Opinion

Trash Talk: It’s Time to Start Caring About the Environment

Courtesy of Kim NewbergThe types of trash Loyola biology professor Timothy Hoellein’s study found raise public health concerns.

The world is rapidly and undoubtedly degrading due to anthropogenic impact — it’s a fact. 

This is made evident by overly-polluted bodies of water due to deadly runoff of industrial agriculture, methane pollution in the atmosphere due to our insatiable craving of a good burger, clear-cut forests so a CEO billionaire can build his 50th hotel and a million problems more. Negative environmental changes in the past 60 years are happening faster and on a terrifyingly larger scale than the past 10,000. 

Yes, I said that right. 

In comparison to the past 100 centuries, there was more environmental harm in the past six decades. We are completely dependent on the natural world for every breath we take, yet we can’t devote enough time to differentiate what needs to be recycled versus composted? 

So what causes this environmental ignorance? Is it lack of education or just laziness? Regardless of cause, something needs to get under the skin of those who refuse to be eco-conscious, because their recklessness will have life altering impacts for all of us. 

Out of the nine processes that determine human life on Earth, four have reached levels deemed unsafe; this includes human-caused climate change, phosphorus and nitrogen infested waters, alteration of land systems and loss of biosphere integrity. These are all problems that’ll harm humans and all life on earth;  and, to no surprise, these are entirely caused by humans. 

So here I present a handful of possible causes to this inability to be eco-minded, and how they’re all entirely wrong and absolutely ridiculous. 

The concept of technological utopianism is that, regardless of what happens to earth or humanity, science will inevitably find a solution. This ideology, in my opinion, seems like a mere cop out of putting any effort into environmental sustainability, but, I digress. Let’s further disprove this opinion. 

Will Steffen, a professor at the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, combats claims of technological utopianism by stating “some people say we can adapt due to technology, but that’s a belief system, it’s not based on fact. There is no convincing evidence that a large mammal … will be able to evolve that quickly. Insects can, but humans can’t and that’s a problem.” 

We have no assurance of scientific assimilation, and even if we did, we shouldn’t use it to dismiss the soon-to-be-extinct elephant in the room: Humans are destroying earth for every living thing. 

Another hurdle in the way of a sustainable world is those who are simply lazy. 

“I’ll die before anything serious happens to me anyway,” they think to themselves as they refuse to make conscious diet choices or recycle their old clothes or books. If this is your reason for not being eco-conscious, I beg you to sit back and take a moment to consider your position in this world, and whether it’s really that awful to make a few simple yet eco-conscious choices to prevent the earth from becoming uninhabitable. After all, every person contributes to earth’s anthropogenic impact, so why would anyone think their not responsible for their damage? 

Another unfortunately common reason for lack of environmental care is it’s not prioritized economically. Whether it’s a personal or corporate budget, the environment is more often than not put on the back burner. 

When we exploit our natural resources for profit we are digging ourselves into a deeper hole than we were before. Yes, this can yield quick cash, but lack of sustainable practices will only lead to lack of resources and funds in the near future  — most likely in the same lifetime of those who are getting money from exploiting resources now. Talk about karma.

When we combine our anti-environmentalists’ reasons for their stances, we reach a cluster of contradiction. 

Perhaps we’ll reach a point where science can sustain human life on earth; regardless of this, under our little oxygen dome or wherever we end up, where will resources naturally grow? Where will our resource-exploiting businessmen get their materials for their businesses? And with that, where will those who opt out of eco-mindful practices because they’re lazy get their easy access to exploited natural products? 

When we constantly widdle away what provides life for us, the result will eventually be nothing but consequences. If you make eco-conscious efforts, you should use your knowledge to educate and help others who don’t. If you don’t, consider all you take from the earth. 

Why wouldn’t you want to give as much back to it as you can? Make an effort to protect what allows you to live — we don’t get another one.

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