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Justine is a recent graduate of the
University of Miami


You can contact her at


The Mayan calendar seems very specific about the end of the world being on December 21st 2012. I however, am a little less convinced. I think we may still have some time left, and some time to make changes, at least until the sun burns out. While there were countless defining eras in human history, during the past couple hundred years two in particular have occurred to me in the last couple of days as especially important.

The first would be the industrial revolution. This boom in industry translated into economic and technological growth as well as an increase in population. I believe that the promises we see today are based in this era. People of this time might be excused for their lack of environmental sensitivity when just feeding their families proved difficult. Today there is some movement toward living greenly, and being environmentally conscious has become trendy. With all the publicity global warming has been receiving and all the environmental legislation that seems to be taking place worldwide one might hope that we were on the road to averting environmental catastrophe.

Somehow, I’m not quite convinced. I find it hard to believe that the world will be able to wean itself off of its oil dependence within the next few decades, and rising oil prices will lead to higher cost of living. In my own country the Prime Minister flouts expert opinions that our oil and gas reserves have only twenty years left, in order to allay public fears. Although I think the main challenges of our near future will be environmental, I don’t think that the picture is completely grim. The other historically defining era that I think has greatly influenced the present is the 60’s. During this time the seeds of liberalness and acceptance were sewn. A country like Spain that did not legalize divorce until the 1980’s now allows same sex marriage, as do several other countries. The United States now has a black man as the Democratic, presidential candidate and a woman on the Republican ticket at the same time. The world as a whole has become more accepting and open and I think that most people would agree that these changes have been for the better. All in all I think changing attitudes, and the desire of the world population to see these changes reflected in the world around them will make the difference. People are getting smarter and more involved in their own fate. More of the people of today believe they have the ability to affect change, and belief is half the battle.