My past roommate of two years had always told me one thing that stood out in my head “Ignorance is bliss – try it!”. I would usually retort and tell him he’s crazy – and say that I’d rather be informed and attempt to try to fix a sad reality than be ignorant and think all is good. However, when I do take a step back, I do see merit in that statement. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to realize that there are so many things that are out of my control to such a degree, that it almost seems fruitless to even think of making an effort to change anything. One of the topics I tend to feel helpless in is foreign policy – I feel that no matter what I as a person feel, and no matter what I do, I feel that the American government will continue to fight wars that aren’t worth fighting , and innocent civilians will continue to die. I feel a similar sense of helplessness when I think about other big issues that affect the world, like climate change. As a nation, we have the single highest impact on climate change across the world – and many smaller nations with much smaller economies are being hurt because of our actions. My ancestral country of Bangladesh, has almost 25 million people at risk of losing their homes annually because of rising sea levels that get worse during the monsoon season in the summer. In front of my own eyes, I’ve observed the situation get more and more dire in Bangladesh over the last decade. I turn to countries like the United States to hope that there will be something done, but no matter how indisputable the scientific evidence that comes out (from universities in our own nation!), I can’t begin to fathom how our politicians turn a blind eye to this.
So when talking about the Paris Agreement, it simply served to reinforce this sense of helplessness that I get when I look at issues like these. The Paris Agreement is definitely an agreement – an agreement to remain fairly complacent on what is possibly the world’s greatest challenge to come. Sometimes I envy my roommate, who likely doesn’t know (or care) about the Paris Agreement – he seems happy. I can’t do much about it right now – so why shouldn’t I just be able to ignore this and be happy?
Such are life’s tough questions.