Environmental issues are multidisciplinary. You can’t talk about expansion of industry without talking about rights of workers, where you get materials, how those materials will be sustained, and even women’s rights (if you include the pay difference and maternity leave). The thing is, climate change is the same way. Everyone will be affected by it, but not everyone sees it in the same way. A person whose family has relied on the coal industry for livelihood will look at things differently than the indigenous people fighting for their land will look at it. Our differences in environmental ideology help frame our perspectives, what we care about, and how we move forward in our lives in the context of what is happening around us.
A big issue that I have encountered myself is getting people to care and realize that it is happening, it is faster than we think, and it will cause major repercussions. For another class, I had to teach someone a topic that I had learned about this semester in class. I was fairly comfortable with the person I picked, but, nonetheless, I was nervous and unsure of my facts and how to explain things in a way that would make sense. I have always believed that education is a crucial step missing from other’s understanding of climate change. If people knew the science, understood what all will change and who all will be affected their mentality will change (at least that is what I had hoped). Despite knowing this, I found it difficult to explain what I had written and my beliefs of this into convincing words. Teaching this person I cared about that what I was saying mattered proved to be more difficult, and slightly discouraged me. How can I explain to strangers that this issue is a problem if it was challenging to talk with someone that I am comfortable with? Is the reason that it was so hard because I was so used to talking with them, and changing my mentality to teaching them created a barrier? For whatever reason, it does not change the fact that there will always be issues talking about things that are politically charged. We can choose what we want to see on social media by unfollowing those who don’t agree with our views, and we can agree to not talk about politics at family events. But where is this getting us in the grand scheme of things? Growth is built on differing opinions and compromise, and if we choose to shut off others because we feel they are wrong, then I don’t think this climate change issue will get anywhere. To be plastic mentally is to be willing to see that things aren’t going to happen over night, but that we can continue to make changes in our lives that can encourage changes in policy. I think this class has taught me a lot, but one of the biggest things was to be aware of what is out there and to come at things critically but openly.