At one time, I think a lot of us would have met this question with rosy optimism. Flying skateboards, instant transportation, and robots that talk to us, all right!
But now, in 2013, I feel like maybe our outlook for our future isn’t quite so positive. With a burgeoning human population, limited resources, and a rapidly deteriorating environment, many of us are left wondering- will the future really be as bright as we once though it would be?
As a society, I’ve notice lately that we seem to now expect disaster in our future. Whether it be a meteor shooting through space to take out the planet, a zombie plague roaming the Earth, or the “2012” Mayan Apocalypse, it seems to me like we are starting to consider our own fate on this planet. And yet, when the most serious threat to our current existence-the disappearance of a healthy environment- shows itself, we ignore it and try and go on like nothing is happening.
Our environment is suffering, and it’s a real downer. It’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom, especially if you work in the field of science. All day long, I am bombarded with information about how unhealthy this planet is. It’s shocking to see how degraded the marine and freshwater environments have become, and many of us in the field of marine science have become to consider declining ecosystem health to be the norm.
What is worse, I feel an overwhelming sense of apathy from most people about environmental issues. We don’t often see the direct result of our unsustainable actions in our day to day lives until it’s too late. The problems we face, like plastic pollution, acidification of our oceans, or climate change, seem too big, too overwhelming to tackle. Most people have enough things to worry about already, and so they ignore these issues and continue on with their lives.
However, some of us have a whole lot of hope for the future. We have made fixing these environmental problems our personal challenge. We want to tackle these problems head on. We know the situation is bad, but we also know that even in the worst of situations, there is always the hope that things can get better. As the saying goes, hope floats, and in the Great Lakes, I believe that this saying applies perfectly.
Can we prevent environmental disaster in the future? I honestly believe that we can.
Recently, I came across a “meme” on Facebook that perfectly describes what I feel about things, and maybe you can relate to it as well.