Something akin to panic is communicated onto my sterile computer screen, then my furrowed brow and soon my troubled mind when I sit alone, in the dark of my room and explore ideas and possibilities. Turning the light on and the computer off doesn’t dissolve my disturbed mood; nothing does until the outside can creep in and warm me. It’s usually a human voice; something more real than the essays and articles I read on global warming and remote ice caps that melt slowly every year. The fear settles until someone with a weaker sense of reality can convince me that “something is being done” by environmental scientists and none of it will affect me when I am dust.
In just the last fifty years, humans, namely Americans have virtually
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Energy-efficient refrigerators and electric cars are available but they are different; beyond a simple trip to an appliance store or the car dealer, there are more steps involved in acquiring one. In our consumer-driven society, it has become acceptable to waste; waste energy, waste water, waste time. Lifestyles have been established and most people, though they might have watched the special on PBS and read the article in Time don’t understand the very imminence of disaster. Unfortunately, it is the nature of humans to accept only the concrete, the “now” and unfortunately statistics with the words “in fifty years” preceding them are not now. Because of this alternative lifestyles are not an alternative and warnings of the long-term result of our current gluttony and irresponsibility are being sadly ignored.
All environmental scientists, educators, and policy-makers agree that the key to public understanding is public education. Without a thorough understanding of the problems facing the planet in terms of its fragile environment, humanity is on a collision course with disaster. It is not enough to warn people, impose economic sanctions, and establish strict regulations. People must understand why they should recycle, how they can take care of their waste and why they should, what they can do to lessen their own individual impact on the earth and why it is so very important that they do. It is also essential that