From: Lauren Jeschke ’14
Published: December 4, 2011

I’m just going to say it: planet earth has a lot of problems. Ironically, the biggest problem each and every one of us faces is how to deal with the problems that are presented to us. I’m sure a good percentage of Dickinson Students had the phrase “change the world” written, if not embedded somewhere in their applications. How did we get so optimistic? How exactly can anyone go about this? Where do we start?

I myself have spent days reading articles, hearing speeches, researching stories and facts on social, environmental, and political injustices just to feel so defeated that all I want to do is sit on my bed and cry. Why is this so hard? What can I do? What can anyone do?

The way I see it, people can be divided into two categories: those that actively wish to change the world for the better, and those that do not, perhaps because they would rather focus on their own lives (or not focus on anything at all). No judgment here, though.

I think the biggest problem, for both the apathetic and empathetic-minded people alike is essentially the same: detachment. But it is how we choose to deal with this detachment that sets these two groups apart. We feel overwhelmed with all the change that needs to be done…how can one save the polar bears and the pandas while helping to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan, hunger in India, small farmers in Peru, while also slowing global warming, and fighting harmful corporations like Monsanto at the same time? All in a lifetime?

We can’t.

So some stop right there…at the feeling that just one person in a world of almost seven freaking billion can’t possibly change anything.

But some move past that. Some take it upon themselves, through so many different forms of action, to try.

We may not be able to solve every problem, but what we can do is focus and act on what really fires us up inside. If there is an issue that keeps you from sleeping at night, one that penetrates your thoughts on a daily basis, one that you research even though it has nothing to do with your classes…you need to GO FOR IT. That feeling is what you need to follow.

And it’s okay if you don’t know what that is yet. Keep your head up and your eyes open to what is around you. I myself, in my lifetime, wish to end our dependence fossil fuel, replace industrial agriculture with local and organic food, stop animal cruelty worldwide, stop destruction of the South American rainforests, and stop the reckless pollution of the world’s air and water.

Obviously any rational person can see that isn’t going to happen…but you can’t stop me from dreaming.

I will keep fighting: and I encourage you to do the same.

 

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