In “On Alcohol”, Brandon Levy tells a personal account of his relationship with alcohol and his beliefs about why teens drink illegally. After touching upon a few possible explanations of why teens may choose to drink, he makes the claim that the desire to drink is linked to the longing for teens to become mature as soon and as quickly as they can. Levy explains that he chooses not to engage in this nationwide phenomenon that underage drinking has become (especially on, but not limited to college campuses). This piece, unlike most academic writing, does not engage in the work of others. In fact, Levy explains that he was specifically instructed to develop and support a thesis without citing a single source. Instead, Levy reflects upon his own beliefs by observing and analyzing the behaviors and mentalities of his peers.
I believe Levy articulates his position clearly and thoroughly. He first brings the readers through his thought process, as mentioned before, when he gives possible reasoning for the common trend of underage drinking. However, he quickly delves into his claim; “The answer, I believe, lies in alcohol’s relation to maturity.” Levy goes on to support this claim with several examples of situations where milestones and privileges are associated with matureness. Nevertheless, he points out, events like a Bar Mitzvah, the right to vote, or the ability to participate in war don’t necessarily make someone reach maturity, because maturity does not have a finish line.
Levy successfully situates his writing both in the context of Deliberations and his Writing 20 class; “Writing the Self; The Art of Creative Nonfiction”. This piece offers a dynamic contrast to the rest of the works published in Deliberations. It is unique in its purpose and methods and shows a different perspective than do many other works of writing. I definitely feel that “On Alcohol” fits perfectly into the title of his course. He writes himself, and finds the point where his own self and beliefs fit into a national context, as he discusses a universal issue. I am particularly impressed with two aspects of Levy’s writing: his brutal honesty and his use of analogies to help the reader gain perspective. He does not hold back at any point and is certainly not ashamed to stand his ground, and follow his own instincts, both in his life and his writing. Additionally, Levy’s comparison between the race for maturity and the tortoise and the hare makes a puzzling concept quite understandable.
Levy’s purpose and practice of writing varies greatly from the writing done in our ocean acidification class. Our class depends far more heavily on the work of others and the continuation of previous research than does his. For instance, while Levy was instructed to not cite any sources, I could not have come to the conclusion of my MP1 and MP2 papers without researching and analyzing many scholarly sources. While all Writing 20 classes have the same principle goals, it is clear that the purpose of my MP1 and MP2 were far different than Levy’s “On Alcohol”.
For decades, the United States has taken a very reactive rather than proactive approach to solving major problems; instead of taking on issues head on, the U.S. generally waits until things get worse before acting. For example, the U.S. has accumulated a massive debt over the years, and only now, when the imminent consequences are becoming clear, is the government starting to make reducing the deficit a priority. When analyzing such issues, I ask myself how it is possible that our country lets itself fall into so many terrible situations.
For the most part, the U.S. population has had the same sort of attitude towards ocean acidification (and climate change in general); rather than making it a priority to spread awareness and pressure the government to take action, most people either do not view ocean acidification as a threat to sustainability or simply are not motivated enough to make a difference. Carbon dioxide emissions are still high and do not appear to be diminishing anytime soon. The first part of the problem is that there is still a significant number of people from many different audiences (policymakers, the public, scientists, etc.) who have never heard of ocean acidification. The second part of the problem is that there is not enough detailed information about the potential consequences of ocean acidification, so even if people have heard of ocean acidification, they might not view it as a legitimate risk to sustainability.
Gathering and distributing more information is an important goal; a collective effort is needed to swiftly address ocean acidification. Scientists and engineers should be informed about ocean acidification and be encouraged to pursue research on it; they need to not only gather more information about ocean acidification, but also need to develop techniques to limit the possible damage to sustainability. The public as well as the government need to be informed of the dangers of ocean acidification in order to start a general shift in attitude towards the issue. Stakeholders such as fisheries professionals need to make it clear to the government as well as the general population that ocean acidification is a threat to their businesses.
Also, it needs to be established and clarified that ocean acidification is, in fact, a sustainability issue. Ocean acidification is damaging to resources that humans rely on. We need to protect marine ecosystems so that future generations can take advantage of everything that the oceans have to offer. Ocean acidification also has potential economic impacts; fisheries and other ocean-based businesses rely on healthy oceans. These potential consequences need to be conveyed to the general population; people are more likely to take an interest in ocean acidification if they recognize that it could impact future generations.
In short, the U.S. needs somewhat of an attitude adjustment when it comes to ocean acidification; we need to be more proactive in addressing ocean acidification rather than continuing to let it fester. The government should communicate to the public the fact that ocean acidification is a threat to sustainability and should create appropriate policy to address that threat. We must be more mindful of future consequences of present decisions so that we can avoid situations like the current debt crisis.
Although awareness has increased significantly, many people are still uninformed about the problem of ocean acidification. The problems of global warming and ocean acidification both stem from the same route issue, but it is clear that the public, scientists, and policymakers are for more aware of global warming, even if they do not fully understand what it entails. I do not think these audiences understand that ocean acidification compromises the sustainability of ocean ecosystem services, because many do not even know the problem exists at all.
I believe all different audiences would be far less reluctant to jump on board if they truly recognized the degree to which ocean acidification affects the ecosystem. It is difficult to get much of anything accomplished without a large amount of people, (preferably professionals of varied disciplines), devoted to a cause, especially one as unpublicized as ocean acidification. The minority of people who understand even the fundamentals of ocean acidification are most likely mindful that ocean ecosystems are less sustainable than they could be due to ocean acidification.
Before any significant progress can be, the first step that needs to be taken is to increase awareness of the other carbon dioxide, ocean acidification. This could be done by increasing research and news publications about the topic. It is important that the issue be framed in the simplest way possible to ensure that all audiences, whether or not they are science professionals, can understand what is going on to some degree. Mainstream news reports should delve into the problem of ocean acidification, as to create a chance for a broad audience to become aware and hopefully passionate about the problem.
Scientists who specialize in ocean acidification, and perhaps even those who do not, must make sure that other audiences become aware. It is the responsibility of those who are proficient with the issue to spread the word and teach people about the changes that are happening to our oceans. Scientists who can comprehend the specifics of ocean acidification certainly know what affects it has on the sustainability of our oceans. However, our world cannot make significant changes and increase its sustainability if only scientists are making strides to do so.
Additionally, it is crucial that different audiences are knowledgeable about which specific aspects of ocean acidification and its consequences will affect them. Sadly enough, many people are not concerned with issues that do not seem to have a direct influence on their own lives. For instance, if fishery professionals, who make their living by catching and selling fish, were aware of the steps they could take to try to relieve the effects of ocean acidification, they would almost certainly do whatever they could. Fishery professionals are one of many groups of people whose livelihood depends on the oceans, and who want to see it be as sustainable as possible.