Sunday, June 3, 2007

Environment v. America

On the whole, America seems to ignore the fact or at least contest the fact that global warming exists, or at least that humans can affect their environment. Other countries may do the same but it seems that the United States is at the forefront when it comes to retaining old industrial practises and prolonging change. Would it be so bad to accept that we affect our environment? What's wrong with a little conservation, a little respect for others and some foresight? If nothing else, conservation can save us money (an incentive for the "average" individual to participate). It seems, however, that the majority of Americans are too stuck in their ways to consider any alternative. Granted, industrial jobs play a large role in the American economy but investing in the future and alternative fuels now means the economy can continue to prosper even after finite resources like oil and coal are exhausted. Exxon Mobil, for example, refuses to invest in alternative energy. Sadly, the money is currently in the oil industry as opposed to alternative fuels as stubborn Americans refuse to change their driving habits at $3.30/gallon. Until reserves are depleted or habits are changed, oil is the place to be. Investing in the future, however, means that individuals, companies, and the nation will continue to prosper long after traditional fuels are wiped out. The United States has such a great tradition of consumption that the alternative (which includes consuming less) scares many and is rarely a thought. Therefore, changing habits and consuming less (acting European), would be akin to acting un-American. The United States can always change things for the better, but rarely changes itself. Can the U.S. really continue to hold this belief as our hunger for oil only stirs further the boiling pot of hatred in the Middle East? Yes, and for some time into the future. If one is pro-environment, he or she will likely be against interference in the Middle East due to the detrimental effects on said environment as well as national security (at home and abroad). Were one to proclaim this belief, however, that individual would be labeled sympathetic to the "terrorists" and "unpatriotic". It may seem like a stretch, but I feel the connection exists and that it may help explain our country's reluctance to change at the pace needed. Does being pro-environment really equate to being anti-American? It shouldn't...but it seems as though that may be the case.

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