Welcome to the blog of the course and textbook Facing up to global warming: What is going on and what you can do about it. This course is run by Professor Nick Gray of the Trinity Centre for the Environment at Trinity College Dublin.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Willing to do Anything I Can to Preserve the Planet (so long as it doesn’t cause me any inconvenience or hassle, of course)

Like most people, I have always cared about the planet on which we live, and been willing to do anything I can to preserve it (so long as it doesn’t cause me any inconvenience or hassle, of course).  Yet during the time I have been studying Environmental Sustainability, I have been challenged to look beyond the confines of my cosy, comfortable lifestyle and fully accept that every decision I make has an impact on the ecosystems and natural processes of this great organism called Gaia.

What does a truly sustainable life entail?
For me, it means having the courage to look a bit odd sometimes, to let others watch me in bemusement as I walk halfway across the Trinity campus to get to the nearest solar compactor-bin, rather than placing my food wrapper into the ordinary litter receptacle right beside me. On the occasions when I do chuck my litter into the more conveniently located bin, I have often been gripped by a sense of increasing guilt and paranoia as I ponder the ramifications of my decision and imagine landfills rising higher and higher, choking up the Irish landscape. I have also stood in the fruit and vegetable aisle of my local supermarket on more than one occasion, agonised and indecisive as I contemplate whether to buy the organic apples flown in from New Zealand or the Irish apples which cost €1.70 per bag, but which have potentially been sprayed to death with pesticides. Which is the lesser of two evils? As I have learned over the course of this module, that is not an easy question to answer.
Yet in spite of the aforementioned landfills, in spite of the massive factory chimneys that belch out countless volumes of CO2, in spite of the degradation of the ozone layer – in spite of everything that humans have done to this beautiful planet – I am not without hope. I still believe that we can pull together, take responsibility for our personal and collective actions, and heal this planet before it is too late.
Aisling Cronin

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