Environmentalism Essay, Research Paper
Environmentalism When we think about environmentalism, we are sometimes overwhelmed by the enormity of the subject. The planet is so huge, and we are only normal every day people draining the earth of its life. Many people are cynical as to whether or not we can actually make a difference in the world, and everyone has their own opinion, or lack thereof, on how to go about fixing it. One side of the spectrum is over-zealous in trying to protect the environment, while the other side is apathetic about what should be done. In some cases, we realize the problem, but we feel that there is nothing that can be done to change it; however, myself and others have different views on this matter. Some people realize that problems exist, but most are cynical the process of fixing them. Rather than sharing constructive criticism about what should be done, they simply mock the existing methods. Some people think that by fixing one problem we are undoubtedly creating another one. One writer uses the analogy of a mixing bowl to describe the earth. This mixing bowl that is our earth is constantly being manipulated to create the perfectly balanced mixture (Huber). Since there will never be a perfect balance or mixture , what is the point of even trying? Maybe they are right in saying that we will never find the perfect mixture, but this negative attitude is part of the problem. Nothing will be accomplished unless we reject apathy and negativity. One writer, T.H. Watkins, has criticized the idea of putting a price tag on the earth. He thinks that it is wrong to assign a value to out planet. How can we possibly give a monetary value to something that we can t live without? Although this may be true, is it possible that this monetary value might give us a perspective on just how much the earth s resources are worth to us? It is said that the value of the biosphere s essential ecosystem services , such as climate regulation, soil formation, food production, flood control, and water supply, averages about $33 trillion a year (Watkins). Does this number have an impact on how the earth is treated? We can t recapture the values of tribal and village life , but we can find ways to make our already existing technologies work more in favor of the environment (Anderson). One example of this can be found at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Students have started a recycling program that has reduced the school s waste stream by twenty percent (Ruben). This type of thinking is our best bet. Working with what we have in order to make things better is the only way to achieve a happy medium . Although there is no way to please everybody, just as there is no way to fully restore the planet to it s original state, reasonable solutions such as this are probably the only thing that will succeed.
We need to realize that environmental problems are not just for the government to solve. Many organizations small and large have made a difference in the environment. One example is that of students at Texas A&M who successfully blocked the siting of a copper smelter on land owned by the University of Texas system. In coalition with community groups, the students fought the corporation s application for water and air permits, forcing state environmental boards to examine the smelter s potential for pollution more closely (Ruben). Another example of how we can positively influence the environment is being shown in colleges all over the country. more than 30 schools now include a pledge in their graduation exercises that calls for graduates to consider environmental impacts of any job they consider (Ruben). This is a seemingly small contribution that, in the end, could potentially make an overwhelming difference. The most important aspect, in my opinion, is to realize that even the smallest contribution can help. If more people realized that we as individuals could make a difference, the earth might not be in such a critical state. True, the damage to the planet won t heal overnight, but with the right kind of action we can begin to correct our mistakes. While no one has the sure-fire answer to the earth s problems, we need to quit being so apathetic towards what is happening to our planet. Nothing will be accomplished unless we realize that even small contributions can make a big difference.