Virutal Reality: How to Combat Global Disaster?

March 17, 2009
By Christine Dong BRONZE, San Jose, California
Christine Dong BRONZE, San Jose, California
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Living in the twenty-first century feels like living in a dream. Nothing seems impossible with the help of the technology that is present in our everyday lives. Diseases, once so fatal that a person who caught it was doomed to die within a week, are now easy treated. Robots have been designed to carry out surgeries in which the slightest miscalculated movement can kill the patient. Biotechnology in recent years has enabled scientists to create new plants or alter those already existing that can produce more food to counter starvation. All of the world can be linked via the internet in almost real time. We have progressed so far in so little time, yet there is one problem that continues to haunt us.

Global warming. We know where it comes from, we know what it is doing to our planet. Carbon, produced by our cars and our factories and trapped in Earth’s atmosphere, is heating up at a rapid rate, melting the polar ice caps and causing the seas to rise. Animals are becoming extinct, and skin cancer rates are rising as the ozone layer deteriorates. Large organizations invest millions of dollars in renewable resources such as solar and wind energy, and millions more in education children to be less wasteful. Yet amidst all this, Earth’s temperature continues to rise.

There is not much that people are doing that hasn’t been done before. People know about its effects, as well as how to prevent it from rapid incline, but we are too lazy to turn off the lights or bike instead of drive. Because while we’ve heard the message a thousand times, the power behind that voice isn’t enough for the meaning to sink through to us. Telling will lead us nowhere, but I believe that showing definitely can. What I mean is this: why not design a three-dimensional simulation of the effects of global warming, and introduce it to children worldwide? It is not a matter of not having the technology, as the gaming industry has designed simulations before, and there is an earthquake simulation in downtown San Jose’s Tech Museum. It is not a matter of not having the money, but only of spending the money in the right areas.

With the simulation, a child could be introduced to an environment with a long term effect of global warming and pollution. They could see with their eyes the desolation of the world, the smog in the air, and smell the stench of gasoline wherever they move. They would be surprised to find most of the coasts gone, the waves lapping over mud and sand that used to be above the seas. In their hearts, they would find amazement and understand the future of Earth if we as a whole do not stop what we’ve been doing for the past number of decades. Change is great, and slow, but in time, these simulations could teach children more than empty words every could. They would pay more attention to saving energy, the memory of what might be in the future always in the back of their mind.
Perhaps virtual reality is the way to make saving the planet…well, reality.

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