This discussion panel was not calling for us to agree to R-E-C-Y-C-L-E and save the polar bears. It was a conversation that addressed the question of how environmental change can happen in a broken Washington, a question that conveniently was asked by an enormous social movement that started on Wall Street. The Occupy Movement is a movement to wake up American Politicians. It consists of the American citizen’s desire to make their nation and their earth a better place.
So how do we make this happen? The panel members along with other audience members voiced that if environmental progress is going to be made it must start with the individual just as the occupy movement did. Progress starts with us doing things like taking initiatives to carpool, teaching our children the importance of composting, and most importantly embracing globalization so that Americans finally understand the vastness of our carbon footprint. Other panel members believed that government in conjunction with personal change is a more viable solution. For example the government could provide incentives for businesses that “Go Green”. How, though, do we get the government to care when many of its members have their hands in the pockets of the very companies against the environmental push? The discussion panel answered this question by approaching it from an economic standard point saying that embracing the environmental movement is not only beneficial to the health of the world but also to the health of our economy. For example it can create jobs, eliminate unnecessary government spending, as well as encourage active citizenship. By highlighting the monetary benefits of environmental policy, we can draw Congress’ attention.
Still, in the current political sphere where corporations are people and the environment is not taken into consideration when making policy for the future it is easy to get discouraged. This panel, however, was inspiring and caused me to realize the power that I possess as an individual. The earth is a huge place and to have to take care of it on your own is daunting. It is not so scary, though, when you are surrounded in place like Zuccotti Park by people with the same objective.