I’ll admit it, I never expected to be on the academic track that I am now. Environmental Studies minor and wanting to study Environmental Law. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
College is about exploring the options in one’s academic life in which they’ll eventually make a career out of. Some people know what they want to do and others are unsure. Either way, it’s okay. If there’s anything that I’ve learned over the past four semesters of changing majors, schedule conflicts, and completing core classes it’s that exploration is vital.
If I had never taken that single archaeology class my first semester of college, nor that geography class that fulfilled my lab requirement I’m not quite sure where I’d be now. Of course this also includes identifying subjects and fields that I wasn’t too fond of (aka sociology).
Over the past two years, I’ve been able to learn so much about the physical world that we humans are living in. This includes everything from the biodiversity of ecosystems, to fresh and salt water sources, to the soil covering the ground, the cycles of several key nutrients (including nitrogen and phosphorus), biome structures, ecosystem services, atmospheric circulation, ecological communities, natural resources, and so on and so forth.
Throughout this time period, I’ve come to realize how critical it is that a person knows about the science behind certain aspects of the world. Once an individual is able to understand the how certain elements and components work both separately and together within nature, they can then recognize the importance of that piece not only in relation to its location or cycle, but also how it’s important to humans.
I love the Earth because it literally gives us life that comes through various amazing processes. All that we wouldn’t be able to survive without should they be taken away. It’s not just the big components alone, such as the carbon or hydrologic cycle, but also the the small bits down to the very last microorganism in the soil and water.
Human life itself is just one of the many examples of the work of these incredible processes and how they’re fostered our formation and evolution. However, we take the Earth for granted. Over the past two hundred years we’ve taken advantage of the natural systems, have grown as a species and as well as intellectual beings, but it’s come at the cost of the our planet. Humans have taken resources and altered natural cycles in unsustainable and detrimental ways. While the Earth gives gives gives to us, we take take take but don’t give back. In the end, humans are degrading the very systems that allow us to live.
Not enough is happening on a large scale to address this issue, let alone how fast it’s being addressed. The planet can’t talk to tell us it’s being hurt, but it’s physically showing us in many ways (increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, the change in natural cycles due to polluted water and soils, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, etc).
Change needs to occur at levels. While there are various and numerous factors that need to be taken into account, it’s important to remember that even just one individual can make a difference.