By Amelia Hobbs
My whole existence, I have been told a story. A story that I am my thoughts, emotions, physical body, gender and actions. I was told that humans are more important and more special than any other species. I was fed propaganda instead of given the true history of my country. I was told humanity’s history of pollution and genocide was necessary for our development. I am student, a worker, and more than ready for a new narrative concerning this world. Through our collective energy use, pollution and overpopulation of the our planet, we have brought the sixth mass extinction into progress.
“We are in trouble if we don’t act, but there are a range of actions that can be taken to protect nature and meet human goals for health and development. It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” Professor Sir Robert Watson, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, said.
I am having trouble getting through the day hearing adults argue about race, class, gender, the GDP, etc., when we will not be able to reproduce without a planet to sustains us. Let’s, at least, be honest about how and why we are polluting and consuming so much. I, like many others, have turned to things that make me comfortably numb. Most of us are so busy working and trying to survive that we do not stop to question how and why everything just keeps plugging along.
The reality we are currently in is just a result of the story we have told ourselves. A story that you and I can change together because this is just a system we are buying into. If you are questioning your reality then examine your value judgments. WE can unlearn anything and look at facts presented to us with science. Question everything you have ever been told. Especially start with your attitude / outlook, news source, the food you consume and your physical activity level. These may be some of the last free choices that you can make for this planet, ourselves and future generations. Have empathy for others’ situations because it could always be you. We need to know and feel that we are enough because we are more than our physical bodies. The constant voice in your head that compares everything and is never okay, that is your ego. You are the watcher behind that voice that is conscious of the fleeting thoughts and emotions, nothing is forever.
We are dealing with the past generations’ energy decisions. We need to understand how our world works in order to be the stewards we are meant to be. The classes at City College have helped me develop new skills that help me look at the world from an ecological and environmental lens. We can create a world to be proud of and one in which we would actually want to live in. There is a collective consciousness that is sick right now. We need to feel community and connection to the natural world and to all living beings.
“If we lose our connection with nature, what might it mean for our planet?… Today many children and adults suffer from what Richard Louv [American author and journalist] calls “nature-deficit disorder”— reduced awareness and a diminished ability to find meaning in the life around us,” Renee Cho, staff blogger of Columbia University’s environmental paper, The Earth Institute, said.
I have been called radical because I believe, in my heart, that everything can and should be different. Start with you. I was naive and thought someone was taking care of the issues or recycling my products, but it is not true. It takes courage to change people’s hearts and evil will continue to prevail if good people do nothing. Social movements of the working class, students and everyday people are the ones that will change the world. We have the power, we just need to know we are enough and this is worth fighting for. In america, I am surrounded by an illusion of reality and level of comfort that results in a lack of action. Give back to others and society in some way. City college needs to be a leader in connecting our communities and taking inclusive steps toward sustainability and combating climate change, not find new ways to cut classes before the semester begins.