Being An Active Citizen Against Climate Change is Not a Choice
This summer we experienced some of the most severe natural disasters that the U.S. has seen to date. However, the seismic nature of these events is unsurprising; with each passing year, climate disasters occur more frequently. 2018 brought dismal levels of coral bleaching, wildfires devastated Australia in 2019, and this year gripped the nation with destructive hurricanes, unprecedented storms in the Midwest, and raging fires in California.
While it is easy to dismiss the current disasters as simply more of 2020’s “challenging” experiences, we must recognize that these are not isolated incidents. In fact, trends suggest that these events will continue to worsen in severity and frequency. This is an incredibly troubling issue. The good news is that it is not too late. While the nation has, for too long, enabled unsustainable and environmentally harmful habits and practices, we still have the power to prevent the progression of climate change.
It is important to recognize that individuals alone cannot rescue the planet from the progressing climate crisis. This impending disaster will not be stopped without large scale reform from corporations. However, individuals can make an impact through collective action. It is time for us to stop relying solely on our government to enact policies to halt climate change and instead take matters in our own hands as global citizens.
Large-scale social and political change in this country usually occurs when discontented citizens re-evaluate their own practices and expectations of others. The irresponsible human actions that both directly and indirectly caused these natural disasters cannot, and should not, be ignored. We have to start opening our eyes to the climate issues and change our behaviors now so that we have a habitable planet in the future.
This is not an impossible role to assume. Sure, it is not an easy task to change our habits to ones that may be less convenient or more involved, but it is not as difficult as some might think. Individually, there are several steps we can take. Buying sustainable products, carrying a reusable water bottle or exchanging dryer sheets for reusable dryer balls are all small steps we can take to ensure we are being conscious citizens.
While personal practices are important, community habits have an even larger impact. While Furman has long considered itself a sustainable campus, many of our practices do not reflect this ideal. It is up to us to actually follow through on the university’s initiatives. The Furman Farm has a composting service, but that process can only be beneficial if we commit to separating the nonrecyclable items from the recyclable and compostable items. Additionally, we must recycle items correctly. Once a single non-recyclable item is mixed in with the recycling, the entire lot is no longer recyclable. It is our duty as community members to ensure the entire campus is doing its part in this global fight.
It is imperative we take individual action to prevent the destruction of our natural climate. It is easy to shy away when we, individually, may not feel affected by climate change, but over time, more humans will be impacted by this issue. It is important to reflect and course-correct so our actions are friendlier to the planet. It only takes one small effort to enact large-scale change, and those actions start with me and you.