This I Believe

Melanie - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on December 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: environment
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As a very young child, I recall a beginning and an end to each of the seasons. There was always a smooth transition in the temperature as time passed into a new time of the year. I distinctly remember at age 7 noticing how spontaneous the weather became. I was overjoyed to wear a t-shirt and jeans to school in mid December. As I got older, the patterns of the seasons seemed to disappear altogether. Talk of global warming was everywhere, and research was funded to reduce the negative impact of our pollution. Green energy has been flourishing ever since, with little reaction and use from the public. Movies and documentaries have been made to inform us of the issue of our planet and the green technologies available, but have had little impact in changing our American lifestyle.

In America we are exposed to an average of 1,500 advertisements each day. What is the result of this? Consumption; we are continuously told to buy more, even if we don’t need the product. It not only takes time and money, but materials and energy to produce the unnecessary advertisements and products which we consume. The advertisements promote a lifestyle in which social status is achieved by the product we possess. A bigger car, like an SUV, achieves a higher social status than a compact car. Although the compact car is more efficient, we perceive the owner to have a lower financial status than the owner of the SUV. Persuading to buy bigger gas guzzling automobiles yields higher profits to the automobile and oil companies alike. Capitalism rules our society by advertising a lifestyle of abundance, and it is ruining our environment. Our society consumes more per capita than any other country in the world, and is doing nothing to reduce this usage to protect the Earth.

America has many laws and regulations aimed to protect its citizens from harm, but why don’t we have the same to protect our planet? The quote “for the people, by the people,” has created a completely anthropocentric society and we seem to have no concern for the welfare of the planet. The drastic change in climate that I have witnessed in only 20 years is a sobering reality to the strain our daily activities have taken on the world. There is only one Earth, which is our home, and if we destroy her, there will be no other place to go. Readings from the authors Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Vandana Shiva have heightened me beliefs in a Green Ideology and lifestyle in order to sustain our planet for ourselves and our offspring.

I believe that our government should take into account the incredible impact that our society has in global warming. Not only has our nation withdrawn itself in global efforts to reduce green house gasses, by President Bush withdrawing the US from the Kyoto Protocol, but the government is doing little to utilize and invest in green energy. I don’t believe we should keep funding research for hydrogen cell fueled cars, as an efficient electric car has already been produced and was successful until the oil-companies’ profits were threatened. Our government needs to utilize these energy sources that are already available such as, battery, solar, and wind power, and stop listening to lobbyists funded by the oil industry. If incentives were given to citizens who owned solar panels, like tax reductions, then the environmental deterioration would slowly begin to reverse itself. The US Government needs to redirect its attention away from the big business, and focus on the present ecological problem which it’s the biggest contributor, and in this I believe.