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Reality check

Katie Palmitier | Wednesday, September 6, 2006

My new favorite techie accessory is the ear clip. The sleek, stylish earpiece popping up in middle aged men’s ears like there is no tomorrow. And who doesn’t love mobile Web casts? Information is literally at our fingertips. Yet, are we using these advancements in science and technology to improve and protect our world? Or are we conveniently ignoring the science presented to us like spoiled children solely concerned about our own selfish desires?

During the past few months, there have been several major movements in the combat against global warming. Al Gore made a movie and Tom Brokaw did a television special highlighting the dangers and realities of this ultimate disaster. Both media personalities involved scientists and experts to help in the production of the shows. Major time and money were also invested to make the American people aware of global warming and its dangers. Millions of Americans watched the film and/or television show and, unless completely cold-blooded, walked away with alarming knowledge and hopefully a little fear.

It seems like this is not the first time we have been warned about heated world issues. As I recall, experts, such as doctors of Middle Eastern studies, warned government officials that going to war in Iraq would be a horrible mistake. Intensely aware of Iraqi and Middle Eastern culture and society, these experts knew that if we declared war, the fighting would result in a quagmire- and most likely a civil war.

It seems for years scientists have been warning us of the dangers of global warming, but me, being young and naive, never really paid attention or felt fear because it was not going to happen to me during my lifetime, so I did not have to deal with it. We all had the Alfred E. Newman approach of “What, me worry?” However, I now realize that it is going to affect me and is affecting others in the world as we speak. Tragic, destructive hurricanes and tsunamis have devastated millions in the past year alone, and scientists predict the number of these natural disasters is only going to rise, along with their destructive power. Both of these disasters are just the beginning of the global warming cycle, which scientists promised would happen. Although we do not have to worry about hurricanes and enormous waves in Indiana we do need to look at these disasters as personal warning signs. While a Noah-like flood may not happen in my lifetime, it could very likely happen to my children or grandchildren. Little things can be done starting today to protect our posterity and ourselves.

Sadly, our generation has held onto this worry-free, selfish mind set for too long. Perhaps your parents or aunts and uncles took place in Vietnam War protests. Their generation stood up for themselves and fought to put an end to an unnecessary war. Yet our generation, as a whole, sits back quietly, listening to our iPods, saying and doing nothing about the current war that could have been prevented, and nothing about the possible life or world ending tragedies that can be prevented.

Our generation has the opportunity to make a difference when we vote who will represent us in making decisions that affect our society and society’s future. It seems now, as well as in years past, the government has blatantly lied to us, ignoring expert opinions and the well being of the country. Therefore, it is crucial that number one, we all vote, and number two, choose a representative that will truly look to our nation’s best interest when making some of these decisions.

We also have a choice when we choose how we get our information. Watching Fox News, reading only the sports section of the newspaper, and Googling celebrity gossip is NOT how we should obtain our knowledge about the world. Do we need to resort to having Bill Nye the Science Guy on MTV or dating Summer on The O.C. to spark the inner scientist in all of us? Read the front page of a newspaper and watch an entire news broadcast from an unbiased station. When we start getting real news and information, we can start making a real difference.

It is time to wake up to our cell phone alarms and smell the Starbucks. We are living in a world currently suffering from war and the early stages of global warming. It is time for our generation to do our part in providing a better place for us all to live. Besides, who wants to bring their little Domers to the ND vs. USC game in 120-degree heat?

Katie Palmitier is a sophomore Political Science major. She can be contacted at kpalmiti@nd.edu

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.