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I want America to stay conscious and beautiful

Jee Seun Choi | Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday’s article, (“The environmentally unconscious one; or, Why I love America,” Jan. 26), has to be a joke. In case it wasn’t a satire, I just want to state that the deeds of the environmentally unconscious people also make the future generations and the environmentally conscious ones responsible for what they didn’t do.

It’s not a secret that Americans are not the most environmentally conscious people in the world. But it is not just those Europeans who care about the environment. I am from South Korea. I learned how to recycle from elementary school, while I saw some of my Americans friends at Notre Dame simply not knowing how to recycle. “I didn’t know you can recycle plastic wrappers!” a remark of surprise from my American friend surprised me back. “How can you not know that?” Probably because America has been the country of material abundance, people who want to conserve the environment don’t practice simple things they can do. For example, not buying unnecessary stuff that you’ll end up throwing away almost new, turning off your laptop and lights when not using and using water containers instead of buying bottled water.

America has been the leading soft power in the world. At the same time, however, it is the leading country in terms of destructing our environment. Americans produce the largest carbon dioxide emission per capita, trumping China and the rest of the world roughly by four times, according to the Guardian. Prof. Susan Rosato defined soft power as an attraction of the culture and politics that makes other countries want to emulate the country. But I do not want my country to emulate an America that is wealthy, but environmentally unconscious, sickening herself and others.

Despite that, “Picking Up America” reminds me why I still respect America: there are also a lot of people who are conscious about the extended implications of their actions. In Korean (and Chinese), the literal translation of the word “America” is the “beautiful country.” I want America to stay beautiful; although there have been some discussions to change the name to the more objective “rice country.”

Jee Seun Choi


Farley Hall

Jan. 26