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Ten days of touring the one of the biggest countries in the world, and what did I miss the most about the United States? The fresh, clean, and crisp air. It makes you wonder how some billions of people have lived their lives under a blanket of smog. The health effects are unfathomable.

One of the biggest take-aways from the US-China Student Summit was our discussion on pollution. The conversation started with a video of a zero waste blogger, Lauren Singer. She displayed her very little amount of waste from years of a changed lifestyle to eliminate her ecological footprint. A conversation that started out so simple, became deeply philosophical and multidimensionally complex. It was hard to create one solution. It was hard to agree on a solution that wouldn’t cause more problems, a solution that would prevent the inevitable, profitable business. Because at the end of the day, the world runs on business; everything is a business.

Regardless of how hard our society may try to become more eco-conscious and aware of our planet and its health. As a pessimistic view, but also slightly realistic, being eco-friendly is expensive, it is time consuming, “an extra step”, what then, will companies do once we are one step closer to paying more to dispose of less. Companies that choose profitability over benefiting the community around them will cut corners, and repeat the vicious cycle that is cost cutting. With constant business initiatives in mind, and the already habits many consumers of busy and low income lifestyles, its hard to find a solution that can incentivize change.

Change is one of the hardest and scariest things for a person. How can we make a change and improve the well-being of the environment? Our best answer was to create awareness. By being previewed the garbage free lifestyle, we were all inspired. But how long would we have kept that in mind for? After watching the video and having a break, I looked around the room, as everyone who was minutes ago inspired to waste less, had at least one new plastic water bottle at hand. It is hard to create commitment for change when the incentives to stay on track are nonexistent. Awareness should be pushed harder; there should be a constant reminder to how we are directly effecting the environment we live in. It is insane to hear some of the facts that are pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, etc. Change will not happen quickly when it comes to changing 7 billion peoples lifestyles. However, one step forward is better than slowing sinking backwards.

I know much of my blog raises more questions that it does answers…because I do not have the answers, and I could not question our society more. It was an honor to be involved in such a unique experience. I am so happy I was able to travel, network, and create memories in the great land of China with Chapman University at my side. That's all folks!