My name is Alina Mendt and I am from Hamburg, Germany. During my gap year, I decided to spend three months in America to gain some new experience and travel abroad. My program consists of six weeks of language course and an internship at Wf360.
I am absolutely amazed by New York--the city itself, its people and their different nationalities and cultures. This is why I am thankful for every day that I can spend in New York and the people I meet here.
It was during one of my first train commutes from famous Grand Central Station to Fairfield, one of New York’s green suburbs where I live during my stay in America, when an elderly man, out of the blue, smiled at me and wished me a good day. This simple little wish he conveyed to me, being so unprecedented, made me feel happy and thoughtful at the same time. I continued thinking about it for the rest of the evening and still like to think of it sometimes. There was something in the man’s manner of speaking that indicated his words implied more than just the overused phrase. As I replied the same to him, I also really meant it.
There is one who talks about the future with great success and whom I admire for his bright thoughts. His name is Al Gore and he served as Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton. What I read in his new book called The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change alarmed me and probably had the same effect on many other people who read it. Al Gore uses a metaphor in order to clarify his declaration that "what we are seeing is an imperfect and partial representation of a much larger reality”:
Describing the electromagnetic spectrum, often portrayed as a long thin horizontal rectangle divided into different segments ranging from very low to very high frequency wavelengths, Al Gore indicates that somewhere near the middle of the rectangle there is a very thin section representing the visible light. This is, of course, the only part of the entire spectrum that the human eye is able to see. But since our eyes are normally the only “instrument” with which we try to see the world around us, he continues to explain, we are naturally unaware of 99.9 percent of the spectrum that is invisible to us. In addition, we often only see what we want to see.
With all our modern technologies we are at least able to predict what will happen in the next few decades if we do not change anything. Of course we are changing things, but the impact of many of those changes cannot be seen yet.
Al Gore has convinced me that these possible occurrences--if we remain inactive--are alarming, so it is consequently important
for us to continuously talk about the future, especially the measures we will take
to protect the earth’s climate from dangerous changing and to let our words be followed by actions!
When I return to Hamburg, I plan to talk about Al Gore's book with my friends and produce a short film about the future, for which I can hopefully use some of Al Gore's thoughts.