It will always astound and amaze me when someone, who is entering the field of environmental science or sustainability, tells me they have absolutely no interest in politics and would never get involved in it. It shocks me just how many people in my own field have told me this. I’ve heard that it’s useless and tedious and it won’t affect them anyway so why bother. Right? What these people fail to realize is that politics affects everyone and everything around them. What is currently happening within the political spectrum affects these people in the sustainability field more than ever. Now more than ever, it’s important to realize that sustainability and politics need to go hand in hand.
Grassroots movements across this planet are important in changing the perception that individuals have on our changing planet. Small scale efforts can sway an entire generation and really have an impact on a local environment. However, these local efforts can only do so much. It comes to a point where action needs to be taken on a larger scale; on the national and international level. Putting the right people in office can have a greater positive effect on this planet than any local or grassroots movement. When we pair sustainability and politics we start to see regulations put in place to limit the harmful effects of large corporations and their subsidiaries. We start to see a transition from importing fossil fuels to funding more renewable energy sources. We start to see pressure being places the governments of the world who have an astonishingly large carbon footprint.
If we simply turn a blind eye to politics we are allowing unsustainable practices to continue, and no amount of small scale changes are going to be able to correct it. We see it in recent environmental disasters such as the BP oil spill and the Fukushima meltdown. It is imperative that we not allow events like that to happen again. And the only way to ensure that is to implement sustainable practices on a larger scale. I strongly urge those who would like to see this planet thrive, to no longer see politics as a nuisance, but as a useful and necessary tool. Our generation yields one of the largest turnouts in newly registered voters. We need to make sure that we use the political system to our advantage and put the right people in the right places to enact change that will actually make a difference.