This post will probably be a mess of things. The past few months have been insane. I tried to sort out my thoughts in an earlier blog post, right after the election. I've tried endlessly to make sense of the results, the implications, and to determine a reasonable personal course of action. I've read a lot more, in an attempt to understand even a small percentage of this incredibly complex world. Most recently, I read Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. This book describes cases of science denial and how keeping controversy alive is a method used by contrarian scientists, private corporations, and conservative think thanks to achieve their economic and political goals. Essentially, it outlines people that actively and willingly harm other humans for economic gain. And it terrified me, not because I didn't know that this was occurring, but because this book was written in 2010, and now seven years later, it is more relevant than ever. It baffles me that science has become something you can just "not believe" in, as if that means it doesn't exist. Science is not religion. Whether you pray to God or follow the teachings of Buddha, and if you're not part of an extremist religion, the impact of those actions is mostly confined to yourself (and those of your religious community). I am not diminishing the worth of religion, but believing or not believing in a certain religion will not actively harm anyone. Science is not something you can choose not to believe in. If you jump out of a plane because you don't believe in gravity, it doesn't mean your body will not smash into the concrete. And just because it takes you a few minutes to hit the ground and feel the consequence, doesn't mean that gravity isn't acting during that time. Right now, the world is in free fall from the choices we've made in the name of advancement, and certain people believe that gravity doesn't exist because we haven't splattered on the concrete yet. But we will, and by the time that happens, it'll be too late to eject a parachute.
The future of the environment terrifies me, as does the future of healthcare, education, and all types of human rights. And now, in my fourth year of college and the brink of determining how my future will intersect with this country's, I'm quite confused. It's always bothered me how my personal interests and hobbies never quite aligned with my larger goals as well as I would've liked. I'm passionate about the environment, but my personal interests and skills didn't align well with environmental engineering. I am deeply interested in personal and global health, but biology and chemistry constantly went over my head. The things that I have been moderately successful in - product design, UX, photography - are infrequently connected to the issues I'm truly passionate about. They exist, certainly, but are pretty niche. Instead, I find myself skimming through the jobs for which I have relevant skills, which include designing new consumer products that require more of earth's resources to manufacture for those with dispensable income, testing random fun mobile applications, improving business strategy for companies to make even more exuberant amounts of money, etc. The intersection of design with healthcare or the environment is quite small, and I'm trying my best to find it. The desire to contribute to something that will genuinely improve the lives of people, when combined with the functional need of having a job, makes this process pretty stressful.
For now, I will continue reading to educate myself on the issues I hope one day to be able to address. I will continue modifying my personal habits and choices to reduce my negative impact, and I will continue documenting this beautiful world that is a privilege to see every single day.