|Sanna Karlsson||# Posted on January 6, 2016 at 11:20|
Current Debates Course
The 10 seminars I have attended:
– World Systems, History and Ecology
– Nature, Narrative and Environmental History
– Governance and the Arctic
– Integrated History of People on Earth
– River History
– The Age of Ecology
My conclusion on the course
First of all, I found the course interesting. It highlighted different aspects of the climate debate today and somewhat what we can do about it. There are issues we can address today, and some which may be out of our reach to actually change for the better in the long term. My overall impression of the course is to try change our use of resources of different kinds, money and nature, in order to leave a better world to our descendence. The increasing problem started in the 1800 which the Industrial Revolution, unto the Silent Spring in the 1960s. The Revolution had to do with coal and the usage of coal, which has increased the climate change a lot. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, wrote on the contemporary usage of pesticides and other toxins which were very damaging and sometimes deadly to nature and wild life. Joahcim Radkau, describes the origins of environmentalism and also mentions Carson.
Today, the situtation is more severe, although we have banned some pesticides etcetera used in the 1960s. Coal is still being used as enery resource in electricity world wide. We have also increased environmental toxins of different kinds, by producing large amounts of them used in plastics, fabrics, electronics and much more. We are depleting the ozone layer, causing imbalances of the temperature – such as warmer over all temperature – and increasing desease among animals and damaging vegetation due to toxins. Some experts consider us to think long term, in contrast to today´s thinking of short term thinking among most people. It is my conclusion that most of the author´s we came in contact with during this course thought this way. Not only did they think long term, but also that we actually can do something about this crisis.
We have caused it, and therefore there are habits we can change. We can change our view on nature and to use it with care. To be subordinate nature and let it teach us how much we are depended upon it. If we find alternative energy sources, this would also be a step in the right direction. Yet, I did not read on how to combat the use of toxic sustances globally. Maybe it was merely not covered in the course, or not on the seminars I attended. I have however read other literature on the subject, and they suggest limitations and prohibition foremost should be be done on a more global level, such as the EU. Also, they give suggestion on what one can do on a personal level, as to how to avoid toxicity at home.
About thinking long term, and how to change the climate change. I once watched a documentary on television about six people who were pioneers in the environmental movement around the 1970s. They truly thought for change and that the government so to speak would wake up and take action. We could make a complete reverse, if only we acted now, was their message. They documentary said that only a few people thought such long term as these six people. They thought up unto six generations forward. I believe this is true, and I do admire them for taking action, since much of today´s environmental revolution is originated in their work. But, I do wonder if are all meant to think six generations forward.
To be honest, should we all think long term, and how easy is that? Consider a family of seven. The parents work fulltime to make food on the table, and rest of the time is used for the children, spending time with family, going for walks, and once in a while making a longer trip to relatives 5 hours away. The hours basically goes away quickly every week. They do not have time to be involved in anything political, nor money to buy organic. To say the least, they really do not care to be environmentally friendly, for there is too much hassel to even start going about it. And how much difference would it make? If their children is happy is all that matters to them, and if they could not see a direct connection to their action environmentally wise and the mental or physical state of their children, could they care less? Even if they wanted to care or do care is it to difficult to adjust to environmental friendly choices.
Here I believe companies and the society comes into play. If there are laws on the political level, people do not have to choose so much and make inconveinient changes in their lives, but can simply choose environmental friendly choices simply because there are almost no other choices to make, let us say in a store. The company has already made the changes for them. Of course, changes can be difficult for companies to make as well, but are they pushed from politicans, are they more motivated to make that change. Thus, for the mom and dad with five children, the best move they can make environmentally is to vote for politians who will put the right questions forward in this discussion.
To be frank, however, I doubt we can actually combat climate change. We can do all that we can yes, and it will make a difference, but I still believe it will not suffice. We have put ourselves in a horrendous mess. I think we do not know how bad we have actually treated the Earth. We have introduced foreign substances (synthezised) which we do not know the long term effect of. I believe one of the greatest dilemmas is to get everyone to cooperate. (Even if we could, would we be able to undo the damage we have done?)
Why do I believe the greatest dilemma to combat climate change is to get everyone to cooperate? To me it seems like the environmentalists think that only if the message get out to everyone, do everyone or most people want to join and combat climate change. For the good-hearted ones, I believe they will, and therefore I am all for the environmental movement, for we do have a responsibility to steward nature and wild life. But I also believe that there will be many people, no matter how much they know, will not care at all. And others, who will outright work against it.
Why people who do not care at all and the ones who will work against it will do it for mostly two reasons in my opinion: selfishness and money. It is craving things for oneself, not caring about the consequences of others. I believe that no matter how much one tries to convince them, they will not change, period. So, I consider the environmental movement should grow and do even more good works, while I believe they should also understand their limits: they will possibly not change the whole world, and people will also work against them. But yet I would say, do not give up in changing the world for the better! For you never know who else will join the movement and how much change can be done.
Reply To: Examinations of the course
Start › Forums › Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History 2015 › Examinations of the course › Reply To: Examinations of the course