Green Earth

People often study the words of Henry David Thoreau and William Wordsworth to revel in their romantic tones regarding nature and what life means on this green earth. We find ourselves moved by their passages. It is common to meet someone who has an affinity for nature. In quarantine, many of our only respites were venturing out for a walk, inhaling fresh air – albeit through our masks – and enjoying the company of the surrounding flora. We love to love this planet; it is one of the only things people on both sides of the aisle can agree on.

Then why are we still complicit in the demolition of our shared home?

Every day we find ourselves closer to a point of no return, a point where we will not be able to salvage our current living standards and instead will be living in fear of the collapse of our planet. Look around. This most recent hurricane, Isaias, was the earliest ninth hurricane of the season in years. These tropical storms are getting more and more severe each year along with other natural disasters such as tornadoes, tsunamis, and floods. The icecaps are melting, and the sea levels are rising; in just a few decades most, if not all of New York City and other coastal cities will be underwater. The coral reefs are dying out and wildfires are becoming all too common in dry areas. It is clear through the science that it was at the hands of humans during the Anthropocene that these huge shifts occurred. These changes have happened over hundreds of years and we are now feeling the consequences. We are using resources faster than they can be replenished; our standard of living is not sustainable and cannot last much longer.
But to be fair, this is not the fault of you or me, a small low life who does as she’s told. Sure, I drive my own vehicle that runs on gas, I consume meat and dairy, and I do not live a zero-waste life, but still my actions are not the cause of this. 70% of industrial emissions come from just 100 companies. Us switching to metal straws is not going to solve the climate crisis. Putting real regulations on these companies, creating a carbon tax, and ending fast fashion will do much more than the total amount of work us typical individuals could ever do to help the planet. To make these big changes, though, we need everyone on board, not just Gen Z who will inherit the brunt of these problems in the next twenty years. We need our parents and grandparents help, the generations helped get us into this mess, to do their part and get us out. A simple way to start in the United States is to push for eco legislation, such as the Green New Deal. Call your senators and local representatives to allocate space in the budgets for better, sustainable infrastructure, public transit, and upgraded, clean energy systems. This is all possible, we all need to do our part and hold each other, especially big corporations and those in office, accountable, though.


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