How Harmful Are We?

Personally, I never really believed in global warming, and this belief, shared by many others, could lead to our downfall. Sure, I see social media posts or tweets about global warming. I see the recycling bins, and I hear the catchy “reduce, reuse, and recycle” slogan, and I do- I recycle; I try to limit my waste on the planet. I know that we, as humans, put waste into the world, and the rate at which we distribute that waste continues to grow drastically, but it never occurred to me just how drastic the situation has become. I never considered the consequences of such wastefulness in depth, but I have now.

The global ice caps continue to melt, the carbon emission continues to grow, and our planet continues to become less habitable. But what if this change is occurring faster than we realize? What if our actions, each and every day, affect the very existence of life on Earth? Does recycling one water bottle really make that big of a difference? I realize now that the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Recycling one water bottle, no matter how minute that might seem, does make a difference. Our action, my action, does make a difference. The negative change caused by our carelessness is happening quicker than we care to admit, but we continue to ignore global warming and the issues that arise. We continue to ignore the signs. Humans think of themselves as a more advanced species, but the tribes that lived on Easter Island were also advanced for their time.

As we learned in class, the Easter Island tribes made advancements that were beyond many other cultures at that time. They traveled far and built communities basically from scratch. Eventually, however, they lost sight of what was important, or maybe they never had the right intentions to begin with, and their community crumbled, and there was nothing but a few statues to remember them by. Those that continued to live on the same island after them knew nothing about the people who had come before. What if this happens to us I ask myself?

Personally, I think that the story of the Easter Island tribes should act as a warning call to the people of today. We, as humans and even more as Americans, think that we are superior beings. As we learned in the video The 11th Hour, humans are competing with nature. We think we outperform nature, and that is why carbon dioxide emissions are growing. That is why we are using up fossil fuels and non-renewable resources. We think we can do it better. But what if we cannot? What if our lifestyles are changing the world and creating a place that only exists in our nightmares? The movie we watched talked about how humans are forgetting about nature and the power that it brings to the world, but maybe we could reconsider. Maybe respecting nature could start to save us. I keep coming back to this idea that changing our focus could change the world. I truly believe it can. Consumption is a major part of the American lifestyle. We love to consume: foods, clothes, and technology. Most people want whatever is new and whatever everyone else has, but we do not usually crave nature. Kids would rather play video games than tag. They would rather watch T.V. than watch a kite fly. Changing our mindsets could change the mindsets of future generations. Reconnecting with nature and limiting our consumption can take us in a positive step forward. On the flip side, continuing to ignore the warning signs given to us can further destroy our planet, and we might even end up like the tribes on Easter Island.

Like I stated at the beginning, I never put much thought into global warming or the affects of living a consumer-based lifestyle. Honestly, walking into this class, I would not have been able to give a definition or example of a wicked problem, but global warming is a wicked problem. It is affecting everyone, but it affects us differently. For the people of Houston, Texas, and other Texas residents, global warming’s effects have been significant and obvious this past week. As stated in the video, global warming causes more frequent natural disasters and more intense disasters. As we try to compete with nature, nature fights back, and this fight does not end well. But a wicked problem cannot be solved the same way in every place. So what can I do about it? I have asked myself this question multiple times over the past week. Maybe I can recycle more. Maybe I can try to inform others about the effects of global warming because I know that there are others who may not believe or fully grasp the effects of global warming. I want to make a change. I try to always focus my lifestyle and my mindset on how I can help others and how I can help the world. I want to take this newfound knowledge of global warming and wicked problems and implement change. I know that ending global warming cannot be solved overnight, and I know that we will continue to fight natural disasters, climate change, and carbon levels because that is what makes this a wicked problem. We cannot foresee the future, and we do not know where this will end, but I want to make a difference even if I am not sure what form that will take. For now, I will focus on changing my own life style. I will try to get into nature more, consume less, and leave less of a negative impact on the planet, and hopefully, through these actions, I can inspire others to make a change that will help our planet grow and thrive.

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