This term I’ve been lucky enough to take a class titled International Environmental Politics from the amazing Ron Mitchell here at the UO. Yes, the class is a lot work (and involves a 20-page research paper), but it has proved invaluable to me. The supplemental articles were informative and the slides were concise, but what really made the class stand out is that it asked the tough questions.
Unlike some college courses, Ron’s class actually encouraged thinking. We struggled through topics and questions that don’t have a simple solution. Most recently we’ve been discussing the ever-present danger of climate change. More importantly, we’ve been discussing what the hell we’re supposed to do about it.
And it isn’t easy. There isn’t just some simple solution to climate change. We can’t throw money at the situation or invent some new technology. If we want to get anything done there has to be actual change…and that’s a scary thought!
But what’s scarier? If I stay in Oregon after graduation, settle down, have kids – those kids will never see snow in their backyard. If we keep at the rate we’re going, keep producing more than we consume and consuming more than we need, my kids would never get to experience snowfall. No snow angels, no sledding, no frost bitten noses. And unless they were looking at the tip of Mount Hood, they’d never get a white Christmas.
For me, snow in Oregon puts everything into perspective. Thinking about far off countries and how they are affected by climate change, thinking about remote islands disappearing and natural disasters – it’s almost too much to handle. It’s easier to just look away. But thinking about snow in Oregon? There’s something to change. I might not be able to save the whole planet, but I sure can dream of a white Christmas.