What Truly Matters In This World? – Jennifer Khattar [EN]

Submitted Friday, May 16, 2014

As a concerned human being, I find myself both worried and frustrated when I see the extent to which people are willing to devote themselves to the Internet and the way they waste their lives away doing god knows what. It’s safe to say that this isn’t how our grandparents or great grandparents envisioned our future generation; they weren’t hoping for this.

If one truly cares about this world—Earth, then every decision made should be based on what is better for this world, and not what is better for me.

Let’s talk in simple terms.

You wake up; it’s hot, you’re sweating and you want to take a shower, right? Right. Simple. Well, have you ever considered that while you sing happily in the shower, someone somewhere is dying of thirst? Forget Africa. This could even be somewhere not far from home.

What about breakfast? I am fully supportive of those who make their own breakfast, but where do the food products come from? Where is the canned tuna in the cabinet from? What kind of metal is it made from? What kind of toxins (if any) were used to make the can? Artificial toxins don’t disappear, they only become diluted. We need to consider all these things, because every want—every demand—brings an almost irreversible consequence in the form of supply that is fuelled by our desire for instant gratification, and not by our desire to sustain life for future generations.

For those who go out in the mornings for pancakes and the like, how do you get there? If the pancake store is right under you, then you’ve hit the jackpot! But if not, think twice about your choice of transportation. Laziness is our toughest internal conflict. All I’m saying is that as a consumer, we should think hard on our choices.

Now for something that’s closer to our hearts: our beloved phones.

Just the plastic alone that covers the little object consumes a lot of energy to make, and the product itself is only designed to live for a year, two at least, before we have to go out and buy another one. And heck, while discarding that constantly underperforming phone of ours that we regrettably bought in the first place, do we ever stop to consider where it gets recycled or where the waste is managed?

Exotic animals’ habitats are being destroyed in the Amazon just so McDonald’s can keep producing packaging for our meals, but have we ever made this connection? This example is an ant compared to the many more horrific cases of companies eluding their hidden skeletons from us. 

There exists a vicious circle of supply and demand in which one thing leads to the next, and our lust for something as simple as fast food can result in the severe, irreversible loss of greenery and wild habitat. All this is perhaps overly abstract; the gears in the globalization machine are too many for us to understand unless we willingly take the time to dig into it.

I’m not certain if any of you out there have thought about things like this, but it’s just that—a thought. It’s quickly forgotten and we’re soon distracted by the next best form of entertainment or return to our bubbles. 

People in this century have lost the will to fight for what’s right. Or they’ve simply strayed from what “right” truly means. They’re reckless and careless; they’re only looking out for themselves.

Looking out for one’s best interests isn’t wrong, but we cannot forget that our survival depends essentially on all biological systems that make this planet function. We must learn to appreciate the little things and the things invisible to the human eye.

I’m curious to know what you’re going to do after reading this. Move on, check Facebook and watch some more YouTube videos, perhaps? Maybe we can take some time out every day to recollect what it means to be living on this planet and the important things in our lives.

You know you’re on the right track once you start doing things not solely for yourself, but for the betterment of the common motherland we call “Earth. 

Jennifer Khattar was born in Mansourieh, Lebanon, and is current a Natural Resources and Environmental Studies student at National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan. She’s passionate about her major and the possibilities it presents, which are key to her goal in becoming an environmentalist, activist and conservation biologist.
I met Jennifer when I started studying Chinese at National Overseas Chinese Senior High School. Her passion and unrelenting drive for environmental conservation was obvious to me from the word go, and I’m glad we’ve had an opportunity to share her thoughts here at The Salad Bowl. Thanks, Jen! – John.

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