Environmentalism: Friend or Foe?

By , Princeton, NJ
"Go Green” and “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” are common themes heard today. They are a part of a growing and popular movement to reduce the human effects on the environment. Now, more than four decades after its creation, this new movement is hard to ignore. Almost every person in the United States participates. However, has this more-than-forty-year idea been useful, or merely an irritation? How much has it done for our world?

Any observer of the ideals of the environmentalist movement can see indecisive and uncertain words scattered all over them (“Reduce, reuse, and recycle, ““Reduce CO2 emissions”, etc.) Wasn’t this movement supposed to guarantee the condition of Earth for practically infinite posterity? Simply looking at the comparisons between the state of the environment now and the beginnings of the movement in 1969 shows the entire story. With a bit of research and mathematics, many surprising facts can be uncovered. Between 1990 and 2007, Carbon Dioxide emissions have still gone up by more than 20%, greenhouse gas emissions have also increased by around 15%, and renewable energy sources still remain a pitiful 7% of our energy sources. At this rate, it could take centuries if not millennia to achieve what we desired; to erase the footprint that man has left upon Earth. Is this what we have been spending billions of dollars and decades of effort on?

Despite the existence of environmentalism practically everywhere in our lives, this nationwide movement has done little towards its cause. Additionally, the United States is only a small portion of the world, and whatever reforms this movement can offer can only be nationwide. As much of an impact that American environmentalism can make, it can only affect one of the almost two hundred countries of the world. The three green arrows of recycling do not only represent the process of recycling, but the endless loop that environmentalism has put the country in: constant toil without result.

Most of the public also follow this new movement founded in the late 1960’s without knowing the hard facts about the topic. It actually takes the same amount, if not more, energy to recycle a certain substance than to simply dispose of it and re-manufacture the substance, especially complex materials such as glass and plastic. The Earth must be preserved for future generations, but environmentalism is leading us in a huge circle of constant effort without result.

So, is it really possible to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels? Could we imagine a world where we could completely destroy Greenhouse Gas emissions? Can we actually erase our Ecological Footprint? New discoveries in physics have given us promising answers to these questions. The most advanced sciences of today show us that one day, it may be possible to live in a world without dependence on fossil fuels and without CO2 emissions; we simply need to put our faith and resources in the right place.





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