Sunday, March 2, 2014

Changing Mindsets over Matter

By Brianne Bishop

While attending a presentation at Ramapo College about permaculture, I came to the realization that humans are approaching global climate change in the wrong manner. Everyone’s solution to global climate change is new design. The designing of eco-villages (which are not the answer), the designing of new cleaner ways to extract energy, the designing of newer and more innovative structures seem like perfectly reasonable solutions. What if I said they’re not? I learned from the speaker, Andrew Faust, that designing new structures and new inventions is actually contributing to the issue of climate change. We don’t need to design new, we need to design smart and sustainably.

Think about it. Making new products, for example, wind turbines to produce new energy is a cleaner alternative than relying on coal. However, creating these products also means requiring more production chains, which requires more parts to be shipped from all over the United States and probably even China. Not to mention, what type of energy are the companies using to create the wind turbines? Is it wind energy, renewable energy, or is it coal? These are the types of growing concerns that environmental activists have today. Even new inventions such as bio-fuels and bio-diesel are not long-term reliable solutions. What will happen when we have to turn to using bio-fuels in mass quantities? What will happen to our crops once used for food? These are the questions of the future that remain unanswered.

The main issue the American population is facing is our focus on consumerism. As the presenter pointed out, we have to look into changing our economy base. Currently, our economy revolves around consumerism, which is evidentially contributing to environmental issues. How can we solve these issues? For starters we can begin looking at the mistakes we have made in the past and learn from them. We have not yet learned from our mistakes in the past to make changes in the way in which we produce. Our future will only improve if we wean off of mass production practices. We must focus on the future of permaculture, which is the idea of energy cycling. But before we can do that we have to change our mindsets over trying to change matter. The truth is that we need to design sustainable and we need to keep permaculture ideas in mind.

I think it’s amusing how easily citizens buy into companies boasting their products as green. Some people want to do what they can to help save the environment, but do little to educate themselves on these issues. Therefore they see something in the grocery store marked as “all natural” or “made with natural ingredients” and purchase it just because of these labels. I will admit, I do this as well and buy green cleaning products, but I realized that just because I buy naturally derived plant-disinfecting wipes doesn’t mean anything. I am still using these wipes and throwing them in the trash, and there lays the actual issue. Yes, the wipes are made of a biodegradable material, but what does that mean? How long does it take the wipes to degrade?

A majority of the public, and even I, have no idea what we are actually doing for the Earth by buying these green products. Looking at the facts, we are still creating waste, even if it is doing it by being a little greener. The global citizens need to improve on educating one another on what we can do as a global community to save our beloved planet Earth.

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