Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Believe...

I came into this project with a vaguely understood yet strongly rooted opinion on global warming. While the extent of my research and education on the science behind climate change and human impact on climate change is shallow, I’ve found myself surrounded by enough of the well educated in the issue to confidently say I “believe” in global warming. That is, I think the climate is changing, that the significant portion of that change is due to human activity, and that if nothing is done it will very negatively affect us in return. I’ve become so comfortable with this being fact that it surprises me when every so often I encounter another peer who claims not to “believe” in global warming. While we’ve certainly conquered the opinion of the scientific community, I think we still have a while to go on the convincing front before any solution to the problem will come easily. In my opinion, the greatest ground must be covered through political means, and political battles are won, at least in America, through gaining the support of the majority. I’ve come to the conclusion that even most “believers” don’t seem to have the sense of urgency necessary to push for the creation of the legislation I believe we will need to solve the problem of climate change.

However. I know that making the switch from a passive “believer” in global warming to an active worker in reducing it isn’t difficult because I’ve found myself making the change over the past few months. I think the inspiration to change in the individual is best when it comes from somewhere close. I found myself imitating my parents’ changing of their light bulbs to more energy efficient ones, and my local grocery store’s use of reusable bags. So, after beginning to dive more deeply into the issue of climate change through this project in combination with personal experiences over the last few months, I’ve found that the big change that I know needs to happen will come from the culmination of the work of individuals fueled by inspiration from their personal lives and local community.

-Fiona Kirkpatrick, Cornell University Student





3 comments:

Laura Santamaria said...

I agree. I am amazed at how many people I encounter who think of this as something that will happen in the future sometime rather than something happening now. It is coming to the forefront in U.S. politics, but it is far from being a major top priority. We have yet to see how Al Gore's recent Nobel Peace Prize affects all of this, but I would not be surprised if many politicians jump on his bandwagon because it is "popular" all around. It makes me wonder if all of the political fervor about the topic (not to mention the news coverage of it) that we are seeing now will continue as the months pass. I truly hope it does. Maybe now that people are becoming more aware due to this surge in coverage of the topic we will end up a more environmentally-conscious, climate-friendly country. It is a shame that so many other countries are suffering the effects now when many of the major contributors to the problem do not see the issues and solutions at hand.

Michael Bennett said...

I also couldn't agree more with this article. Today I spoke with a friend who, to my surprise, was a skeptic of global warming. As I tried to convince him and listened to his side of the story, it hit me. It's great that politicians are picking up on global warming but it is up to us, America's youth, to convince others of the effects of global warming. Now is the time to act; now is the time to understand the urgency of the issue and realize that its outcome is not inevitable if we do something about it. Our contributions to convincing others will go a long way toward politicians realizing the necessary goals of our generation and all future generations.

Patrick Nadeau said...

Reading this blog I was struck by the importance of education in effectively addressing global warming and the many other challenges facing the world today. If we all made the transition that Fiona made from concerned bystanders to an active part of the solution we could accomplish remarkable things. And all it takes is a little time to learn what we can do about climate change and to realize what we might be giving up by doing nothing. Unfortunately there is plenty of misinformation about climate change floating around which is hurting our ability to make educated decisions, and may be costing us the chance to act before its too late. I see encouraging progress being made towards dealing with climate change however and I’m confident if we really understood the scope of the issue we would act and could truly make a difference.