Inadequate efforts

The 1990’s are a decade marked by environmental consciousness. Recycling and conservation are key issues that have manifested due to disregard and abuse of precious resources by past generations. After reading “Ozone hole over U.S. and Canada likely this winter” in The Northern Star on Feb. 4, I have become even more concerned about responses to the following two questions: Are our efforts sufficient? Do people really care enough about the environment to make a difference?

In my opinion, these efforts are not adequate by themselves. We cannot reverse environmental mishaps of the last century or so by just conservation and recycling. We must take greater responsibilities in our own hands. It is our duty to see that businesses clean up their acts immediately, even if it does take a million petitions to federal and state governments. It is our duty to become aware of the effects of chlorine monoxide, chloroflourocarbons, bromine derivatives and other toxic chemicals to the weakened environment.

Just because you throw a Pepsi can in the recycling bin, it does not mean that you have done your “environmentally good deed” of the day. It takes guts to challenge the system. It takes guts to change people’s thinking and not just your own. It takes guts to come up with better ways to efficiently use depleting resources and promote ways to reverse these devastating effects.

So this leads to my next question: Do Americans have enough guts? When I look around myself at Northern Illinois University, I am not so sure. If all Americans are as utterly absorbed in their own day to day lives as most NIU students, then we are in a great deal of trouble. The dependence of a car or a bus to go from Lincoln to DuSable; the profound need to leave the lights, the television, the radio, and the computer on just to feel at home; and the nagging preoccupation with the thought of where the next beer is coming from are just a few examples of NIU’s single-mindedness. Come on! If you really care about the environment you have to change the entire social structure of America—starting with yourself. Think about the environment—it is all around you! Think of how you can make a difference. Public transportation, sacrifice of many unnecessary luxuries, and environmental awareness are just a few steps. We are not dealing with just minor problems. These are major catastrophes that will lead to disease and death of the human race and all other living organisms.

I am not a radical environmentalist who is trying to make your lives miserable. I am just a student who is very frustrated with this hypocritical decade of quasi-environmentalists that considers revitalizing the Earth as only a pastime or hobby. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that I do not want to die of skin cancer twenty years from now or combat the effects of pollutants in my system from the air and water. Conservation should not gain recognition through just a week, but through eternity. The issues I am bringing up have to hit home, if we are going to do anything. It takes our combined effort to make a real difference.

Monika Sood