During our last week, we discussed the yes and no sides of having our society switch to more sustainable practices through guidance of the government versus the free market. Before the discussion, I truly believed that it would not be possible to transition without incentives and aid from the government. However, after reading I can see that there are many downsides to this because there are too many loopholes allowed in this system. For example, companies are granted a certain percentage that they are allowed to pollute. This a quite literally a license to pollute. On top of this, companies are able to essentially trade these licenses allowing for those who don’t need the percentage they are allotted; they can trade it to another company for something of monetary value. Buildings are responsible for 65% of all energy consumption; making them the largest user. If we could simply transition buildings over to an energy source such as the sun through solar panels our carbon footprint could be reduced by more than half. The government has regulations but cannot seem to gain control over those it is in control of. This is one of the many reasons I firmly believe that our society has to make personal changes for any impact. We are the ones doing this, so we have to be the ones to care.
In the beginning of the 11th Hour, the film discussed how our earth used to only be sustained by the energy of the sun. Today we have more than doubled our carrying capacity by finding other sources for energy, such as fossil fuels. If we were able to transition all newly built buildings with sustainable practices such as using solar panels for all electricity we would make a vast impact.
In addition, we watched the ending of the film on Thursday, which made me so thankful for the hope of our future. As of now there is little to no hope without action; all the technology and advancements are there they just need funding to be utilized. We are an incredibly advanced society and have been able to copy the systematic functions of organisms such as fungi in the rainforest or trees for that matter. Using their systems, we can form buildings in society that interact in these same ways and will sustain themselves.
Now that I see there is hope in the future, I cannot wait to continue my journey with sustainability. I have so much more to learn but every day I have the option to make decisions and vote on what I feel is right for our ecosystem. Whether it be opting for a toothbrush made of bamboo versus plastic, or bringing your own bag to the grocery store, or even only drinking from reusable bottles; I know that I can make a difference and with the right knowledge our entire world can change our practices and create a sustainable today for a better tomorrow.