About a month ago, a poll reported that an “overwhelming majority” of Americans support government action to combat global warming. That being said, I have found that people generally take one of two positions on the environment, even if they support such legislation: “passion” or “indifference.” I am a member of the latter group and always have been. It’s not that I don’t want to care, I just don’t. Al Gore isn’t going to scare me.
What reasons have I been given to care about something that is so completely and utterly irrelevant to my day-to-day life? So the atmosphere is trapping more heat. That just means a longer summer and more days to tan on Healy Lawn, which is great — I won’t emit as much carbon dioxide from my car on beach trips. Speaking of, happy 10th anniversary, Kyoto! That’s a really big milestone to hit. Life is just downhill from here.
On the topic of heat, though, we just had a snow day. Now, the snow has turned to ice, and it’s just everywhere. I don’t understand what the government is going to do about the fact that there’s global warming, but it’s still snowing here in Washington, D.C. Senator Inhofe agrees — maybe I can get him to start a snowball fight near campus, and maybe he will throw in an internship or something, too.
Let the fish and birds and whatever else die. It’s natural selection for the food chain. We can make everything we could possibly need to sustain ourselves on a farm or in a factory, anyway. This is good — it’ll get rid of all those mutated rats and roaches on campus. The so-called “tragedy” of the commons is more of a poorly disguised blessing, if you ask me. I can buy some flowers and plant a tree or two as compensation, if it’s really that much of an issue. It all balances out in the end. Balance. Like yoga, which is natural, too. You see what I mean?
Anyway, there’s not much else I could possibly do. It’s like voting, right? One vote doesn’t make a difference (unless you’re Kevin Costner in a strange, rather average movie). Will one person — out of seven billion, mind you — making environmentally friendly choices help with anything at all? I didn’t think so. I’ll vote in favor of it, if that’s all it’ll take, but I don’t see the need to educate myself on the topic. At the very least, give me a sticker for living conscientiously — that’s the only reason I ever head down to the polls. Nothing says civic duty like the “I voted!” sticker on my laptop from the one and only election in which I’ve participated.
These so-called “choices” also take far too much effort for me to be enticed into making them. You can’t ask me to remember to bring a reusable shopping bag or water bottle around — that’s just excessive. Instead of throwing out my trash, you want me to sort and recycle it now, too? The thought of doing that is almost as scary as the monsters hiding under my bed, so I obviously can’t turn off my lights either. Who has the time?
Caring about the environment also takes away from caring about people. I can’t be expected to care about more than one thing at any given time! That’s basically a requirement for being a millennial, according to my drunk uncle every Thanksgiving. So, let me perform one random act of kindness for someone in need and be done with it! (Well, almost random. I had been strategically timing it so that I could get the most likes on Facebook.) That was my contribution to this fine planet; have you done anything, yet?
These environmental “issues” certainly exist, but if they’re occurring as slowly as scientists say they are, then they won’t affect me, anyway. If we wait a generation or two to take action, it’ll still be okay. That being said, most of us do support the legislation on climate change, and the issue becomes how we make it more salient and, well, glitzy. These issues are not as transparent as we would like to think they are — much like our dear-old, swift Potomac.
Tithi Patel is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service. Under the Veil appears every other Sunday on thehoya.com.