So What?

Over the past semester we have discussed time and time again  how communication is critical in facing some of the most complex issues in our society. Initially, my focus was placed upon how daunting the issues concerning both health and the environment discussed in class proved to be.  As the semester progressed I started to worry less about how huge the issue was and began to think more about how communication strategies could alleviate it.  Throughout history certain events and contexts portray lags in effective communication: the explosion of the Challenger in 1986, the discussion around HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, the lack of responsibility of cigarette companies had in their packaging, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, and lastly, The Carbide Explosion in Bhopal.  In analyzing all of these incidences, it is true that each of these tragedies, large or small, could have been avoided with a alternate decision of communication.  Though, while no one can turn back time and change the courses of action that caused these events, it is true that communication is also vital in the solution of these problems.  This is, perhaps, the most crucial lesson I have learned from this class. Despite the gravity and complexity of a problem, if society is informed and brought together through effective means of communicative problem solving, the issue could diminish.  In reading both Parrott and Corbett’s insights on this idea, I was not only convinced in  how it can be applicable to a multitude of different problems, but also how, as citizens, it is our right to be informed to make knowledgable decisions concerning our health and surroundings.  Looking back on myself before this class, I will admit that I had a degree of naivety about the issues that were and are still present around me. While I have moments when I don’t think about the critical issues facing our world today, in remembering what I have learned throughout this class I realize that the external costs of society’s choices might not always be visible, while they are still ever-present.  The only way to stay cognizant and informed about the most pressing problems our world is facing today and will face in future depends on the effectiveness of communication, by not only government entities and communities, but also by the individual.



Sophie Fain


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