The United States Destructive Stance on the Environment

Posted: December 2, 2013 in The Hunger Games Op Eds


By Margaret Seitz

The environment is typically placed on the backburner in political discussions of late in the United States. Rarely will you see a politician headline their views regarding the environment. This troubles me and should worry you too. Recently, Suzanne Collins, the author of the popular Hunger Games series, wrote of a world in which life is bleak for most, resources are scarce for the masses, and living is simply a daily struggle for the populace. Living is made more difficult every year by the fact that each community must give up two children to fight to the death in these “Hunger Games”, which mirror the Gladiator fights of Ancient Rome. The Games stand as a reminder to the citizens not to rebel against those in control of the country. The country that Suzanne Collins wrote about, “…rose up out of the ashes of a place called North America,” and as a result of an environmental collapse, “…the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land, brought the brutal war for what little sustenance remained” (Hunger Games, 18.) Collin’s fictional country of Panem could be the future of our country and our future generations.

Currently, with our lack of conversation about the environment and agreement on how to maintain it we are doing nothing. At the moment in this country, there is no in depth comprehensive policy or legislation in place to combat environmental destruction. As a result zero progress is being made towards environmental stability. Our inability to act is causing more and more irreversible damage to our planet. However, some in politics say climate change is not occurring and some say it is, but believe that what is happening is normal and no cause for worry. Current scientific research proves otherwise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change” (IPCC Organization webpage). The IPCC has concluded that atmospheric carbon dioxide greatly increased to astonishingly high levels since the Industrial Revolution (Parenti, 5). This has caused a heating up of the world, which has disrupted water currents and weather patterns around the world and in turn disrupted plant and animal life (Parenti, 5). This may sound insignificant, but if we continue emitting high levels of carbon dioxide and as a result effects in the weather and plant and animal life occur, as they have and will continue to, then irreversible damage will be done to our planet that will make human life on it not sustainable. Our planet the Earth, “can survive without humans, but humans cannot survive without [it]” (Corcoran, xi).

Interestingly, Collins writes,” Something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences. You can spin it any way you like” (Mockingay, 375). Currently, we are those creatures. People of this country, politicians and regular citizens alike, are those creatures Collins is talking about. If we do not come together and make some sort of change in which we alter the way we are currently treating the environment our future generations will be sacrificed all because we could not settle our differences and take action about the environment now. Our future generations could be forced to live in a bleak world that may very well be like that of the Hunger Games, one in which peace is experienced by few as the many struggle to survive in hard and sometimes violent times. Knowing this citizens and politicians must come together now to discuss our environment and make strides to change how we interact with it in an attempt to protect it because if not the future of mankind, our future, will make for a dark tale to read.

Works Citied in order of mention:

Collins, Suzanne. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press.

IPCC Organization page

Parenti, Christian. (2011). Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. New York: Nation Books.

Corcoran, Peter & Wohlpart, A. James. (2008). A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

Collins, Suzanne. (2010). Mockingjay. New York: Scholastic Press.

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