Written by Jack Oberg, ESLLC 2017-2018
With an awareness of the health of the environment comes positive action in stopping the causes of global warming, and a deeper consciousness of the effects of our everyday actions. This is a very good thing because without action, this problem isn’t going to go away. With an awareness of the health of the environment, however, also comes a burden of knowledge. A burden of knowing that in order for our children to live full lives, we have a daunting amount of work to do. We have the burden of knowing that the people who have the power to stop further greenhouse emissions, know that they are causing the problem to get worse, but choose to continue polluting anyway. The deeper you read into the issue as a whole, the more ominous and irreversible it sounds, and it’s easy to get depressed about.
When people around us blatantly disbelieve that any sort of warming trend is occurring, it can be difficult to make the small things we do feel important. When your neighbors act like you’re some sort of conspiracy theorist when you encourage them to recycle, it’s hard to keep a positive outlook. It helps me to think about our burden of knowledge whenever I have to deal with these people. I see them as people who are too cowardly or weak to accept the burden, but I don’t blame them, ignorance is bliss. We know that it is human nature to resist change, and with accepting the facts about the climate, stagnation is no longer an option, so it is natural to try to deny. It is natural to be frightened by the concept that our actions are killing the planet that we live on. I know once the issue becomes too big to ignore, that it will be impossible for these people to deny reality, I just hope we haven’t reached some point of no return by then.
It gives me hope when I see the people around me call others out on using plastic straws, or when I see people fixing clothes instead of buying replacements, even when small efforts like these pale in comparison to the problems they aim to fix. I see these people as the ones who I will be working on combating global climate change alongside with throughout my career, and into the future. I see my peers make small lifestyle changes to reduce their individual impacts, and I see them get joy out of it. The joy that comes from making the smallest of differences is what gives me hope, because it shows me how eager they are to make a difference, and I see this in so many people around me. If global warming is going to be stopped, it is going to be my generation that stops it, and when I see my peers already expressing willingness to make a difference, I can’t help but feel like we have a good chance. I’m excited to see all of the great things we will be able to do.