If you are an average student graduating high school in America, you follow a similar path to the rest of your class- go to college, study, spend time with friends, sleep, eat, workout. Four years later, when you wake from this surreal bubble, real life compounds on you like a pound of bricks. You are no longer forced down the same path as everyone else- and it’s time to make your own decisions about where you want your life to end up. Some will choose careers in finance, some will choose careers in journalism, some will choose careers in education, and there are endless other possibilities. What very few people stop to think about is that in order to perform in any of these careers, you need one thing: an earth to live on.
So where does the environmentalist come in? To many, as an overbearing, judgmental voice, seeming to say “why can’t you just be greener.” Unfortunately, we no longer have the liberty to ignore this voice (and let’s try to pretend that she is not as annoying as you would think). There is no easy solution. For the first time in human history, we are at an energy standstill, and there is no immediate, convenient alternative. We cannot simple replace fossil fuels with an alternative energy source; oil is 13 times as efficient as biofuels. Solar energy is too unreliable without anywhere to aggregate the collected energy, especially on stormy days or in the dark. So while economies continue to change, journals continue to be published, and students continue to graduate, our earth is left in this uneasy standstill.
A vast majority of citizens of the United States do not care about environmental issues because they believe that climate change will not reasonably affect them in our lifetime. The sad truth is that the effects of climate change are coming faster than anyone anticipated, and faster than even our best climatologists can predict. With climate, there is not an easy, one stop solution. As with any severe, large scale problem, it takes a collaboration of minds and thinkers to come up with a reasonable result to the problem. We cannot just rely on the environmentalists to take control of the issue- maintaining the quality of life on earth is a responsibility of all of earth’s inhabitants.
We will fix the environment. But it will take the minds of many- not just scientists- to do so. It would seem as though just when you thought leaving college would be the time to take a path away from your peers, this is the perfect opportunity to instead combine passions to help preserve the world in which we all live. Do not fear climate change, and do not sit around and wait for someone else to fix it. Take the knowledge you have and do something with it.