The New Green: What it means to be green
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 22:08
What does it mean to be “green” in today’s world? For some people, environmentalism is more of a cute hobby than a movement. They feel perfectly accomplished watching reruns of “Captain Planet” and planting a few trees on Earth Day.
A growing number of us, however, seem to be waking up to the urgency of the environmental crisis. While there are a million shades of “green” out there – everyone has their own opinion on the best way to save the planet – it appears certain that things cannot continue as they are now. Our industrialized societies are simply consuming too much, too fast, and our natural resources cannot replenish themselves quickly enough.
In January of this year, the United Nations released a report stating that “within the next 20 years the world’s population will need 50 per cent more food and vast new reserves of energy and water.” This issue is clearly no longer about politics or environmentalism. Running out of clean air and drinkable water is a problem even if you aren’t a tree-hugger. Indeed, everyone has a stake in the health of the Earth, even if it is for purely selfish reasons. No one enjoys a polluted river or hazardous waste in the soil. And regardless of whether or not you consider yourself an “environmentalist,” the fact is that the pollution and waste we create are physically killing us. Business as usual cannot continue if we want to survive and be happy.
But enough doom and gloom. This is not the end of the world (no pun intended). Change is going to happen whether we like it or not, but a crisis will only arise if we refuse to prepare for it. Really, this seemingly dark time actually represents an unprecedented opportunity for humanity to forge a new way of life. Perhaps we will strike upon a model of living that not only saves us from destruction, but leads us to thrive and be happier than we have been during the modern era. Thousands of individuals and groups all over the world have already begun working on these exciting new models.
This column will be dedicated to exploring the pursuits of these individuals and groups, and to envisioning what a new society could look like. This column will also highlight opportunities for UConn students to actively participate in exciting projects in the local area.