Author: Liz Tolano, Pima Community College
How many times do we not question why things happen? Especially when those things destroy or harm? We seek answers, but we often do not seek solutions and changes to make significant differences. What brings me to question how much we love ourselves? How much do we love our people? How much do we love our current and future generations? I will not even question whether we love our planet because, apparently, we do not. After all, what we are doing is atrocious, and the damage that can be irreparable. Perhaps many people do not know or analyze that we are hurting ourselves and our loved ones by damaging our planet.
It may be that many people do not know about the damage we are causing to the planet because they ignore that our daily lives and our consumerism are causing and contributing to this damage. I believe this because I was one of those people until a few months ago; I thought there was very little that I contributed or could do to avoid and prevent. I thought the fault was only that those big companies released hazardous chemicals and gases into the air and the lakes and oceans causing global warming. Oh, what a great surprise it took me to know that everything is connected and that our comforts, “needs,” and consumerism are also causing the planet’s destruction.
Before, I was unaware that delighting in a delicious barbeque on weekends contributed to the current excess of livestock and its tremendous impact on our planet. I learned that I could make small changes that can help reduce the harm, even if it is just one day of the week I choose to be vegetarian or vegan. Using my car to go from one place to another for comfort seems normal and harmless. However, this has a tremendous impact due to gasoline fumes. I thought that because I do not litter on the streets or the beaches, I was not responsible for the tragic situation with our oceans. Little did I know that I became an accomplice by not changing my consumerism. Because the less we buy plastic and other harmful products, we send a message to these companies that we prefer and want green products that are friendly to our planet. The companies will continue to make their harmful products. Perhaps I am not doing anything directly to harm, but neither do I do anything to stop those that are directly damaging stop doing it and start doing something about it.
Sadly, we have not understood the concept that we can make a difference if we unite. We must come together for our common good and those of our people and our planet. We can make a difference. It is alarming that we only have ten years to reverse the damage we have done all these years; otherwise, our planet will be destroyed for good. This means that if God gives us life and we are here in 10 years, we would be experiencing the world’s destruction and end as well as ours. Of course, not to mention that the present and future of our children and grandchildren would also be destroyed. Furthermore, if this were to happen, the planet would gradually restore and heal because we would not be around to harm it again by then. This shows that nature is not the problem, but the problem is you and me.
I am a person who fights to stay steadfast in my faith and beliefs, and during this journey, I have heard numerous times that the “end of the world” will come regardless of faith or beliefs; we have all heard that the end is near. I have been telling myself and others these last five years that we are already living and experiencing the end of the world. We are perhaps waiting for a seven head dragon, darkness, fire, and all the special effects described by the movies and books. It is happening NOW! We are bringing that darkness and end to our planet, we are those monsters and dragons ourselves, and the fire is our consumerism. Hopefully, we can wake up from this fictional dream we live in and realize what we are living now and make an urgent change. So, we can understand and make amends for our mistakes because what inheritance will we leave to our children and grandchildren? “It is a myth that each and every one of us doesn’t have the ability to change the world dramatically and quickly.” (Whitaker, SDG Advocate) NOW is the time and YOU are the chosen one.