserve our whole planet, even the grass out your window, for generations to come.

Submitted by Deborah Finnegan from Grand Rapids, MI, a junior at The Potter’s House Christian High School

Business Greeting Cards: Harnessing Windpower

The subject of windpower greeting cards got me wondering about whether or not people think about eco-friendly production of greeting cards. When you get business greeting cards or even personalized birthday cards for that matter, do you immediately wonder about the green aspects of their production? Personally, my first thoughts are “What a nice surprise! What thoughtful people sent me greeting cards?” I usually open and close the greeting card a couple of times to repeat the pleasure of seeing its (usually) attractive face and reading its (hopefully) pleasant text. I don’t usually check the back of the greeting cards for an eco-friendly symbol unless the senders add a lengthy message.

It’s certainly great to use recycled paper but from a personal standpoint, I tend to have more concern for business birthday cards produced with windpower. I can “go ape” on the subject of the eco-friendly production of electricity versus the diminishment of limited-supply, pollution-producing fossil fuels. I believe my passion on the subject began because I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where hydropower at Niagara Falls has for so long been used to provide abundant and inexpensive electricity.

Because I grew up intrigued by the thought of harnessing the power of flowing rivers and ocean currents, I progressed quite naturally into wondering why there weren’t more windmills built to harness all of that amazing power in the sky. I have been delighted in recent years to see the development of windpower in the production of electricity. When I had the unexpected occasion to drive past a stretch of modern windmills, I was struck by the graceful beauty they presented.

All of this is leading up to tell you how proud I feel to know that my company, The Gallery Collection, is making increasing use of this automatically-replenished natural resource. The paper stock used in the majority of our greeting cards is manufactured in facilities driven by windpower, and our headquarters here in New Jersey also runs on windpower. Hmm…I wonder if my tiny backyard could hold a wind turbine and generator.