Professor Brian Glaser
23 September 2010
September Eleventh, 2010 was the start of a long journey to improve my impact on the environment. After starting to read No Impact Man, I began to question my daily actions and how my decisions impacted the environment: actions like using five water bottles a day or wasting so many plastic bags, etc. I felt guilty…as if I was killing my home, my environment, MY EARTH.
I knew I had to make a difference, so I decided to act fast and save the planet. But there was a problem; I did not know where to start, so I decided to log on to Colin Beavan’s blog (Author of No Impact Man) and ask him for help. I emailed him asking ...view middle of the document...
They excused people who have ignored the effect of greenhouse gases on climates over the past 40 years. Some know what is really going on out there, but most people do not know, or they know but deny the obvious for selfish reasons.
I'm not sure that reducing individual resource use is the entire way forward. At the root, religious philosophies say to do less harm, yes, but they also say do more good. There is a limit to how much less harm I can do. But my potential for good is unlimited. All of our potentials for good are unlimited. The question becomes not whether we use resources but what we use them for. Do we use them to improve lives? Or do we waste them? My life itself is a resource. How shall I use it? (Beaven, Page 123)
I agree with Colin that it will take both individual and collective action to effect that need to occur. Us giving up our car is certainly a tiny drop in the bucket, but it does have an impact, and it also increases the awareness of the people around us (and ourselves), and that can ripple outward in a powerful way. I realized my impact on the planet by driving a car; therefore, I was determined to act for a change. What did I do? I decided to drive less locally. I began to ride my bike to work, friends’ houses and appropriate destinations. I rode my bike to work three times a week for four miles. The hardest part was riding home after a nine hour shift. My legs were dead- tired and sore. But I knew I couldn’t back out now, I had to keep going. I had to keep fighting to save the environment. A study done by John Maki, Harvard University professor, in 2006 estimated that if every American cuts down their car use by 10 percent, the rate of Air Pollution will improve by two thousand percent…two thousand percent! I was shocked. I did not understand why, as humans, we could not cut down ten percent of comfort to save the environment, to save our home, to save our planet. Personally, I think as humans we are too selfish and uneducated. People do not understand the benefits of riding a bike or other physical activities. Benefits such as keeping one physically fit, keeping one happy and stress free, and most importantly helping people save money on gas, oil changes, etc.
The use of cars must be re-defined. Car use has to be considered a privilege, not a right. The cost of environmental damage and reclamation has to be added to the cost of owning and operating a car. Vehicle use should no longer be subsidized.
In my opinion, the American government can encourage the reduction of vehicular use in many ways. They can encourage “Green” practices such as biking to work or increasing public transit, reward car pools and car sharing plans, diversify options and limit access to existing. The government could also provide incentives for these “Green” Practices such as a tax break, or automatic access to the car pool lane in the freeway, increasing the number of electric charging stations.
A few days after I started my...