Discussion

 

Instructions

Respond to each of the following questions. You will need to write at  least 2 paragraphs, one for each question. When you are done posting  your response, reply to at least one classmate in no fewer than 75  words.

1. Some students interpret Heglar’s essay, “I Work in the  Environmental Movement: I Don’t Care If You Recycle” as, “There’s no use  in recycling (or changing light bulbs, or installing solar panels, or  adopting a vegan diet). There’s not much the individual can do.” But is  that Heglar’s point? What is the basic argument that Heglar makes in her  article? Write a one-paragraph summary of at least 100 words that  explains her argument. You need to read to the end of the article to  really understand her main idea. It is not what the title implies.

2. Do you agree, disagree, or both agree and disagree  with Heglar’s point? Write a one-paragraph argument of at least 100  words that explains your answer to this question.

I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.

Stop obsessing over your environmental “sins.” Fight the oil and gas industry instead.

By Mary Annaise Heglar Updated Jun 4, 2019, 9:33am EDT

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I’m at my friend’s birthday dinner when an all-too-familiar conversation unfolds. I introduce myself to the man to my left, tell him that I work in the environmental field, and his face freezes in terror. Our handshake goes limp.

“You’re gonna hate me …” he mutters sheepishly, his voice barely audible over the clanging silverware.

I knew what was coming. He regaled me with a laundry list of environmental mistakes from just that day: He’d ordered lunch and it came in plastic containers; he’d eaten meat and he was about to order it again; he’d even taken a cab to this very party.

I could hear the shame in his voice. I assured him that I didn’t hate him, but that I hated the industries that placed him — and all of us — in the same trick bag. Then his shoulders lifted from their slump and his eyes met mine. “Yeah, ’cause there’s really no point trying to save the planet anymore, right?”

My stomach sank.

Sadly, I get this reaction a lot. One word about my five years at the Natural Resources Defense Council, or my work in the climate justice movement broadly, and I’m bombarded with pious admissions of environmental transgressions or nihilistic throwing up of hands. One extreme or the other.

And I understand why. Scientists have been warning us for decades that humans are causing severe and potentially irreversible changes to the climate, essentially baking our planet and ourselves with carbon dioxide. A 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we had roughly 12 (now 11) years to make massive changes that could stop the worst impacts of climate change.

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