Sustainbility: Big problem, individual solutions

I have to be completely honest; coming into this class I really didn’t know much about sustainability or how I could really be sustainable. However the last two weeks have really opened my eyes and moved me to have some revelations about myself, and the world around me. Starting with the film, the 11th hour, going into the film I had mixed feelings. But coming out of it I felt as though my eyes were opened to new perspectives. How we are living our lives like our actions do not affect the earth, we have forgotten that the earth is going to keep moving after we are gone, in the same way that it moved before we are here. While it is hard to control the population we have forgotten that the resources are not growing at the same rate that were using them. The population doubled in a span of 30 years, I don’t know about you but personally I’m afraid to see how the population is going to grow in the next 30.

Prior to this course I had heard about Easter Island but I did not hear about the story surrounding it. Instead of forgetting the story we should be learning from past mistakes. The saying is “history repeats itself”, is it not? It’s almost as though we flipped to the back of the book, read the awful ending and kept reading the book. At some point we have to put down the book and find a different story. Time and time again we have seen how this story ends; looking at the Easter Island, the dust bowl and even looking at the glaciers melting and changing the temperatures of the sea. When reading the fashion sustainability article I took a few major points away; we are using too many resources, we are wasting too many resources, and we are basing our ways of life on nonrenewable resources. In more way than one we are making it only easier for ourselves to put ourselves in a position that we’re going to regret in the long run. We keep saying that we’re hurting ourselves but I’ve taken away that we’re honestly only hurting ourselves. We keep running into situations where the earth keeps moving as we ruin things around us. As these things happen we are left with overwhelming feelings of why and being helpless. But honestly we’re digging our own graves in these situations.

Even more eye opening was the discussions that we had in class about how the government is putting out the image and the general support of being sustainable but really isn’t following through with their support. From banning people to collect rainwater, charging people to recycle. Even just dumping trash into landfills and in the ocean. We like to have the good public image and pretend that we care, but when it comes down to it we are chasing the money. Which in reality is really hurting us in the long run.

The reoccurring theme throughout all of this seemed to be explained through an analogy I heard while watching Grey’s Anatomy: “Let’s say you’re cooking and you start a grease fire in your kitchen. Then it spreads to your curtains. What do you do? Do you put out the grease fire or do you extinguish the curtains? Which disaster do you tackle first? “. Personally I think a lot of what we read the last couple of weeks really deals with that problem. We have forgotten that in the grand scheme of things were really dealing with a ripple effect. And instead of us taking a step back and trying to solve it piece by piece we are taking it on as a whole. Simply put the Easter Island story was a perfect example. Their lifestyle was centered on a type of tree; because the trees were all destroyed they created a figurative grease fire. Which spread to the curtains and surrounding areas. Instead of trying to put out the fires one at a time, they let the fire consume the house. We should take a step back and realize that to solve sustainability we first have to solve the little problems that are feeding into the sustainability issue.

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