By: Charlotte Sach
We are all so privileged. To live in San Diego, next to the beach, surrounded by those who have enough money to live in our community.
Over spring break, I went to Sequoia National Park. We stopped in L.A. to charge our electric car, and my mum and I went on a run while we were there. It was the most miserable run that I had ever been on. The streets were filthy,, and flies thrived from the large piles of trash that were found everywhere in this city. I can remember picking up little parts of plastic in the sand next to the ocean and feeling proud. And for these little actions you should be proud. Staying aware of human impacts and making the right decisions, no matter how small, is a key mindset to have for the future. Nevertheless, I find myself wondering, “Am I making a difference by continually putting in these efforts?” As I run down the streets of L.A., and I see all this litter, I think, “No. Picking up trash in my wealthy neighborhood has amounted to nothing.” But then I think of a world where everyone is considerate of their impact. A world where others could rise above their wants, in order to work on what’s truly important: the conservation of Earth as a whole.
We have put ourselves in a difficult situation. We have limited time if we want to fix what we’ve done. Scientists have decided that we need to act now, and even more drastically than original beliefs. A news article from the Guardian reads “the target that much of the world is now adopting for climate action – net zero by 2050 – begins to look neither rational nor safe.” (Monbiot 2021). Our goals need to be rethought, redesigned, and acted upon for there to be any hope for the survival of the human species as well as the majority of wild species.
The options are as follows:
- Make larger-scale changes: we must propose and follow through with government goals or vote in pre-existing ones. Unquestionably, we can’t get everyone to make the right choice, no matter the strength of the reasoning. Due to the lack of motivation within today’s society, we will need regulation to ensure that things actually get done.
- Continue with “business as usual” or as Greta Thunberg called it, “blah, blah, blah”. We can’t just hope for American culture to magically turn a new leaf. Hoping gets us nowhere as environmental destruction continues to break unimaginable records.
Many believe that taking smaller steps can be an effective way of influencing peers. I agree with this philosophy, yet I think it is important to recognize its pitfalls. With individual, smaller-scale action, enough members of society need to make the right choice over the convenient one. This just isn’t realistic. In conclusion, it is time that we open our eyes to the world around us. It is time to embrace that, unless it is mandatory, work won’t get done. It is time for the few who care to make a stand. It is time that we all must take a stand, whether we like it or not.