Thursday, September 30, 2010

Future Changes by Amber Popkes

Environmental Studies
Dr. David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
September 27, 2010

Future Changes
Our society is always changing, always evolving. We call this “advancing technology”. I often joke with my friends and say “if we have all this great technology, why haven’t we invented the flying car yet?” My friends all laugh and we go about our conversation. Now that I think about it, I have to wonder, would this somehow help the environment? Is there a way to advance our technology while silmultaneously saving the envrionment? How would we power these flying cars? On one hand, if we used standard fossile fuels, we would advance technology but do nothing for the environment. On the other hand, if we find and use a renewable resource, not only would we advance technology, but we would also save the environment. It’s a win-win situation for all.
Though, I don’t have the answers to my question, I do believe that we as a society can look at alternate ways to power the current vehicles we drive. The only problem I see with this is the funding. In this day and age, everything we do comes down to money. Who has it and who is willing to share? Part of me wants to believe that “big oil” and rich and famous people like Donald Trump have some sort of soft spot in their heart for the environment. Of course, we know differently. Donald Trump found himself at the center of controversy when he wanted to build a golf course on a dune habitat in Scotland. He also called for Al Gore to be stripped of his nobel peace prize-which was awarded for his work with the environment. And, as we discussed in class, we don’t see “big oil” funding research anytime soon. The money they are making with fossile fuels seems to be sustaining them just fine.
So, who funds the money for research? I much like many in the United States would love to drive a hybrid vehicle powered by corn. Unfortunately, I alone could never fund this type of research and I don’t believe I would be able to donate it every year. My monetary circumstances seem to change from time to time. With that being said however, there are those that can afford to fund. I’m speaking of those in Hollywood. Those smiling faces that walk the red carpet and keep so many of us entertained on a Saturday evening. Actors like Brad Pitt (who personally funded the rebuilding of 150 homes, using green technology, in the ninth ward after Hurricane Katrina and who has also personally met with President Obama about federally funding green housing projects), Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio (both of whom have produced documentaries in support of saving the environment), Ted Danson (started an organization dedicated to saving our oceans), Darryl Hannah, Rachel McAdams, Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson, Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom (Gerstein, 2010) and my personal favorite Johnny Depp have all committed to saving our environment (Depp, Unk).
So, why haven’t more actors made this commitment to go green? I find it strange that only a handful of some of the most influential people in America have joined forces to save our environment. Society puts more trust into Hollywood actors and actresses than we do our government. We talk about them as if they are our best friends. We know intimate details of their lives and yet have never met them. We strive to be these people. With that much power, why have they not made more of an effort to ensure we, the “common people”, do our part? With as much money as they make (and some continue to make off of royalties) the research to find alternate fuel sources could easily be funded. And honestly, if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson looked at the camera and said “drive a hybrid car!” I can think of several people (mostly women, but some men too) who would run out and purchase said vehicle. It’s a perfect solution to a not so perfect problem. We come back to the question “How do we get Hollywood to fund such a research?” My cynical side says they should be mandated by law to donate a portion of their paycheck to the research. In fact, we could extend it to a certain salary, not just those in Hollywood. My practical side says that will never happen because it would mean our entire elected government would have to donate a portion of their paycheck.
I believe the answer I’m looking for lies in education. My ultimate goal is to attain a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. I believe educating our children is one of the most important responsiblities a person can be given. Teachers mold our society. They teach them not only the basics of reading, writing and arithmatic but also how to live. They teach them how to be a well rounded person. Many people credit teachers as their heros. As this hero, I plan to incorporate environmental education into my classroom.
I plan to lead by example. When I started this course five weeks ago, I had not really put much thought into recycling or using plastic bags. After being educated, I’m now making a more consious effort. Many learning groups have provided tips on how little ideas can make a difference. These same simple steps can help me shape young children. Things like adding a recycling bin next to the trash can, turning off lights when we don’t need them or when we leave the room, doing art projects with recyclable items (milk jugs, toilet paper rolls etc.) can all impact the way young minds think. If we teach them early about habitats (maybe explore some in person if possible) and animals they are less likely to destroy them. Armed with this basic knowledge I believe our children will grow into responsible adults. They will take over our jobs as we retire out and solve the problems that we, as a society, have created. And, you never know—some of them may even go onto Hollywood stardom, remember the simple steps I taught and single handedly fund research into alternate fuels and flying cars.

Depp, J. (Unk). Johnny Depp Supports EJF’s Fight Against Pirate Fishing. Retrieved September 27, 2010, Environmental Justice Foundation:
Gerstein, J. (2010). 14 Celebrities Who Walk the Walk. Retrieved September 27, 2010, from the Daily Green:

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