This unit we have learned about climate change. We have learned about several different people’s perspective on climate change and learned about how climate change affects people all over the world in different ways ranging from extreme weather like the typhoon in the Philippines to respiratory problems like asthma. While writing my monologues my goal was to show how many different opinions there are on climate change. I also wanted people to realize that deciding to do something about climate change or even just deciding what your opinion is on climate change is something people struggle with. Some people depend on things that cause climate change and others feel as though climate change really isn’t that important.
Why Should I Care?
(A 15 year old girl who lives in New York. It is 1988 right after NASA scientist, Dr. James Hansen, testifies in front of congress about global warming and the greenhouse effect. She is at school, sitting at a table eating lunch with a few friends.)
Do I have to read this article? Don’t we do enough boring reading in school? I don’t want to waste my lunch reading this. (Pauses, sighs) Fine, whatever. (Reads for a couple of minutes and frowns) Are you sure this is really true? Cause, I don’t understand. Why haven’t they said anything about this before? I mean, this guy is saying that we’re polluting and warming the earth. I mean, how is that even possible? (Pauses) I know it explains it in the article! I’m just a little skeptical. How is burning some stuff really hurting the earth so badly? Either the earth must be really weak or these losers are exaggerating and making a big deal out of nothing like they always do. I mean, according to this article we have (deepens voice and reads quote in a mocking way) “altered the global climate in a way that will affect life on earth for centuries to come”. (Rolls eyes) What’s that supposed to mean? How is this going to be affecting the earth?(Looks down at article) Okay...melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and evaporating inland water. That’s really not that bad! I don’t understand why these people are complaining so much. Why should I care about that? (Pauses) Alright…fine, I guess it’s bad… But what would we be able to do about it anyway? It’s not like it’s going to affect us in any way, so who cares! (Pauses) Wow, you’re right, that sounds really selfish. All right, suppose we do try to do something. Would our actions really make a difference? No, they wouldn't! There’s only four of us and what would we do? Stop buying stuff made in factories? Stop using energy? That would be impossible! Besides, I don’t really care about this so why would I even try to do anything like that? And seeing as it’s just not possible for us to do anything, I don’t see why you’re so worried about this. Just forget all about it and let’s just try to have fun with our lives instead of worrying about boring stuff. I was thinking that after school we could...(Pauses) He said that? Oh...Well then...I guess we will do something about this climate change stuff. (Pauses) I know it’s stupid to just change my mind cause of something he said but I don’t care! We’ll join that stupid club and do whatever we’re going to have to do there and I’ll finally have a chance to get to talk to him more. (Looks around) He’s coming! Alright, alright, keep on talking about this climate change stuff I want him to think that I care about it.
The Earth’s Beauty
(A 20 year old man who lives in the country. He is sitting outside on a bench looking at the stars.)
Every morning when I wake up I run to my window so I can see the sun rising over the gentle green hills where I used to play everyday. When I go outside I take a deep breath of the air, enjoy the gentle breeze and the smell of the damp earth and the trees. Then at night I look up and count the never ending amount of bright twinkling stars and revel in the beauty of the silver moon shining down on my face. I love this world so much and admire it’s beauty but I often wonder; what it was like before? (Looks up wistfully)Before humans came and destroyed what it used to be. Before forests were cut down and gases we’re pumped into the air. Was everything ten times as beautiful back then? Was every part of this world as lovely as the colors of the sky while the sun is setting? I wish I could have seen the world as it was in the beginning but I know that I will never be able to do that. The world will most likely get worse, these small areas of pleasure and beauty will disappear forever, because of us, our pollution and global warming. (sighs)
When I was younger I didn’t understand global warming. I just thought it was something bad like war and injustice. When you're younger you can’t understand how complex and complicated problems are when they seem so simple and easy to fix. I remember reading a quote from my hero and namesake, Alexander Graham Bell. “The unchecked burning of fossil fuels would have a sort of greenhouse effect...The net result is the greenhouse becomes a sort of hot-house.” I didn’t really understand that quote until my mother explained it in words that a 7 year old could more easily understand. That quote just reinforced my belief that climate change must be bad; if my hero thought it was bad then I definitely thought it was bad too.
But now I know more. I’ve grown older and am no longer a naive little boy rolling down hills and swimming in lakes. I now know that all the money we have comes from my dad’s company. And my dad’s company gets their money from burning fossil fuels. Soon, my dad expects me to work for the company too. I just don’t know what to do. All my life I’ve been against something that my dad has been working for and supporting. We’ve already argued and I hate fighting with him. I hate telling my dad that he’s a monster whose selfishness is going to kill every single thing that is beautiful. And I hate having to hear him tell me I’m a stupid child who doesn’t know anything. We both know we don’t really mean those words but still they hurt. I love my dad and I know he loves me. I don’t want to disappoint him but how could I live with myself if I knew that I was one of those people who was willingly and happily causing so many problems because of my selfishness and need for more money? I need to decide what’s more important to me. My dad and family or the earth and my integrity?
(A 34 year old man who is sitting in chair talking to his two children. )
Hey, kids, come here and listen to me. I have something important I want to talk to you about. Alright, you may have heard about a climate change march and about global warming. (Pause) You have heard of it. Good. Well, I just wanted to tell you that yes, global warming is happening. Wait! That’s not all I wanted to tell you. Sit back down! Well, your mother really cared about this before...well, you know. She wanted me to teach you about this. But really, who cares about the earth when there are more important things? Now, you listen to me and stop worrying about all that. The most important thing to me and what should be the most important thing to you is to make sure that were all fed and have a roof over our heads. Don’t make those faces! Sure the earth is important because it’s where we all live but in a hundred years none of us will be here. We won’t be alive to be affected by this climate change. Remember that. I don’t want you two to waste your lives trying to fix the world. Let other people worry about being heroes. You and I just need to stay alive and try to be the happiest we can be. We need to work, make money and take care of the family. Don’t ever forget that. Okay? Okay. Now go to bed.
(He waits until his children leave and then picks up a picture)
I’m sorry, darling. I know how you felt about climate change, how we both felt. (Smiles) Do you remember when you and I thought we could just fix the world? We laughed at other people’s mistakes and told ourselves that we were smarter and there was no way we would mess up. We we’re so naive. We thought it would be easy. Why didn’t we realize that if so many others couldn’t do it then there was no way we would be able to. And now you're gone… I’m glad you’re not here to see the mess of a world we live in now. The children are just like you. They can barely stand living in a world like this but I can’t let their lives turn out like yours. I can’t let them throw away their lives on an unfixable problem like climate change. I want them to be happy. How could they be happy if the only thing they think about is the earth? I’m sorry I can’t teach them to be better people but in a world like this “better people” don’t survive.
Here is the video for my first monologue, “Why should I care?”