Environmental Responsibility: it extends past the average consumer

Karla Villegas Pineda, Opinion Editor

We read about it everywhere: Forest fires destroying Amazonia. Entire towns in the Arctic forced to relocate because of melting ice. Freak storms destroying everything in their paths. The cause of all these disasters lies in one place: humans. 

Climate change, deforestation, pollution and over-consumption are not just terms we learn about in Biology 1100;they are the ugly truth that the world refuses to properly address. We are responsible for the real threats facing the planet, and we must implement much greater change than purchasing metal straws to save Earth.

In the last 10 years, being “eco-friendly” has become a trend only the financially privileged can participate in.

 For example, take the cost of clothing. Brands such as Forever 21 and Zara are much more affordable for the average college student than others like Free People and Toms. The inexpensive brands students can afford are members of the “fast-fashion” industry, the goal of which is to manufacture clothing for cheap in as fast a manner as possible. Their cheap products encourage shoppers to overspend and contribute to the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

The average consumer, while able to make decisions on how to reduce their personal carbon footprint, can’t control others and certainly not entire industries. What the world needs is change on a greater scale. Unified political regulations must be put in place to obtain the change necessary to save the Earth from ourselves. 

This kind of change is not radical. Switzerland, Denmark and even China have implemented plans to reduce greenhouse emissions and are actively doing what they can to enforce them. 

Yet here in the United States, President Donald Trump is responsible for 49 completed environmental regulation rollbacks across pollution, oil drilling, animal protection and infrastructure planning. 

Most recently, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a bill that would relax methane leak regulations in oil drilling, in efforts of saving the oil industry around $18 million a year. However, even major oil companies like BP and Shell have publicly denounced these regulation changes. 

The environment is just a marketing arena to corporations. To us, the Earth is our future and the cumulation of millions of generations’ lives. The world in general must do more to save the planet. The average consumer can continue to be as Earth conscious as they can, but without change on a big scale, no amount of metal straws will suffice.