Posted: Saturday, December 8, 2012 4:05:30 AM
What drives me is an intense interest in conservation and how film and photography can reach a broad audience to affect positive change. In February 2011, I attended the "Ethical Solutions for Environmental Classism" conference at the United World College in Montezuma, NM. There I enjoyed meeting students from all over the world and learning about environmental crises that affect us. I was particularly struck by how a problem that seems a world away is really our problem too. A global economy demands a global approach to the stewardship of resources worldwide as well as a holistic approach to meeting human needs. I especially enjoyed the problem-solving sessions where students from across the globe could exchange ideas empower another student half a world away. I gained a new perspective and I want to expand on this perspective in my college studies and in my surrounding community.
In terms of understanding globalization, I have just scratched the surface. At first it seems that globalization is a positive way of interacting. Through technologies like Google Earth and Skype we can communicate instantly with people from all over the world. But, if we look at globalized economies the story becomes quite different. Economic globalization destroys local economies. For example, here in Grant County, New Mexico the second largest international mining company, Freeport-McMoran, seeks out local sources of copper and sells it on the open market to the highest bidder. Every day we see semi-trucks full of refined copper leaving our community. The only benefit to the community seems to be jobs. These jobs are high-paying, but inconsistent. Freeport-McMoran hires and fires employees according the fluctuations in the copper market, creating uncertainty for families and our community. The mine has also impacted the water quality in the county because the mine tailings are sprayed with acid to extract the copper. This acidic water leaks into our aquifers. Finally, the mine uses clean, pure water in the processing of copper. This water could be used for drinking and raising livestock and food.
Who benefits from all of this? Given that our state is ranked 49th out of 50 states in terms of overall wealth and our county has an 11% unemployment rate where 1 in 5 families depend on food stamps, I would say that Freeport-McMoran, the multi-billion dollar corporation, does.
What I plan to study in college is marine biology, film, and leadership. I want to learn about steps I can take to become a leader in conservation and building local economies to benefit our community and the community of the school in which I will enroll and better myself as an individual. Together we can be stronger. We can build a world with strengthened economic, social, and environmental integrity that will provide a solid foundation for my generation and generations to come.