climate change - the challenge for the whole world
"One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions." Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, Princeton University. This quote is taken from Professor Wasow's January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University. Write about an issue you feel strongly towards in around 650 words.
Growing up, my family was either attending dinner parties or hosting them. Though such occasions were meant to be fun, social gatherings, there were a number of criteria I had to keep memorized for the sake of formality. Quite possibly the most important rule was to never bring up topics that could stir controversy in conversation. During my parents' generation, the list consisted of politics, religion, and money.
In my generation, it seems as if we have quietly added one more topic to the list: Climate change. Like politics, any stance on the issue can be polarizing and lead to dissension. Like money, it can cause embarrassment and incite visceral reactions. Like religion, people tend to be vehement about their views. Yet unlike these other topics, is climate change the one we should be talking about?
Living in the modern age comes with the benefit of quick dissemination of information. With increased access to news and media, it's easier than ever to comprehend the sheer devastation caused by our careless actions towards the environment. Through these mediums, it becomes clear that there is a trend within our society to simply shrug off the growing dangers of climate change and 'put it off until tomorrow'. Even when people show concern, it usually isn't mirrored with action to adjust their lifestyles. Instead of accepting that we need to change, we tend to rationalize our inaction.
But the biggest problem with climate change isn't inherently in inaction, it's in what kind of action. There are many stakeholders, and the problem's shape, definition, and potential solutions look different from each perspective; resulting in no true-false solutions, only better-worse ones. Global warming is a "global" dilemma and everyone has an obligation to help combat our unsustainable impact on the planet, but, unfortunately, the mismatch between when we need to act and when many of the benefits will accrue explains why climate change is such a politically and economically perplexing problem.
Within our present state of society, we point fingers at others and blame them for disrupting global ecosystems, but a step-back and a reevaluation of the situation paints a vastly different picture than the one we are looking at currently.
Brazil is an often cited example of ecosystemic disruption. With deforestation rates on the upswing in recent years and abundant evidence showing that the recent Amazonian fires are mostly caused by local ranchers, the country is a perfect scapegoat to blame for the myriad of issues we all face. However, it's seemingly forgotten how the Amazon provides the livelihood for over 30 million Brazilians, many of whom have no other option to escape poverty, and without the ability to get an education to work in greener industries, ranching is many Brazilians' only possible vocation.
This inherent clash between the proponents to finding solutions as depicted by the situation in Brazil is what drew me to studying climate change. Taking classes in school such as government, statistics, economics, as well as involvement in debate, has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the nuances associated with creating plausible solutions on a national and global scale.
These classes provided the stepping stone for me to get involved with efforts to combat climate change and spread awareness at the national level. But in order to pursue this newfound interest, I had to find an established, like-minded company that could provide me with the opportunity to apply the skills I learned in school to spread information to incite action while simultaneously continuing to learn more thoroughly over the topic. After reaching out to several companies, I finally heard back from Fig Bytes and was given a platform from which I could delve deeply into my interest over the impact of plastics on the environment.
Any feedback is appreciated!