Is comfort worth the damage to our environment?
We will never solve the upcoming global warming disaster unless we stop our addiction to comfort. Just as drug addiction can affect the whole family, our addiction to comfort affects the entire earth. Being young used to be exciting with unlimited opportunities, but now we are the ones facing the potential effects of a worsening climate from previous generations.
Certain habits such as brushing teeth, eating healthy foods, and exercising can be beneficial to human health, while other habits such as eating fast food are simply damaging to human health and the earth. These habits are bred from comfort and convenience. It’s much more comfortable to drive a car to the grocery store instead of bicycling or walking. It’s much more convenient to receive a package from Amazon instead of shopping locally. It’s much more comfortable to travel alone in an SUV rather than taking public transportation or driving in a small, fuel-efficient vehicle.
A few simple actions we can all do to combat climate change can include not wasting meals, taking shorter showers, walking and biking instead of driving, recycling and reusing products, turning off unused electronic equipment, and planting trees.
We need to change our ways immediately. We must all change today; we cannot wait until tomorrow. People do not like to think about the possibility of bad things happening but almost all experts in the climate research field agree that we have only a small window of 10 years or less to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. If we do not, we will soon go over the 1.5 ° C mark established by the Paris Agreement in 2015. Increasing the global temperature by more than 1.5 ° C will cause irreparable damage to our planet.
With scientific evidence published daily proving climate change, why can’t we change our habits and end our fatal addictions? Addicts convince themselves daily that their actions are justified because their actions make them feel good in the short term. For example, when someone consumes caffeine, they feel great for a brief period until the effects of caffeine quickly dissipate. This is like the feeling we get when we buy goods that we do not need. We feel happy about our purchases in the short term, but consuming cheap goods from corporations is not sustainable for our wallets or the earth in the long run. After a while, the items will eventually break and end up in a landfill, polluting a body of water, and polluting the air with the fossil fuels burned to transport the items.
It will be difficult, but we all need to stop this rash consumerism at once. As consumers, we must make purchases that are ethical to the earth and the people who are not as privileged as us. It will take effort to find replacements for the products we enjoy, but it is worth it to preserve the earth for our children and grandchildren.
We are addicted to comfort because we do not suffer any immediate consequences. In class, we learned that models projecting future climates and weather patterns predict Indiana will not feel the effects of climate change within the next century while other places, such as the coastal and Southwest United States, will be devastated. Climate change is a slow but unrelenting process, but now it is changing rapidly. Irreversible damage will be done if we continue our addiction to comfort and lack of empathy for future generations. Industries reinforce our habits by continuously selling us comfort that we do not need.
We must see beyond ourselves and make a change for the well-being of all life around the world.
– Christian Sizemore, Savanah Craig, Jalynn Jackson, Julia James, Caroline Robinson, Sanjaya Bhandari, Trey Brooks-Ellis
Climatology students, Indiana State University