The Hassle of Global Responsibility

When I read the Blackboard post from Commons detailing the results from the latest “Trayless Tuesday,” I was surprised and impressed by the accomplishment. The success of the program is a result of its structure; it is incredibly effective because it is a mandatory sacrifice. The regrettable truth is that some of us would take the tray and the extra plates of food if given the option, despite being well-informed of the toll our excessive consumption takes on the environment. Before I continue, let me first acknowledge and applaud the conscious individuals who are incredibly happy to do their part. But unfortunately, on these infamous Tuesdays, the muttering of complaints is audible from some students in the Commons lines about the annoyance and hassle of having to carry their plates of food to the table. The attitude of such individuals at this point seems contradictory. We as a school more or less convey an outlook of willingness to help solve problems such as global warming, yet when given the chance to help, many of us grumble at the inconvenience. This conflicting attitude is not specific to Trayless Tuesdays. During Andover’s Green Cup Challenge, we were surrounded by facts and statistics that called for conservation measures. Some students embraced the effort and did their part to save energy, but many others contradicted their initial support of the program by making few, if any, changes to their routine. What makes one student less willing than another to do his or her part in the world? Considering the amount of information about world issues we receive at PA, nobody can blame his or her lack of involvement on a lack of understanding. Maybe students feel that they don’t have time to worry about issues that have no direct effect on their day-to-day lives. Perhaps some feel environmental wellness is someone else’s responsibility instead of their own. But regardless of the reason, there is no excuse for disregarding one’s duty. We are well educated about the problems that face our world, and we are given more and more possible solutions. Yet many of us are not yet willing to embrace the responsibility. I admit to throwing away extra food and occasionally leaving my computer on due to sheer laziness, even though I understand the consequences of my actions. Obviously, this is not the case for all students. I must give credit to the good percentage of the PA community that is incredibly conscious about reducing waste and improving the environment. Yet the fact that some of us still resist change and sacrifice seriously impairs the efforts of others. It is time for us to take the next step and embrace the spirit behind such efforts, regardless of the measures we have to take. We have been thoroughly educated on pressing issues such as global climate change, and our school is doing a very good job of presenting us with manageable solutions to address such issues. Some of us have taken the initiative, but others still lag behind. Our country is facing a similar problem. Continuing with the example of global warming, it is clear that the interest is out there. Just pick up this month’s Vanity Fair, which is filled with articles dedicated to the cause, for an example of the media attention the issue is receiving. There is no doubt that people are showing interest and doing commendable work, but society as a whole has yet to truly embrace the fight for a solution. The high demand for hybrid cars is a sign of the number of conscious people in our world, but the multitude of Hummers that still roam the streets is also a reminder that we have a long way to go. Hats off to the substantial number of people who have made sacrifices for such causes. Unfortunately, there are still masses of people unwilling to make change, even after knowing it is for the better. Like a team, we are only as strong as our weakest member. If some of us remain unwilling, we will have a hard time achieving much.