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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Tomorrow’s World in Today’s Hands

    We learn how to be good citizens as young children. Grade school teachers always reprimand us for being disrespectful, being sloppy, forgetting to do our homework. We learn about the harmful effects of drugs, drinking, drinking and driving, bullying, the list goes on and on. The society tries to imbue in our minds a paradigm of good behavior, so that one day, as the upcoming generation, we become law abiding citizens.

    Somehow, as children grow, it is my impression that people lose memory of this early instruction. Maybe it results from a perceived disparity between the aforementioned idealism and actually living in this world. A common thread of thought, ‘It’s not always possible to always do the right thing.’ After viewing an ABC NEWS 20/20 Special: Last Days on Earth hosted by Elizabeth Vargas, I realize that being a good citizen does have some value in this world. And as I will explain from my viewing of the program, we will have to be good citizens if we are to save our world.

    The program, Last Days on Earth, first attracted my attention with a catchy tagline: ‘Experts explain the seven most probable ways life could end on earth.’

    Now, as a science major, I soon realized that the program would not actually go into some of the details associated with life ending events on earth. But as expected, the program was meant to cater to the general public. Top scientists from around the country described, very superficially, seven different scenarios that could each result in an end to life as we know it. The order the information was presented in, rather than the material itself, was of more significance.

    Vargas started out introducing catastrophic events unlikely to occur in our lifetime. Events such as the death of a star causing a gamma ray burst of the formation of a black hole or the evolution of a ‘smarter’ species through artificial intelligence shouldn’t be much of a worry. However, as the program went, events of increased likelihood were discussed.

    Subsequent catastrophic events discussed were the eruption of a Super Volcano, such as the one lying under Yellow Stone National Park and an Asteroid strike, which we will just avoid in the next 30 years. After the revealing of the last three catastrophic physics at the City University of New York, mentionedevents, nuclear war, bioterrorism, and global warming, the overall purpose of the 2020 broadcast became clear. The catastrophic events most likely to affect us in the near future are those that we create.

    As Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical’ on the program, ‘The generation now alive, the generation that you see, looking around you, for the first time in history, is the generation that controls the destiny of the planet itself.’

    Vargas successfully disguised the program to make it seem like a simple science show like Nova’reg; on PBS. The focus of the program: global warming. Citing the rapid increase in coal derived energy in the Far East, as well as alarming information about the melting of the polar ice caps on pace to raise sea levels by 20 feet within the next 50 years, we must understand that global warming is a true threat. ABC NEWS reports a ‘planetary climate shift.’

    Bill McGuire, director of the University College of London Hazard Research Center, goes as far as to say that the term ‘global warming’ is incorrect. McGuire reports, ‘Global warming is a misnomer. We are looking at a large climate shift.’

    Al Gore, the former Vice President who was interviewed for the broadcast, has continued to emphasize the disparity between the ‘interests of big business and widespread consensus in the scientific community [about the effects of global warming].’ Gore has just published An Inconvenient Truth, in which he affirms that global warming is not a myth. The program went on to describe the drastic changes we would see in the year 2100 if ‘global warming goes unchecked.’

    So what do we do? We have to become conscious of environmentally friendly measures of living. We cannot continue to fight each other in useless wars in the name of religion and politics. Whatever little we can do to make our planet a cleaner place, whether it is through recycling, driving fuel-efficient cars, using appliances efficiently, we can make a difference.

    According to Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s top theoretical physicists who was also interviewed for the broadcast, ‘The possibility of our extinction should be a wake-up call to us all.’

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