Open Your Eyes

I have terrible vision. I can hardly read text a few inches away, depending on the size of the font and how much I squint. As a result, I have worn either glasses or contacts since second grade. When I got my first pair of glasses I was ecstatic – for the first time in my life, I could differentiate birds from planes, mountains from molehills, and the attempt from the deed. I could read numbers on buildings and the board in math class. I could see that trees were not simply green clouds, but had individual leaves and branches. I was amazed and enchanted with the beauty of the world all over again. This past fall, however, as I took my glasses off while walking through Central Park, I realized that I no longer enjoyed wearing them. No, now I prefer not to discern the sharp edges of our moribund world, but rather to see an indistinct and amaranthine version of reality, the very one portrayed by Renoir and Monet. For I no longer wish to observe the actuality of the world in which we live. I do not wish to look upon a world in which the U.S. has not signed the Kyoto Treaty on a selfish economic basis and thus making our country almost wholly responsible for the perpetuation of Global Climate Change; a world in which politicians are too concerned with their own careers to take a strong stance in any significant environmental debates. I don’t want to see a world in which chickens are stuffed into cages to lay eggs and wild horses are shipped off to slaughterhouses for dog food; a world in which people celebrate a mild winter without recognizing – or, worse, disregarding – its implications. Although I only grasped the full gravity of these issues this fall when I began my studies in Environmental Science, I immediately realized that I was one of these apathetic people myself. And at that moment I knew that I could only retain hope by acting myself. And I realized that I could not bear to live in a world, which I wanted to see without my glasses.