Thursday, January 10, 2008


Did you ever hear about the hypothesis that a butterfly beating its wings could create a storm across the globe? The story goes that should something as small as a butterfly beat its wings at one location on the earth, the small wind that it would create would eventually travel and grow and begin a thunderstorm, or a hurricane, or a tornado somewhere else. This is one of my favorite analogies because it tells of what one small action can impact down the road.

This entire project has been an excellent learning experience. From all of the work that goes into a museum display to all of the things we can do to affect climate change, it has been an eye-opener. It was interesting to learn that many of the things that we can do to work on the climate change problem are things that will save households money in the long run.

Have you ever read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss? It is a story of the Once-ler, who comes to a forest of Truffula trees and sees the things he can make with them rather than the life that lives there. When he cuts down the first tree, out pops the Lorax, who tries to tell him that the forest is the home of many things and should not be cut down. The Once-ler does not listen, and cuts down more and more of the trees to create a product that sells and sells. The Lorax begins to send the animals of the forest away as the trees are cut down, until the Once-ler finally cuts down the last tree and the Lorax is the only one left. He leaves sadly, but the end of the story leaves the reader with hope that he will come back. The Once-ler has one single Truffula seed left, and he gives it to a boy to plant.

One of my favorite quotes from that book is the following:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

When you think about that quote, it really does sum up everything that we have been trying to convey with this exhibit. Unless we care enough to do something, nothing will happen, because we are the only ones. Throughout this semester, this has hit home again and again. If we were not to do something, who would? Who would go out and start recycling if we won’t? Who would pass resolutions to slow or halt the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Who would challenge others to do something? Who would start caring enough to go and be a guide to the world if we won’t?

Ghandi said that we must be the change we want to see in the world. So we know what to do now. There really is nothing stopping us. The studies have been done, reviewed, and explained to the world. Experiments have been created, performed, and researched. The tools are in our hands; it’s just time to use them.

So the next time you go to the grocery store, ask if they have reusable bags you can purchase. Think of all the plastic that won’t be used! Think of the space in your home that you’ll have now that you don’t have to deal with the bags hanging around. Think of how much smaller the landfills would be without all that plastic. Going to a workout or a sports game? Reuse a plastic bottle for water (or better yet, get a bottle made to be washed!) instead of buying a bottle when you get there. Need to replace an appliance? Get an EnergyStar certified one! They don’t cost any more, but they save you money on your bills, and therefore cut down on energy consumption. That’s pretty good, two for one. Talk about more bang for your buck. And those light bulbs that your environmentally-conscious friend has been bugging you to change? Do it! And don’t forget to turn out the light when you leave the room. Saves you money and saves energy, too.

We’ve made a pretty good start. So we’re off the starting line, and we’re on the move. Time to catch up to the problems that we’ve watched build and settle in to a faster pace because we’ve got a long race ahead of us. Start small if you have to. It will build in time, until finally we can all start taking those bigger steps together. Almost like a three-legged race. If we don’t start small, often we collapse. But once we’ve got the rhythm, we can speed up and get somewhere.

John Donne wrote that no man is an island. We are all in this together. And if I don’t do a little something and you don’t do a little something, we will have nothing. So the next time you have the chance to do something, whether it be as small as turning out the light when you leave the room or as large as passing legislation to help fix the problem that mankind has created with climate change, do it. We only go through this life once; we may never have the opportunity again.

I’m going to be doing something. Because I can. Because I care.

Will you?

Laura Santamaria- Cornell University Student

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.
~William Shakespeare

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