Three weeks ago I met a team of incredible people that are so on fire for educating the world on wonderful it is and how possibly terrible (or at least irresponsible) we are as humans. What a twisted concept? How dare she say humans are bad? After spending some time thinking about the comment though I realize that it wasn’t such a twisted statement after all and that as human, we at most bad and at least selfish.
In March 2016 a Pew study observed that 62% of American adults receive their news from social media platforms. That is almost every 3 out of 4 people. And for anyone that has ever followed a clickbait article it is obvious why this is a problem. The media in general and socialized media specifically has done a great job of filling our minds with ideas that are unsubstantiated and largely false. It pushes thoughts and ideas on you and is quick to berate you if you aren’t of the same opinion or aren’t as educated on certain topics. One of the most recent example of this is the presidential election. Another is agriculture, GMOs, and sustainable farming. That in itself is a huge topic.
Being a high school senior I have learned that most of my peers have no idea what sustainability is. They can’t even spell it, let alone tell you what it is. You quickly lose the attention of my peers when you talk about anything deeper than vanity, self-imagined fame, celebrity, and the like. Caring – deeply caring – about anything other than yourself is just not cool. Because of the perspective social media holds in regard, it is hard be a high school student and want to live green. There is no reduce or reuse or even recycle. It is all about consuming on every level. My personal care for sustainability is like wearing a scarlet letter A. Fellow classmates find it odd. I have noticed that those interested in the world around them; its health and its future, are deemed weird. There is no place on TMZ for the environment. Personally, I think it is pretty scary to think that the Millenials like myself are the next world leaders.
How can you govern and take care of yourself you have no interest in? As a group we have grown up spoiled. We believe everything should be handed to us. We believe we are carefree and don’t have to have a care in the world except how many likes we get on our Instagram posts. But this is what social media (and media in general) has done for us and done to us. It has reduced us down to a hashtag of a human. If you ask social media how wonderful the world is it will probably respond by saying: not so great because there is not enough land for each Kardashian to have their own private beach.
The truth is that Earth is a miraculous place filled with resources that humans take advantage of everyday.
Sustainability – as I see it – means being able to maintain, uphold, or defend. It is used closely with our environment because it is what we need to be doing. We need to be educated about our resources because one day we might just run out of them. Then what do we do? I have more than a passing concern for the state of sustainability and the understanding of it in my peers. Once we begin to understand our own environmental deficiencies we can start taking action towards preventing a lifestyle of discomfort.
This is why I adore the Creative Animal Foundation and why I have realized that that girl I mentioned before just may not be so wrong after all. With more groups like CAF we can re-educate ourself on what the Earth is, how important it is to all species, and where we can go from here. Count me in.
Miranda Moore is a senior at South Lenoir High School in Deep Run, NC. She is currently studying environmental science and agricultural related topics.