Owls, Marshes and an Environmental Problem

Today we took an break from the classroom and went to Maryland to visit the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. I’m not sure what the goal of the trip was, but I think everyone took away different lessons.

What really got my interest was something that one of the rangers said; “The water rises about 2-3 millimeters every couple of years.”

Stop and think about that for a second. Two millimeters may not sound like a lot, but when it’s happening in a relatively frequent pattern, it adds up. It’s not like we can easily bring down the water level, and the thought of our countries slowly sinking is pretty frightening.

It also reminded me of something one of our mentors asked; “Do people believe in global warming back in your country?”

I think global warming is not too high on the list of problems in Libya right now, but it is a legitimate concern, not just the environmental aspect, but also the thought that there are divisions among people on these issues. What I really liked about the question though was the fact that Libyans are expected to hold opinions on international issues, a privilege we were striped from under the dictatorship.

Now, I don’t know if anyone in Libya doesn’t believe in global warming. But regardless of whether we do or do not affect the earth’s climate, we can’t be irresponsible when it comes to the land we live on.

I thought that the center was a good place to educate people on environmental issues, but I also though that it’s too passive a method. It’s located on a pretty remote place on a marsh, not very accessible. It also requires a membership fee, because it needs funding since it’s not affiliated with the government.

Aaaaand we’re back to politics. Everything in America is run by politics. There are even policies in order to keep owls in the environmental center. It’s aggravating. I guess I’m just used to the disorder and chaos in Libya, but at least that makes me feel human.

And speaking of Libya, today citizens in the country finally voted. The elections were a success, and the mood of the nation was extremely upbeat despite previous incidents. We are moving towards democracy, and yet it’s imperative that it is home grown democracy. One thing I have learned so far, not from any class but from the attitude of the people, is that a nations sovereignty is one of the most important values to protect.



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