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Why Saving the Environment is a Lot Like Working on a Group Project

Group assignments, we have all been there, we have all done that. Often times, there is a repetitive pattern of key players we observe from group to group. Now, this is not as radical as it seems but I have broken it down.

1. The task is assigned.

In the case of my example, we are made aware of climate change and all we need to do is save the environment!! Now obviously that is way easier said than done. Though on a serious note, we are encouraged to adapt sustainable lifestyle changes which contributes towards a cleaner, greener future for all. Our instructions tell us we can have a better planet if we are willing to put in the work. These include being more mindful of our waste, can we recycle it? Compost it? Donate it? Reducing our waste can significantly decrease the growth of landfills. How about alternate modes of transportation and choosing public transit, biking or walking to our destination whenever and wherever it is possible. Basically, we have our work cut out for us and it comes down to whether we are willing to do what it takes to complete our task.

2. We meet our group members.

For the purpose of my example, we are going to pretend we are assigned our group members and we did not have a say in who we wanted to work with, because that is the reality of it; We share this planet with billions of other humans, or in this case, our “group members”. With such a large group, it brings immense diversity and conversation. So here is where it might get a little complicated. Bear with me as I dwell into the similarities.

Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth
“What we take for granted might not be here for our children.” – Al Gore
  • The Group Leader: As with almost every group project there is always that one person who pulls the group together and reminds them of what needs to be done. A project manager, if you will. In relation to climate change and the environment, these individuals can be policy makers, environmental leaders, lobbyists and those who are militant in protecting our planet. For a young teenage Vennila, she found this person in Al Gore after being left speechless in discovering the state of our planet in his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. A little cliche, yes, but it spurred me to further pursue my interest about the planet’s state.
  • The Diligent Worker: Then we have those who care about meeting the end goal because the latter consequence does not seem very appealing. A failing grade or a failing planet, we want neither. For the most part, this demographic are those who are citizens doing their part by making eco-friendly decisions. It’s you, it’s me and it’s our network of individuals who have accepted the challenge posed to us by our planet and doing the needful to prevent global warming from worsening. This is the best time for us to take action because with every procrastinating moment, we are a little more defeated as the global temperatures continue to rise, rainforests being clearcut by the minute and polar ice caps melting at rapid speeds. There is no redeeming all-nighter for this project because the attention and priority it needs is by far one of the most important concerns humanity is fighting at this time.
  • The Slacker: Finally, our least favourite… those in the group who do not care much for the project and contribute next to none. In this particular case, this refers to the climate change deniers. As much as we are made aware of the situation we are in, climate change deniers refuse to accept the reality and turn a blind eye to the issue. However, climate change is a global concern and affects everybody as it knows no boundaries or exceptions. As victims of our own precedents, it is ultimately on us on how we choose to approach this ever growing concern. It starts with raising awareness and educating the public that we should do our due diligence to slowing global warming as inevitable as it may be.

How extremely saddening to see one of the world’s most powerful leaders reveal himself as a climate change denier and actively rescinding environmental regulations. Just days ago, President Trump signed legislation to undo Obama’s Stream Protection Rule which prevented waterways from being exposed to coal waste. However unfortunate this news comes to us, we must remind ourselves that we have to remain persistent in our fight to protecting our planet. Consider this assignment to be one that is ongoing and there is no due date or deadline besides fighting to leave a better planet for generations to follow for as long as we walk this Earth. Our daily actions and decisions mandate the kind of future we want to live in. I hope you are the kind of individual who wishes to see Earth’s prosperity for countless years to follow, with bountiful resources, clean air and water and happy, undisturbed animals. With the technology we are introduced to, we have the potential to live in an A+ planet but it is up to us that we get there. Let’s go, team Earth!

Published in Blog

4 Comments

  1. Ya Homie

    Ya Homie

    Wow! I really enjoyed this post and found the analogy of the group project to be an apt and accurate one.

    Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time and we all need to show up to these group meetings and get work done. If only there was a way to kick people off your group when they’re not contributing enough work 😉

    Thank you for continuing to work towards improving our understanding of environmental problems and doing your part in bettering our world. I’ll definitely be watching An Inconvenient Truth as well!

  2. Filip, Vennila's Best Friend

    Filip, Vennila's Best Friend

    Good read. I was the diligent worker in our group. Social programming was a really tough subject to do. Schools are interesting. I think all sustainable cities should have them. Cash you outside, Vanilla.

  3. Wow, this is such a fitting metaphor! It’s so true, unfortunately. Hopefully, at some point we will be able to get into a proper “group assignment” (like with the scientists grouping up for research) and actually get things done.

    It may not be radical as you said, but it is eye opening all the same.

    • VENNILA

      VENNILA

      You’re right! Hopefully the political agenda can also agree to this so we can establish a long term plan for a sustainable future.

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