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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 16, 1998)
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We are the world
Humans need to place environmental issues first
GRAHAM EVAN JOHN
SON is a graduate student
in German and European
Studies and a Daily
The United States is die most fatal
istically thinking country in die world.
Thatfc a good and bad thing
Itfc good because we have a sense
of catastrophic events and periiaps a
better opportunity to understand how
to avoid them. It^ bad because we may
not dunk as far into the future as we
Since die United States has taken
over the role of the global military
force, we have a lot of nuclear weapon
ry, space jets, artillery, strategic loca
tions and reason to fear terrorist
We also are still reeling from the
. Cold War, the memories of fallout
shelters and duck-and-cover promo
tions. Many people still think further
nuclear deployment will occur, and
they might be right
However, there are many people, ,
most of them scientists, who see a dif
ferent form of catastrophic humanity
in the form of our effect on die earth’s
These individuals mostly are
Nobel Prize winners, professors and
researchers from all over the world.
And with more than 300 members,
these people call themselves the Union
of Concerned Scientists. You may have
heard of them.
These individuals have more or
less proven global warming and
stratospheric ozone depletion are real
and will severely affect human soci
eties during die next 50 years.
See, we’ve already messed up the
next 20 years, and we did that dining
the last 20 years. Therefore, if we keep
ruining the earth, we will continue to
ruin the only thing that gives us life,
and there won’t be any more chances
to correct ourselves.
Do you know what ethics are?
Well, when everybody everywhere
understands the concept of an environ
mental ethic, the world will be a cooler
Some people do understand this
concept Many people in the United
States don’t even though opportunities
are in front of their face.
Many people in other countries
who don’t have the opportunities so
readily available can’t be subjected to
this particular type of scrutiny, but
other countries have internalized this
concept and act on it daily.
The environmental ethic is univer
sal, but if everybody does not under
stand and act accordingly, the results
are global and indiscriminate.
Although the earth is made up of
many different countries, wildlife, gov
ernments, lifestyles, landscapes, lan
guages, religions and cultures, it is still
only one earth. The effects of irrespon
sibility affect everyone in different
forms and with different intensities.
The stratospheric ozone hole over
the South Pole is stretching to the
southernmost tip of South America
this year. This is die biggest the ozone
hole has ever been, and results of this
will be felt around the world now and
in the years to come.
This also means more of the sun’s
radiation is able to reach the earth and
dissipate, making the earth warmer in
the day, cooler at night and ultimately
more deadly as more cancerous radia
tion reaches the surface. We’ve already
put enough CFCs, from Styrofoam and
air conditioners, into the ozone to
worsen the condition over the next 20
July 1998 was the warmest average
month ever in recorded climatic histo
ry. That’s not good news, either. Our
future will be met with severe climatic
disturbances if changes ate not made
soon and voluntarily.
We are running out of our benefi
cial time, but there are many simple
things that can be done by everyone.
The most important is the understand
ing and internalizing of the environ
mental ethic by everyone.
The daily changes that result from
an internalized environmental ethic
include recycling, when it is available;
not consuming as much or consuming
differently than one currently does;
double siding copies, papers and notes;
turning water and electricity off when
not in use; using public transportation,
car-pooling, bicycling and walking
when possible; and using one’s own
bag at die store.
But the most important result of an
environmental ethic is simply thinking
more about daily activities and their
effects on the earth and the future.
I criticize die United States,
because it is obviously the most ready
for positive change, but ]
Americans don’t do it on die \ '
scale that is necessary, when at all.
This reality isn’t that disruptive to
the current good times, but the
earth is hearing up, and the
United States is largely responsi
The United States holds
only 5 percent of the earth's
population, yet we use 25 per- y*
cent of the earth’s resources. And v%
of this amount, we waste 33 per
cent of that energy, which is
equivalent to the energy
resources used by one-third
of the world.
We do this by not turn
ing our lights off, letting our
water run, keeping things
‘on” in general and just being
relatively wasteful in the way .
our society functions. • -7
Well, the wasted 33 per
cent of one-fourth of all
earth’s resources, that we,
only 5 percent of the global
population, use, is a very 4 3?.. .
We as a people have an obliga- -j
don to help ourselves learn, jfl
understand and act according
to this environmental ethic / ’Cal
is the only concept that will pro
mote beneficial change in tech
nological advances, productive
economies and a viable living
environment for the future.
If you haven’t yet,
change your daily habits to
reflect this ethic. It is every
body’s responsibility, and everybody is
Use the recycling services on cam
pus and everywhere else in Lincoln.
Don’t eat a lot of fast food or foods
in excessive packaging. It’s bad for
Bring your own bag to grocery and
all other stores.
Double-side copies, notes and
Turn things off!
Buy draft beer in glasses.
We are all responsible for our
selves, each other and the future, so we
must act responsibly.
It’s not getting any cooler unless
we make it Letls not make it hotter
than we already have.
For more information, go to the
Environmental Resource Cento:, 236
Take time to tell inspirational people their worth
ERIN REITZ is a senior
major and a Daily
There will be people in this world
who will come into your life and
change it forever. You may not know
it when the change is happening, but
you will feel it when they are gone.
When you say this, it sounds
pretty cheesy. When you think about
it, it rings very true.
These are about 25,000 people on
this campus. How many new faces
do you see every day? How many
new people are you introduced to in
one week? How many chances do
you get to be influenced in one
month? There is no doubt it’s more
than we realize.
I have been fortunate enough to .
learn how to open my eyes lately.
Maybe this came from being in col
lege for a while and really learning
how to absorb everything around me.
Maybe it came from getting older.
I’m not really sure.
I don’t think I can name all the
extraordinary souls I’ve come across
who have had some sort of impact on
my life here, but I am beginning to
realize how damn lucky I am to have
One of these people is a woman
named Dr. Lyn Jakobsen. There’s a
good chance you don’t know her and
an even better one you never will.
She is the assistant director of resi
dential education for UNL Housing.
At the end of the month she’s
retiring and leaving Nebraska.
I had the pleasure of meeting _
“Dr. Lyn” at a Cather-Pound
Neihardt residence halls staff train
ing session last year. She was going
to do a presentation on different per
sonality types and learning styles,
but that’s not where my mind was
In the beginning of the session,
this woman did pretty much the most
amazing thing I’ve ever seen. She
was determined to learn the name of
everyone in the room. And she did it.
She did it in about 10 minutes.
Needless to say, I was absolutely
blown away by her. Knowing how
horrible I (and most people) are with
names, I was marveling at how she
could do this.
I thought about it for a long time,
wondering what kind of 'pneumonic
devices she had come up with to put
faces with names, or if she just had
an amazing short-term memory. I
couldn’t figure it out for the longest
time. One day, I saw her again and
she knew my name.
It was then I understood.
She wasn’t just memorizing
names, she was taking an interest in
us. She wanted to know about our
floors, our programs, our majors, our
futures. Dr. Lyn was getting rid of
the average shallowness in everyday
conversation and replacing it with
genuine interest The reason it was so
hard for me to see it was that it had
been such a long time since I had
seen (or taken) that kind of interest.
I had been living in Cather for a
few months and didn’t really know
anybody there. I didn’t feel at home
for a long time and was depressed
about it Because of Dr. Lyn, I now
realize I had shownmyseijf to other
people, but I wasn’t giving them a
chance to show themselves to me. I
had become good at being superficial.
Thank God I met this lady. She
helped to restore my faith in other
people and become more self-aware.
She also is a constant reminder of
why I work for this university.
lam kicking myself today for not
stopping by her office more often or
calling her when I could have used
some down-to-earth advice. At the
aid of September, she’ll be leaving
us. And I won’t have any more
chances to stop by her office.
Life is funny that way, I think.
Just when we realize how much we
appreciate something, we must let it
go. It happens every day. Parents
help their children move into college,
people are diagnosed with terminal
diseases, a friend goes overseas, a
flood washes your house and your
physical memories away.
We do not appreciate what we
have until it is gone.
Have you ever stopped to think
about that? Probably. Have you ever
done anything about it? If you’re
anything like me, probably not
Why? What is stopping us from
going to someone and telling them
exactly how much they mean to us?
It doesn’t have to be corny, and it
doesn’t have to be over-dramatic. All
you need to say is “thank you.”
By saying “thank you” to the
people who’ve changed your life,
you just may change theirs. The first
time someone told me I had made a
positive difference in the way she
lived, I was absolutely blown away. I
couldn’t believe I could have a sig
nificant impact on anyone, much less
It happens, though. Each of us
affects someone else practically
every day. Kinda makes you think
about how you may be approaching
your fellow man.
You don’t have to live your life as
a role model; no one is asking you to.
But wouldn’t it be a great feeling to
find you’ve made a positive differ
ence in someone else’s life? I’m not
' just talking about helping someone
match the right shoes to his outfit,
I’m talking tangible differences.
How do you do it? Venture out of
what you’re comfortable with. Join a
community service organization. Sit
with a stranger at lunch. Help your
new neighbor move into the apart
ment It doesn’t take a whole lot to
be remembered, so don’t get discour
aged if you don’t think your life is up
to par with Mother Teresa. You’re
etching tiny notches of kindness into
the life of your fellow man.
Over time, they add up.
Dr. Lyn has etched a hill-scale
work of art into my life. I feel so
lucky to have known her, and I
believe others are telling themselves
that as well. She has put helping oth
ers at the top of her priority list in her
time here, and the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln has certainly been
blessed by her presence.
As she moves into her new life in
the seminary, I can guarantee she’ll
be doing the same and will continue
bettering the lives of others.
So, while I still have time, I’d just
like to say thank you, Dr. Lyn. You
have left your footprints on my heart,
and you will not be forgotten. - - -
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