Is “bad” awareness, better than no awareness at all?
With almost 40 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in the United States enrolled in college, school enrollment is at an all-time high. The Master’s degree has become the new Bachelor’s degree, and a high school education is so essential it’s almost insignificant. But with all this education, was Smashmouth right when they said “Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb”? In the words of countless celebrities dealing with “leaked” sex tape scandals and bad breakups – “Bad publicity is better than no publicity”. Is the same true for environmental awareness?
We are being bombarded by both sides of the spectrum: the good and the bad. The same magazine that features breathtaking landscapes of the Amazon rainforest in one issue is publishing devastating pictures of Borneo’s rainforest stripped for oil palm plantations in the next. The same newspaper that highlights innovative energy-saving water distribution systems, and buildings that use chilled beans for cooling (see: 30 The Bond, Sydney Australia) are the very next day showcasing how “costly” preventing global warming is in comparison to simply dealing with the consequences (an estimated 3 trillion dollar difference). With the United States drowning in 14 trillion dollars of debt, who can blame people for worrying about family finances over rising sea levels (especially if they don’t live on the California coast).
So all this raises the question of which is better: to raise environmental awareness in a negative light or not raise awareness at all? Although it may not be ideal, I’m going with the former as the lesser of two evils. Fair is fair and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Some people may believe global warming is a hoax, just like some people may believe that unicorns being mystical creatures is a hoax, that they are so elusive we simply haven’t seen one yet (sorry, I had to – I am still an environmentalist after all!). The fact is: differences of opinions raise debates, debates promote awareness, awareness increases knowledge, and knowledge is power – the power to find solutions. And isn’t that what we’re all after anyway?