Downfall to Prosperity: How I Changed My Mindset on Humanity’s Fate

For years I believed Earth would be left in a state of irreversible damage by humans. Now my views are quite the contrary and I now know we will thrive. What changed?

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It was 2014 when I truly realized our expanse creation of waste. Irreversible damage. Like there was no tomorrow, we’ve piled up landfills without a second thought. The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped in our oceans every minute. Ever-growing ocean pollution suffocates sea life and coral reefs. About 36 football fields’ worth of trees are lost every minute due to deforestation.​ Rainforests disappear with their ecosystems. I began to detest our species. Really! We wouldn’t be able to keep it up, anyway.

But I also didn’t see any other options.

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Okay, I figured there were two options.

  1. I could join a self-sustaining community off-grid. Growing our own food and probably not using technology. I debated it. The Amish were onto something. I’d have to exile myself from society to make a major change in my lifestyle in order to make a respectable dent in my carbon-footprint.
  2. Stay in the linear economy and accept how things are.

Either I participate in the nation’s linear economy or I find a circular economy community.

Entrepreneurship Campus

“The world population is booming and at the same time it is draining out the Earth’s natural resources at an alarming rate. The growing human need for food, water, housing, clothing, and recreation take a heavy toll on the environment. These are the reasons why many countries have decided to switch from linear to a circular economy.”

– The Entrepreneurship Campus

I decided to stay in the linear economy.

I decided to stay in the linear system. I recall in my advanced humanities class at San Jose State, my professor named Mrs. Rostankowski had such an extreme positivity about humanity’s future. I couldn’t understand how she believed this. She was so intelligent. How could she think we were going to dig ourselves out of this massive environmental hole?

I never actually asked her that question. But I didn’t deny her compliments in class. “Im so glad our future is held in such bright minds like yourselves! The things you’ll accomplish.” All I managed was recycling. I figured I was doing more than some people, therefore, I was doing enough.

I’m going to repeat that because I didn’t quite realize those were my thoughts until now.

I figured I was doing more than some people, therefore, I was doing enough.

That’s a sure way to have low standards.

Finally, I realized I wasn’t living neutrally by participating in the system.

Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.

Ginetta Sagan

In my fear of change and challenges, my inaction had contributed to the pollution. It no longer seemed dramatic to attempt to change my lifestyle. It would make me go insane not to.

I accepted I would never be able to see a physical difference I’d made. No landfill would be measurably smaller. I couldn’t single-handedly pass laws to ban excessive use of natural resources, whichever they may be. (Too bad.) Only then did it really settle in: however hard it is to believe that one person can really make a dramatic difference, it’s important to remember that’s all we ever have control over. The only control I had was over myself, my habits, and my purchases.

Finally, I could put my efforts into going eco-friendly rather than being low-key depressed about it. I began reading up on alternative lifestyles. I was done feeling powerless.

I began to see people from every corner of the Earth working on solutions to different ecological issues.

There was so much to learn. Forget living on a farm with the Amish! I could be a fully acceptable eco-friend functioning in society.

I couldn’t believe some of the innovations fighting pollution. To-go utensils made of wheat. Simple! To-go containers made of husk? Compostable Phone cases. The Ocean Clean Up device for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Best of all, Japanese scientists discovered a bacterium that ingests plastics! There’s still a way to go, but people from every corner of the Earth working on solutions to different ecological issues.

My research had turned into a stage of enlightenment.

If we were innovative enough to get us into this environmental situation, we surely can get ourselves out of it.

If we were innovative enough to get us into this environmental situation, we surely can get ourselves out of it. We have access to more information than ever, we have better technology, and we can communicate faster than ever before. Shocking to me and everyone else, I morphed into a firm believer that humans will reverse the damage. Because we need to.

Ecosystems still have the potential to thrive. Scientists estimate we have about 10 years to prevent irreversible damage.

The catch is, we as a species must truly want it. Now. No one else will take care of this for us. The earth’s health doesn’t just concern ourselves, but the health of our kids, our grandchildren and hopefully beyond. This has been and always will be home. This is the same land, water and air that raised our grandparents and their grandparents. Many of us have lost our connection with the earth, it’s time we make haste and swap habits for a more sustainable future.

You have the power.

How wonderful is it that nobody need to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank 1992-1945

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