This I Believe

Sean - Jericho, New York
Entered on April 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: environment
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I believe that we know better, but…. We know of the many environmental issues that we hear about, but… “Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.” This quote from R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World” accurately describe the majority’s attitude toward our planet. There is an environmental crisis going on around us, but little is being done to avert further damage. We choose to ignore the warning signs in order to reap the short term benefits while neglecting the long term consequences.

In this writing 20 course, we have come to learn that the Earth’s resources are being overused. These and many more environmental issues are side effects human development. However, these environmental losses are qualified as acceptable because they occurred in order to better mankind. Nevertheless, the losses are still occurring. What about the excessive use of fossil fuels for power? What about the acres of land destroyed each year for human development? At the same time, the current rates of extinction of species are a hundred to a thousand times those of past rates. What about global warming? We know that eventually, the consequences will reach us but…

What can one person do in the face of such large, overbearing issues? Why should any single person have to sacrifice any sort of comfort for the sake of an environment that he or she has barely any effect on? This selfish mentality is the precise reason we ignore environmental warnings, albeit they often sounds like we are being preached at. Who wants to live a life constantly worrying about conservation? We know that “a lot of a little is a lot,” but doing a little is just such an inconvenience. Even remembering to “do a little” is hard to do. I personally forget much of what we have talked about in class as soon as I walk out the door. For example, while leaving our class reflections section, I threw out a bottle of soda in the trash. Carina quickly picked the bottle out of the trash and handed it back to me saying, “You know better.” We are all guilty of this. The warnings are in plain view, but we choose to ignore them because it makes life easier. Unfortunately, despite being reminded over and over again I still plan on throwing soda cans in the trashcan right next to my computer. In the end, it is just easier to not think about the side effects of actions like not recycling. Sure, we know better, but…as we heard on the first day of class, “It is the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fine.”