Commentary

Time for Change

As a member of the Andover community, I am fully aware that global climate change is a major issue that must be addressed. Andover provides many resources that promote awareness among its students. I was privileged to hear the views of Annie Leonard, Congresswoman Tsongas, and participants on a panel discussion on “Making Climate Policy Work in Transportation.” Following these talks, I have come to the understanding that global climate change is not only a major issue, but also a complex one. Reforming energy usage affects the economy, employment and world citizens. Some Americans fear that clean energy initiatives will cause workers in fields such as coal mining to lose their jobs. The recent recession has driven many to resist change and fear instability and uncertainty, especially with regard to the economy. Many Americans remain uninterested or are unconcerned with global warming. This is unacceptable. Clean energy initiatives test people to develop old products using new materials in order to appeal to an audience resistant to change. The products being created must prove equal to or better than their predecessors. This is a challenge. The car industry, for example, must develop new methods of creating electric batteries that cost the same as creating conventional car batteries. Currently, it is cheaper to build car batteries for conventional gas-burning cars than electric cars. With the recent economic crisis, American citizens are more inclined to purchase the cheaper and more familiar option. Another issue is habit. Many Americans are accustomed to and dependent on a system of constant consumption. As Annie Leonard discussed, we as Americans buy lots and lots of “stuff.” Working with less and being more conservative with energy usage is going to upset certain citizens who are uninterested in reconfiguring their lifestyle. Change is a difficult yet a necessary step to improving the health of the earth and the prosperity of the earth’s future. Change is also inevitable. Whether you like it or not global warming exists and will have a reverberating effect on climate and lifestyle. The natural gas and oil industries will not be able to support the needs of the global community if the demand continues to grow at its current rate. The magnitude of the issue is intimidating and scares many people away. Rather than fleeing from the situation, however, it is important to be aware, take action and most importantly stop being lazy. How hard is it to unplug your computer? It takes about three seconds. Little adjustments in our daily life style toward lowering energy consumption are crucial for fixing this problem. By lowering our usage of fossil fuels and electricity, we will not only improve the health of the earth and ourselves, but we will also strengthen our ability as a nation to be more self-sufficient. As the youth of America, it is our duty to promote clean energy technology and to stop the system of constant consumption that operates in American society. Caroline Gutierrez is a Junior from Alrington, MA.