Environmental apathy carries consequences

Aria Soeprono, Opinion Editor

With rising media influence and decreasing time spent outdoors, students are losing contact with the beautiful planet we are lucky enough to inhabit. If this pattern persists, we risk compromising the intricacies of the world for a shallow mentality that isolates individuals in a bubble of self-indulgence.
Ignoring environmental problems entirely or placing them on someone else seem acceptable, because we are privileged enough to live in an area with plenty of greenways and fresh water. But this ignorant viewpoint can be dangerous because problems that are currently taking place in remote areas may become global issues in the near future.
For example, the issue of ocean acidification most likely elicits thoughts about the endangered coral reefs, which may seem unrelated to anything we experience here in the Pacific Northwest. However, acidic water in the Puget Sound disturbs local industries, shellfishes’ inability to create the carbonate shells hindering their ability to survive.
Even worse than this, is the idea that students simply do not care, occupied by the increasing importance of technology and the distractions it provides, from not only enjoying nature but also living a quality life.
This mindset I have observed from my peers, in combination with consumerist ideals promoted by media, scares me for the future. Students take for granted many essential aspects of life, such as fresh air and clean water.
Perhaps environmental apathy comes from students’ stressful schedules; many overwhelmed students simply do not have enough time or energy to enjoy nature. Even more likely, it is not one of their top priorities.
Among all the other immediate stressors in an average high school student faces, climate change, mass extinction, and deforestation seem unimportant, associated with long term consequences rather than critical concerns.
This sense of apathy is promoted because it is easy to put off our problems as one for the next generation to solve. We have not run out of nonrenewable resources yet, so we might as well exploit the limited resources while we still can, right?
Every choice you make is reflected on the outcome of our planet, so let’s make our influence a positive one.