I'm taking an English course focused on environment and ethics, and although I've only been in class for two days, I feel rejuvenated and re-inspired. The class is mind-blowing. Last week we watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. That's not so much of the big news, but I will say that I felt really empowered by the film. I saw it when it first came out and missed a lot because it put me to sleep (and I call myself an environmentalist). It was late at night and I couldn't stand just watching Al Gore talk plus, I have this problem where I tend to fall asleep during films. ask my friends; it tends to happen a lot at the theatres. But anyhow, watching the film for the second time made so much more sense. Surprisingly, I stayed awake the whole time! Having spent a huge portion of a semester learning about climate change definitely connected me to the film and helped digest the information. A lot of people say Gore simplifies global warming and its atrocities, so perhaps I'm just slow.
Then today in class we discussed the film, the environment, society, government, and so much and on so many different levels. I love class discussions, and every time a student makes a comment, I'm fidgeting in my seat anxious to respond in whole-hearted support or mad frustration. We talked for a good hour. There was both criticisms and praises for the film, talks on our relationship to nature, government conspiracies, the like. It was interesting because there were students who talked about appreciating nature having mentioned that they like the wilderness and camping. Funny thing is I think the environment goes beyond just a pretty view of the mountains and dirt. Sometimes I think our rhetoric about the environment is so detached, like how we classify global warming as an "environmental issue." How about it's an issue about life? Think about it.
Our environment is all that surrounds us. We interact with it every day, every second. For most it defines our way of life. Of course living in America, especially southern California, we have the luxury of one season all year long. If it gets cold we can turn on the heater, take hot baths, let water run for however long we want, oblivious to the impacts. I remember living in Baja, Mexico during the summer. All I had to clean myself with was a hose and the Gulf coast. There wasn't a "trashman" to pick up my waste every week. I had to separate my waste carefully, and relied on everyone else in the research group to do the same. It was a team effort. If not, we bore the brunt of it.
I think if more people saw our environment in this light, we'd be more respectful of it. Maybe next time we'd take the effort to throw our chip bag or cigarette bud in the trash can (or not smoke at all for the sake of the air we breathe). If we care about the state in which we live in we, as individuals, should take personal responsibility for our beliefs and actions. It drives me nuts when people think that one person can't make a difference. Did it ever occur to any one that that's a billion persons? Talk about a whole lot of potential in power and change!