Raising Awareness

The extent of human impact in modern-day goes far beyond that of any species thus far; with massive industrialization and the creation of entire new ecosystems we perceive as “concrete jungles,” mankind has evolved far beyond the reaches of natural balance in ways we cannot fully grasp or manage. An epoch of Anthropocene seems highly plausible when one realizes the full capacity of human activity on the planet. Rather than perceiving the Earth as an ever-absorbing wild scape that we can continually dump our rubbish in, society as a whole must reevaluate the conceptualization of our position in affecting our surroundings in profound ways (Malm 2). According to Kolbert, this transition of power between man and nature is still widely debated, while some believe it began at the agricultural revolution, others argue it only occurred recently, with population escalation and heavy industrialization (Kolbert 4).

The overall issue of climate change seems entirely impersonal to those whose personal lives don’t extend far beyond their minute social bubble. In a small town, closed off from much of the world, the community is not focused on large-scale international issues, but on the gossip about their neighbor’s cousin and the state of the shopping mart downtown. Global warming seems like its an issue in another world entirely. Kahan argued that this disconnect–from macro to micro–often creates disillusion within society, as people would rather share opinions with their friends than be correct about problems they don’t see as particularly pressing. To overcome this gap, scientists such as Whitlock showed the impacts of climate change on small communities, making these broad, overarching problems related to the backyard garden of a homeowner. Furthering the conversation of climate change, in my opinion, requires not only a personal discussion with communities but small-scale solutions for them to apply. Ensuring recycling systems are accessible and easy to use, and highlighting their importance–for example–allows for people of all types and on all scales to participate in solving a crisis we are all entering together.