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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 12, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Commentary: Environmental activism requires participation

Close your eyes. Imagine your life 10 years from now, now 40 years. Do you see children, maybe even grandchildren? Perhaps you see yourself doing the work that you love. Maybe you just see yourself existing, content with the simplicity of this stage of your life. Whatever scenario you envision, it is safe to say that it would inherently involve breathable air, clean water and the services of a healthy planet. 

It is our tendency to take these things for granted, as we generally have them without any consideration. But imagine a future without these vital resources — it would most likely not align with your idealized vision. While most of us have the privilege to not know a life that lacks these resources, many beings in the world already face an existence defined by struggling to survive without these crucial provisions. These somewhat isolated occurrences are spreading, however, and soon we will all live an existence saturated with these problems. Unless we, as the human species, decide to change. 

Currently, we exist within a system that is built on a foundation of exploitation of the Earth. We are treating finite resources as if they are infinite and as if they will never be reduced by human activities — neither of which hold true. There is a certain point that, once reached, will leave us without the ecosystem services that provide and regulate crucial components of our existence. 

While it is safe to say that most of us are not those responsible for creating the capitalist system that is founded on this exploitation of the Earth, we still have the responsibility to appropriately react to these conditions. We have a choice: accept the system as it is or resist it. It is crucial to have individuals take matters into their own hands, building participation toward an override of our current systems. 

After coming to Ithaca College, I immediately got involved in as many climate-focused groups as possible. Through my connection with the Eco Reps, I have worked to cultivate relationships with others that allow us to learn about and protect the planet together. My involvement with Sunrise Movement Ithaca has allowed me to fight for climate action, locally and nationally. 

There are numerous ways for IC students to take their futures into their own hands. Actions can be as seemingly small as altering your diet to have a plant-based focus to as large as getting involved with groups like Eco Reps or Sunrise. Sunrise is currently planning a strike for Earth Day in which we are encouraging students to strike from class in order to demonstrate our demand for a focus on climate action. Actions like this derive strength from numbers — the more people we have showing the intensity they feel concerning the issue, the more impactful of an action it will be. Everyone who wants a livable future should strike to demonstrate that demand. 

We are at a crossroads — we all have a choice to make. Do we want to fight for a livable future for ourselves and all beings that come after us, or do we want to sit back and watch as that future is robbed from us? It is time to resist, time to change, time to take control and time to fight for our future.