Sometimes we ask ourselves this question when we're presented with problems that seem unimportant, and maybe insurmountable. You might be asking yourself right now, "Why bother with environmental conservation and resource management?" It's a reasonable question, and it has plenty of reasonable answers.
Let's start tackling this question by putting one fact out there:
We are members of the Garbage Society. Over the last few decades, the increase in affluence in many countries, especially the United States, caused a spike in the amount of trash we produce. Check out these figures on the amount of garbage created in the U.S. and how our waste has grown over the past 50 years. This trend seems reasonable to many of us: Disposable products seem convenient, and recently we've been able to afford continually buying and trashing the products we use.
So why should we be concerned about this kind of lifestyle? The truth is, the real price tag on this disposable way of life has a much bigger sticker shock than the hairspray, plastic bags, disposable cameras, and other products we're tossing in landfills every day. We're seeing serious environmental changes due to the amount of garbage we create, the air pollution we spew out every day from cars, factories, and plants, the water we waste, and the energy we drain through our "normal" habits.
Check this page out - you might be surprised at how serious our problems already are. The link goes to the reports published in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a thorough study by experts around the world that was called for by the United Nations in 2000. To learn more about what the Millenium Assessment was about, and what it found, check out the MA's FAQ. If you want to see some quick fact cards about how Earth's ecosystems are doing and how that affects us, check out this page.
Here's another fundamental truth: Even though we've let the damage go pretty far, we still have a chance to save our resources so that our environment can survive, our economy can keep prospering far into the future, and the people of the world can start sharing resources and opportunities more equitably. Places like Ithaca College put an emphasis on sustainability for a reason - we need to start conserving our resources and cutting down on our waste now to ensure human and environmental well-being for the near (and far) future.
Now that you know, you can take action. You can choose to do something about our environmental problems on a large or a small scale. It's important to remember that everyone can do their part, and even if it seems small, it WILL make a difference.
REMP strives to create opportunities for IC students to participate in conservation and rebuilding efforts - just take a look at the rest of this page! You can do your part by getting informed, spreading your knowledge, and working on incorporating the 4 Rs into your lifestyle. To help out in the IC community, you can work with REMP in a number of ways - check out the "Get Involved" section!
However you choose to take action, remember that by working towards a sustainable lifestyle, you are making your impact on the environment and other people positive, and that's something to be proud of.