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Presenting the NATO of CA/NV 2017 Scholarship Winners...

Before the Flood

As a child, my family vacationed every summer. City after city, state after state, blending into a constant stream of long drives, card games, s’mores, and uncomfortable RV beds. We visited many places, but anything short of Disneyland always seemed slightly disappointing. As I have grown, so has my disappointment, but with one major change; I no longer find myself disappointed in the places I go, but in my former inability to appreciate the places I’ve been. There is a nearly unimaginable amount of variation on our planet. Whether it is diversity of environments, climates, species, or cultures, Earth allows for so many amazing experiences.

Climate change is destroying many of the things that I find so beautiful about our planet, but it runs so much deeper than that. Speaking from a purely scientific standpoint, climate change is the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced. The sad irony that many don’t know, we are all causing the threat that we attempt to fight. “Before the Flood”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, does a very good job explaining climate change from a different perspective than the usual. There are two reasons why I would want everybody in the world to see this movie; it educates the viewer on personal accountability in relation to climate change, and it does a fantastic job at explaining the frustrating truths behind why this problem cannot be easily fixed.

As Americans, our population always wants newer, better, and more. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because it has led to inventions that benefit humanity in revolutionary ways. Of course, there is a negative side to the American mentality. Always wanting more has caused many of us to become gluttonous. People have lost the ability to self-regulate, and this film does a great job of putting perspective on how we live. The things that we do, on an individual scale, have an effect on our environment. Whether it’s what we eat, what we drive, how we get our electricity, or whom we vote for, many of us are responsible for the deterioration of our world. Understanding this, and taking accountability for our actions is a very important step to the final solution. The common feeling is one individual doesn’t have the power to make tangible change, and sadly this is true; but strength can be found in numbers, and problems like this can be solved with devotion from a large enough population.

Engaging populations in a topic such as climate change can be a difficult thing. People seem to come from so many different backgrounds and beliefs today. Barring instances involving inequality in societies, human populations are often divided by what resembles a “separate but equal” system. I am not referring to this as one would in relations to civil rights era America, or apartheid South Africa; rather, as a representation of diversity amongst all humans. Nearly every person can be placed into certain categories, be it sex, race, culture, religion, political views, financial status, city, state, country, or anything else that creates a “separation”. These things can all be seen as the values that dictate individuality between different people, both physically and mentally. What these values fail to do is create a sense of humanity. No matter what beliefs or physical attributes someone may have, they are still human. Climate change must become a universal matter, which can be pushed on all platforms of humanity. It is no question that we are a special group, and with a common goal, anything becomes possible.

We, as humans, can no longer stand idle while our planet is being destroyed. We must come together, look past differences, and find strength in similarities. As a child, I never understood the true beauty our planet has to offer, but I was able to learn over time. It is my fear future generations will not have the luxury of time. We must act together, as a species, and fight this issue. This is truly the biggest test humanity has ever faced, but with personal accountability, and the drive to do what’s right for ourselves, others around us, and future generations, a solution is well within our reach.

 

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