Some of my thoughts on environmentalism
“Hey Isaac, what are your thoughts on environmentalism?”
Environmentalism is a word that gets tossed around a lot nowadays. This word probably has more diffuse meanings to different people than the wavelengths of light that we can see. However, I would like to offer my own views on the subject matter, as I think they would be at least somewhat pertinent to the global discussion about this world issue.
For me, environmentalism is not about saving trees, but rather it is about saving us. Fundamentally, human civilization is not a separate entity from the habitat that it inhabits. Therefore, all long term destruction to the surrounding world contributed by our action will in time cause large scale repercussions on us, a sort of natural karma. For example, by overextending the limits on it’s water supply, my beautiful home state of California is now experiencing a drought on a scale that has not been seen in a millennium. As a result, the lives of innumerable farmers have been shattered, wildfires are spreading like a virus, and billions of dollars have been diverted from other sources, all amounting to a greater loss than was saved because choosing the more supposedly “practical” anti-environmental route.
And to make matters worse, humanity still has not taken heed. Currently, Human generated and consumed energy is on the order of 16 Terawatt-hours per hour and climbing! And to make matters even worse, over 84 percent of this energy is generated by non-renewable sources. And one must keep in mind that most of this energy is used by the developed world, and with the developing world rising, this could imply that we could go way beyond what it currently is.
“So what must we do?”
Well, what we need to do is have a complete paradigm shift regarding not only the energy source of society but even the basic infrastructure, and at a very quick rate.Think of it in this way: When a child is young, their metabolism is very high, and they can consume as much unhealthy food as they desire without any repercussions. However,as they get older, that metabolism will give way, and they will begin to feel the consequences if they continue their grievous habits. In order to prevent such an occurrence, the child needs to develop proper eating habits as soon as possible. As I can conceptualize it, human civilization for the past few centuries has been a spoiled child devouring as much unhealthy resources as possible, and since we are just on the cusp of adulthood, we are thrusted into a situation (to quote a great mentor of mine) where we need not gradual emancipation but immediate emancipation from fossil fuels.
We need to invest much more time and energy in developing the skills of not only young scientists and engineers but also policy makers, urban planners, and even community members to take action and design such new systems. We need to shift our civilization’s infrastructure and technological paradigm away from relying upon outdated ways of thinking and doing into new ones equipped to handle the issues of the 21st century. But most importantly, we must help guide the developing world through their construction into making the fundamental operations of their society to to be sustainable, so they can have our quality of life without our level of destruction..
So in summation, the current degradation of the environment will cause our eventual destruction, and we need to completely shift our paradigm to prevent our civilization’s. As I like to say, humanity walks faster looking forwards.