Feeling Helpless at NYU and in NYC

March 8, 2024 by Joshua
in Blog

It hit me the other day while working in an NYU library.

About 80 to 90 percent of students bring disposable food, doof, and beverage containers. I’d guess more than half the students are not American, meaning many of them fly home a couple times a year.

In other words, they pollute more than nearly anyone who has ever lived. They act as if they don’t notice it or aren’t doing it. The university supports this insouciance. I’d say it even cultivates it since the people with authority say the university ranks among the leaders of colleges while they pollute and support polluting activities for themselves and the university.

So I see all these people who probably know the consequences of their actions reinforcing behavior and a culture of polluting and depleting, feigning innocence and I try to imagine talking to them, helping them to want to switch to alleviating suffering. I can’t think of what I could say or do that would work, though. I can only think of ways they would become defensive, act as if I were trying to judge or shame them, and reinforce feeling they’re one of the good guys and not changing.

I feel helpless to stop or even decelerate the danger to health, security, and domains we value. I’m working on starting a movement, but that’s general. In the specific moment of them seeing this polluting culture feigning innocence, I feel helpless to do anything, to help them see the consequences of their actions. I see the consequences, that the plastic will not break down but will kill wildlife and suffocate systems and so on.

That’s NYU. As for NYC, here are a couple infuriating pictures. The camera seems to have decreased the amount of red in it. It looked more red in person. What’s the significance of red? Red comes from the heat lamps. It’s early March, the pandemic isn’t on, and people are eating outdoors. The restaurant is paying to burn fossil fuels to heat the outdoors. Nobody seems to notice or care. They’re just enjoying the sensory pleasure of the heat lamps. They are driving imperialism and displacing people from their homes to take the fuel and minerals underneath and act as innocent babes.

Wildfires are raging across the nation and around the world, everyone knows the cause, and these restaurants are paying to burn fossil fuels so they can heat the outdoors. People eating look as if what they did affected nobody.

I wish I could figure out how to make people see.

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

2 responses on “Feeling Helpless at NYU and in NYC

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter