When Americans think of environmentalism, they think of organic food labels, Teslas, and energy efficient light bulbs. When Danes think of environmentalism, a very different picture appears. Environmentalism is not an add-on; instead, it is deeply imbedded in the soul of Danish life.
What are your basic needs? Most people would say things like food, water, shelter, and health. For us students, there aren’t many things that would threaten these basic needs in the short term. Soon, however, we may have to start thinking about this, as climate disruption is threatening the things we use and take for granted every day.
Many private companies are investing in clean energy developing things like solar panel fields and wind farms. However, the reality is that there is still too much carbon dioxide emitted nationally and it is a very expensive proposition to develop the infrastructures needed to produce clean energy to meet our total consumption. One significant alternative energy project that I have experienced first hand is the development of the first offshore wind farm three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, courtesy of Deepwater Wind.
Even though the goal of a national park is preserve and protect the land, the Grand Canyon is a battleground for its richness in uranium. Political figures are fighting to sell parts of the Grand Canyon to those seeking to earn profits from the uranium mining industry, while the Navajo nation fights to protect both the land they have lived on and their own wellbeing.
When Richard Nixon, a Republican president, signed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into law in January 1970, nobody found it entirely too startling. If President Ronald Reagan had done the same only ten years later, however, the nation would have been shocked. What made it so that environmental issues became a question of political affiliation by the 1990s?
On March 24, 2018, I participated in the March for our Lives, a nationwide rally fighting against gun violence. At the rally in Boston, I was stunned by the sheer number of young people present. I have become acutely aware of the power of our voices and the need for social movements to further our cause. My cause is sustainability.
When the fundamental 1970 Clean Air Act and 1972 Clean Water Act were passed, they were popular bipartisan bills, yet now, a climate change denier heads the EPA in what looks to be an awfully bleak situation. How have policies changed so drastically from the fervent environmentalist movements of the 1970s?
I hope to inspire viewers to think about the longevity of plastics the next time they use a single-use plastic bottle or similar plastic products and perhaps try to make more sustainable decisions after thinking about the environmental consequences of their actions.
A great deal of the film also focuses on human and animal rights. The food industry has an almost unlimited, convenient, and cheap supply of labor: the poor and immigrants. Overall, the film does a great job of showing how mass food production is no longer a natural process, but instead a highly mechanized, industrial system led by a few powerful people separated from the grim reality of animal agriculture.
At a time when a quarter of our food travels from farm to garbage, and one in six Americans goes hungry, food waste is truly one of the most pressing global issues we face. After researching the issue of food waste, I have gained a new perspective on its impact on climate change, and the necessity (and feasibility) of reversing its effects. Fixing the issue can be as simple as purchasing produce with slight imperfections, or buying only necessary amounts of food, in order to give back to the earth what we have taken away. No longer can we allow the problem to fester and scrape our food off of our plates without a second thought. It is time for all of us to take responsibility for the planet that we call home.
And that is the beauty of a garden. You get to try it all, again. You get to experience it, immerse yourself in the buzzing and blooming beauty of the plants and then months later look wistfully at the brown, or more often white-encrusted earth, imagining all the possibilities that will come with the next spring.