The Earth is Being Critically Injured
Many questions race through my mind when I browse the aisles of the supermarket. How expensive is this product? How nutritious and delicious is it? How quickly can I cook it? When will it expire? These questions illustrate my values as a student on a budget. At this stage in my life, my concerns are related to finances, personal health and convenience. The environment was not a high priority, so I did not consider how the products I purchased were made and packaged. My mind is limited to my present desires and the future consequences of my purchases on the environment are not factored into my daily decisions. Why did I not think about the growing plastic shopping bags that fill our oceans, the smog from delivery truck emissions that are polluting our air, or the potential for the overflowing of lagoons of pig waste to flow into groundwater.
Climate change is a common phrase, and for the most part it is well-known. In my quest to understand why we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot, I read a New York Times Magazine article, titled “Losing Earth” by Nathaniel Rich. In it he describes the political battle to limit carbon emissions in the United States of America. The article questions whether “the warming trend could be reversed. Was there time to act?” In other words, is it too late to prevent damage. Hopefully, it is not too late. The damage cannot be undone, but we should focus changing our actions to prevent future damage on the environment.
A facet of modern life is consumerism. It is perpetuated through the billboards that advertise sales and commercials for products on television. They are difficult to escape and they indoctrinate us with the idea that we need these products to improve our quality of life. Products are marketed as cheap, easy to use, and disposable. The less effort that the consumer has to put into using it, then the better it is for the public. Some core parts of our lives that may be damaging our environment are: coffee pods, wet wipes, and plastic packaging. These items tend to make our lives easier. For example, after a long and tiring day at work, it is convenient and quick to buy take - away at a restaurant. However, many times these foods are in disposable containers, with plastic utensils and in a plastic bag. If possible, a person may stop buying take-out food to avoid these harmful commodities.
For some, this may not be the most feasible solution. The benefits to the Earth may be more drastic if companies sold biodegradable bags, containers and utensils. That way even if consumers need a quick meal, the environment will not be hurt in the process. Environmental consciousness does not have to be a burden on our standard of living and prosperity. It is something that we can incorporate into our way of life. Transition is difficult, but eventually the new way of life become the norm. Progress in technology is allowing us to do more with less.
One difficulty that remains is that people resist altering their lifestyles so some compromise and sacrifice is necessary. Capitalism and the ability for us to quickly replace any item has developed a materialistic view of life. People’s belongings may be viewed as temporary, meaningless, and replaceable. Horrifically, this may also be how we have begun to view our Earth. Our planet may be taking on the same worth as a disposable coffee cup.