December 14, 2011
As I think back on the kind of pessimism and frustration that many of us expressed towards the end, I feel that reflecting on Professor Maxine Burkett’s guest lecture helped me to regain a sense of hope, even in spite of the eye-opening World Without Us reading. I was very moved by the presentation. As Professor Burkett said, we hear about bits and pieces of climate change effects, all the time. I’ve heard about the storms, the floods, earthquakes and tsunamis regularly in the news for at least the past 5-10 years. I’ve even experienced firsthand the strange weather patterns in Hawaii and the East coast blizzards, well into Spring. It’s funny how we are so bombarded with evidence of climate change, with “green” conservation messages and media in our popular culture, but are still not able to fully understand or feel the imminent threat that it poses. It’s like we are all in denial or unwilling to process the full picture until it is either in our backyards or someone literally sits us down and lays it all out. Professor Burkett did that, for me, with this presentation and it really hit home. Especially damning, was the graph that showed the extreme change in frequency of natural disasters. Climate change is not only real, it’s already effecting us and will continue to do so…unless we start to make drastic changes, now.
Professor Burkett admitted, herself, that she faced the same sense of hopelessness but then came through with the message that we can do something, and that people are, even as we speak, trying to do something on an international level. This was really inspirational. This class has truly helped me to see the scope of environmental issues that our generation and our children’s will be facing. It’s impossible not to feel frustrated with the many things that prior generations have already set in motion, which we will simply have to see play out…issues like our on-going nuclear legacy and our Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But, until technology or microbes can aid us, we have to hold onto hope by taking steps as individuals, as entities, as governments and as an international community. I, for one, pledge to be more conscious of my environmental footprint, and to share what I’ve learned with anyone that will listen, especially my 8-year-old.
Maybe we can change.
Thank you, Professor Matteson.