Our planet is dying. Everyday, a combination of individual actions and the choices of institutions and world governments to ignore those actions allows our planet to slip closer to the point of no return. Our carelessness damns future generations to suffer the consequences of our refusal to take responsibility and take action. It is time to face these facts and make changes accordingly.
On Feb. 7, freshman United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a resolution nicknamed the “Green New Deal” which is meant to combat climate change, as well as create new jobs. The resolution includes proposals to meet all of the power needs of the U.S. with renewable energy, to use smart power grids and to upgrade buildings in the U.S. so that they achieve maximum energy efficiency, among other radical goals.
Some of the proposals may seem extreme, but we need to take extreme measures if we want to prevent the planet from becoming one large garbage can. While new policies are being decided upon in our government, we can and should take care of our individual actions as well. Buying and actually using reusable water bottles, walking or biking or skateboarding when we can, instead of driving, using recyclable and compostable materials and actually disposing of them in the proper way are all good steps to take.
When I was a kid, I had dreams of being a hero like the people I watched on TV and in movies, flying around saving people from fires or turning invisible or using my ridiculous wealth and free time to don a mask and fight crime. I have had to accept that these things are not likely to happen for me or for most people. But that does not mean that we cannot be heroes or that we cannot do the right thing and save people.
If there is anything that I have learned from media surrounding heroism, it is that sometimes heroes fail, but they keep trying. The other day I realized that I have put compostable containers from Hissho into the garbage in the Commons an inexcusable number of times, but now I am committed to paying attention and being more careful. We can all try to find and fix our mistakes.
No one should be discouraged by the thought that they have already done so much damage that they may as well not change anything, new ideas and resources are coming up everyday and we can start taking advantage. Now is the time to take steps and make changes, because we know better, so we need to do better.
People may say that individual actions will not make a difference to the health of the planet, but masses of people are made of individuals. We have to start somewhere. Thinking that what you do does not matter and will not change anything can be detrimental, because if everyone thinks that way, then change truly is out of reach.