Monday, March 23, 2009
Sustainability: Our Opportunity? Or Failure?
In the 1970's the United States had a crucial opportunity to set a new direction for modern civilization. Electric cars were being built, solar panels were being more widely publicized, environmentalism was making grounds and we had faced our first test to the dependency and chaos our addiction to oil causes. Yet, with all of these things in motion we failed to take advantage, and allowed our short-sightedness to prevail. It's March of 2009, two months shy of three years since the "Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore first hit the world about our climate issues and how we are potentially at fault. I say potentially for as much as it has been proven to be humanities burning of fossil fuels as the main cause of global warming there are still some that believe that our climate issues are of a cyclical process that the Earth takes, coinciding with the Earth's shift in its axis known as the precession cycle which happens every 25,800 years, and other scientific phenomenons happening now and within the next few years.
On Friday March 20th, SAB members and guests attended the film screening, "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash". The movie seemed to portray our way of life as one which will not be around in the next Thirty or so years. Where our grandchildren may not know what it is like to fly on an airplane. A gloomy prediction of our world and the capabilities of civilization without enough energy and subsequently enough food and other resources. Where wars, famine, disease are inevitable outcomes. However, I am not as cynical, but it is clear that actions must be taken now.
As I look around me I see an increased awareness for the environment. Architects are building and retrofitting structures to conserve and use less energy. Inventions for cars that emit little to no pollution are being created, and have been created. Businesses and Schools such as Baruch College are taking steps to become greener and reduce their carbon footprint as well as encourage their communities and (in Baruch's case) their students to be aware and take action as well. The government in parallel with the current recession is taking the opportunity to put money (about 150 Billion over the next ten years) to create and spur growth in a "Green Economy" with "Green collared jobs". It will be hard but the more we change our psychology as a society and use our innovative and hard working American values, I can't foresee this gloomy prediction of the world as we know it coming to an end.
Sustainability; a greener less pollutant impact-ful society is our opportunity. Our opportunity as a nation to spur job growth, new industry. A motivator that could force our whole system of how we do things to change. Encouraging our student to learn the sciences and mathematics, fields that we rank poorly in as an industrialized nation. A motivator to make the United States become a leader again in the world, making us stronger safer, and potentially more peaceful with our brothers and sisters of the world. Helping them reach new heights in their societies and making our world better , safer and more enjoyable. Sustainability is an opportunity for the world to come together as one for a common purpose, something that has never happened before, where we unite as a species to protect our home and define a new era where inventions, success, wealth is driven not by the desire to conquer and make war, or consume, but by the desire to clean, protect and increase or wealth and prosperity as a whole and to protect even augment our way of life in comfortability and health. We have to leave the short-sighted goals of the past at the door, and embark on a new process of thought, a thought where the more we do for each other and our planet, the better off we all are.
However the failure to do or see this potential, this opportunity, maybe our downfall as a global society. History in hundreds of years may look back at what should have been, what could've been, but what ultimately we failed to become. I don't think we want this legacy.
Participation starts now, whether you're at home or somewhere else. Baruch college has a sustainability task force, found at the following website: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/sustainability/ . Here the students have an opportunity to contribute in a positive and innovative way to our communities, our peers, our school and our world. March 30th to April 2nd, Solutions Across Borders, The Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Sigma Alpha Delta honor society and Net Impact, will each be participating and aiding the Sustainability effort, an effort that is CUNY and city wide. This first mission is called Green Week. Monday March 30th will have a host of tables for the education of sustainability and some of the leading industries. Tuesday March 31st will consist of a movie and discussion, presenting "Who Killed the Electric Car", and Thursday April 2nd will be a day where panelist from leading companies and organizations will discuss the value and actions of participating, being involved and aware of sustainability efforts and our environment. For more information pay attention to the flyers or contact SAB at SolutionsAcrossBorders@gmail.com.