Final Reflection Blog

While I knew there were many problems facing the environment globally, the scope of the problems we have to face was not very encouraging based on the what we learned in class. It’s very disheartening to see that we as a species haven’t really learned from past mistakes: as Ponting states in A New Green History of the World, “all human interventions tend to degrade ecosystems and [show] how easy it is to ip the balance towards destruction. It also suggests that it is very difficult to redress the balance or reverse the process once it has started”(71). To me, this seems self-evident; I find it very hard to understand the thinking of previous eras that did not get this concept. While I know this makes me a product of my time, just as this previous thinking made people products of theirs, it just seems to obvious to me that I really can’t wrap my head around not seeing such an obvious link between humanity and the natural world.

One thing I felt about this class was that it highlighted the problems the United States faced as well as global problems (it is, after all, a global issues class). Part of this that struck me is that I know that I am part of the problem: my lifestyle is part of a culture that relies on lots of energy, which also causes environmental issues. I think it’s unfair of countries such as the US have most of the responsibility for carbon dioxide emissions (Ponting 401), but we refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol and we have yet to really make a concerted effort as a country to fix or moderate our part of the pollution and carbon dioxide use. We have “5 per cet of the world’s population but [we are] responsible for just under a quarter of the world’s output of carbon dioxide”(Ponting 401): this is unacceptable. It is irresponsible for us to use this much when other countries must go without or are working to use less.

I think what I took most from this class is that there is a lot we still need to work on and fix, but that there is hope. The fact that plans are being made to combat the degredation of the Chesapeake Bay, that movies such as Food, Inc. are released, and more and more famous personages are taking action to raise awareness of these issues says to me that our world (and our country) can change. It will be difficult, and I know lifestyles will have to drastically change, something that is hard for many Americans (including myself, although I accept and understand it needs to happen unlike some) to realize and implement. The greatest way, in my mind, is to make it so economically unfeasible to pollute or take the easy way out that environmentally friendly policies and products become the new social norm. This would work well in our country, as we are driven by the need for profits in business and personal wealth. Getting into people’s pockets, making the external costs of things such as pesticides and soil degredation part of the cost of food, is really the only way to effect lasting change.


One Response to “Final Reflection Blog”

  1. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    It’s great to see you finish with this idea of hope even though you start with a verdict that we may be heading for collapse like past civilizations. I definitely wanted that positive possibility to come through!