No Time Like the Present - Zack Colleran

No Time Like the Present - Zack Colleran

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to learn the importance of living in the moment, enjoying every second I can get and pushing myself to not get bogged down on trivial stuff. Memories live on forever, and there’s no point dwelling on or reveling in the past when you’ve got so much else going on around you. This ideology of mine isn’t just an individual moral parameter; it goes beyond that. It extends to a global perspective, one that should be adopted by the masses in the near future or else 7+ billion people will be paying the price.

My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by a family that was fairly environmentally conscious (my parents recycled everything that we could, composted, preached water conservation, the whole nine). But, to be completely honest, at the time I was pretty ignorant as to why such lifestyle principles were so crucial. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t slacked at times, primarily because I had yet to really grasp the issue at hand; it wasn’t affecting me personally, so why did I have to change how I lived? Right? I’ve recently come to comprehend where my parents were drawing their motivation from all this time. We’re living on a planet whose natural resources are being ravaged, and because of our actions as a species we’re single-handedly wiping out the most incredible scientific anomaly in the history of the (known) universe; life. Putting it on the cosmic scale like that really puts into perspective how devastating the current state of our environment really is. There’s no better come to Jesus moment like looking at a hockey stick graph and immediately grasping that if we don’t act quick, we’re screwed. For context, a hockey stick diagram shows the global warming patterns via temperature anomalies over the course of the last thousand years or so. This is populated by the increase/decrease in temperature that the Earth has experienced on an annual basis. The alarming revelation in full view is that, while the diagram remains relatively stagnant over the majority of the timeline, there’s a very sharp and sudden incline in warming, starting only about 150 years ago (which is, relatively speaking, a scarily short amount of time). In another context it may just seem like an unexplained phenomenon that would inevitably resolve itself, but such unprecedented warming clearly requires a more logical explanation (hint: we did it). This was all thrust in front of me during the first class of a gen-ed, Climate Change course at the beginning of my sophomore year; and I never looked at climate change in the same way. Apologies for getting heavy here. But it echoes my immediate panicked reaction to seeing the hypothetical end of civilization if we don’t act, and quick. And to be honest, heavy is really the only thing that incites action these days, because, as I said earlier, if it’s not directly affecting you, why do anything about it? At least that’s been the popular mentality. It’s the same thing as any investment: sure, you may not see your return now, or even in five, ten years, but eventually it’ll come back, and you’re going to want to be there when it does. Same goes for the climate. People seem to only work in the present value of their actions, so they need to understand that for there to even be a future to think about, climate preservation needs to happen now.

I spent a long time during high school trying to figure out what I wanted my path to be (obviously it was still early, but an ongoing internal discussion). For a while, I thought I wanted to go somewhere with the finance route. But I don’t want to just be some cubicle monkey working with numbers and spreadsheets that really will have zero impact on anything substantial. I want to be out there, actually making a difference and impacting change, so that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I can say that I did everything I could to make something better of our situation. Ideally, even, that I took part in fixing this disaster that we’ve got laid out before us. I like to be able to see tangible change; that’s what really sends it home for me that whatever I might be doing is making a difference. And that’s why I’m here. Although it obviously isn’t all environmentally-oriented, Thropic has provided a vehicle to access organizations that can do good and set real change in motion. Far more than I can do on my own. That’s what’s so great here. Whether it’s me attempting to advocate for environmental welfare, or if it’s someone else fighting domestic violence or racial inequality, we are the conduit for change. More importantly, Thropic’s overarching mission of giving people the power to make a difference on their own is what brings it all together. Max wants to help younger generations, people like us, individually impact change towards causes that they’re passionate about; and that’s what makes this special.

A lot of people, myself included, have tendencies to constantly defer and put pressing things off. Waiting for a later, more “convenient” moment to address whatever issue it may be is just that much easier. But doing that never helped anybody. These global issues won’t wait around for you to be ready to contribute. Life goes on, and if you don’t stop and lend a hand now, when it becomes more suitable for you could be way too late. Would be pretty sucky to have that kind of regret lying around. So that’s my two cents. Of course there’s a transition between preaching and physically practicing, but places like Thropic are making it that much easier to follow through. So no more excuses; time to get fired up and give back.

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