Posted by: itm2011 | May 19, 2011

“They say Global Warming…”

 Ilona Gorka, May 18th, 2011  

                                                                      “They say Global Warming…”

In this day and age, it seems inconceivable that there individuals and groups out there that don’t believe in global warming. In the past year, there have been more climatic caused disasters which have led to economic downturns like never seen before. There are many persuaders that climate change is natural and the human element has very little to do with it. So, what is global warming?

Global warming is defined at the rising of average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere due to greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect consists of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor insulating the Earth’s surface and helping it maintain warm temperatures. Since there is so much carbon dioxide filling the air the Earth atmosphere absorbs almost all of the suns emission. When the sun heats the earth the atmosphere is supposed to radiate most of the heat but instead it takes all the warmth and uses it to power the Earth causing a buildup of green house gases. This has been taught to everyone, but is it true or a hoax? The fact that there are some scientists that argue that global warming is nothing to worry about and that it is just a myth is a scary thought. Nevertheless there are other scientists who say the world will enter a vast drought because of the rising temperatures. However, the level of climatic change in the past century has never seen such a dramatic change and most scientists would accredit that effect to the industrial revolution and substantial increase in the global population. What are scientists doing about it?

With small conventions we are making the voices heard of scientists. Last year a convention was held in Cancun. “Global talks on climate change opened in Cancún, Mexico, in late 2010 with the toughest issues unresolved, and the conference produced modest agreements. But while the measures adopted in Cancún are likely to have scant near-term impact on the warming of the planet, the international process for dealing with the issue got a significant vote of confidence.” (NY Times) However I feel not much is being done for such a significant aspect of all our lives. When will we take climate change seriously?

Last year we were affected by a horrible Tsunami caused by increasing earthquakes. Throughout the world that have been mass floodings. Most notably in Australia, Pakistan, and here at home in the Midwest. There is direct proof that all of this is occurring due to ice caps melting and general climate change. If you see timeline chart on the bottom of the following website, http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html#, it is very clear to see that in the past 5 years a significant portion of the Arctic has melted away. If the global leaders do not take initiative to sustain or stop the loss, there will be a cataclysmic event in the nearby future.

The Mother Nature Network has compiled a list of 10 places to see before they disappear. Most of the reasons of the disappearance are due to climate change. There are national parks, cities, and even countries that are under a lot of stress because of rising sea levels. The beautiful country Maldives has most of its revenue come from tourism. It happens to be one of the most beautiful and serene places on earth. And do rising water levels, the President of the Maldives, has been forced to buy land in other countries because their country will not exist in the next 50 years. Carbon dioxide levels have increased causing the sea levels to rise up and countries like the Maldives and many other locations are in trouble.

The Carbon Dioxide levels have increased dramatically in the past few years. According to Koshland’s Science Museum, the level over the past 100 years has increased a much higher rate than in the past. “Recent Warming Exceeds Temperatures of the Last Several Hundred Years. Since the 1900s global average temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration have increased dramatically, particularly compared to their levels in the 900 preceding years. The rapid rise in both surface temperature and CO2 is one of the indications that humans are responsible for some of this unusual warmth. This graph is based on data from tree rings, coral and ice cores, and historical records. It represents only the Northern Hemisphere. Other surface temperature data sets differ somewhat from those shown here, but in all of them the modern temperatures are generally greater than during the past several hundred years. (Koshland)

In 2006 Al gore, the former United States Vice President, debuted the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. It featured many problems facing the globe and how drastic measures need to be taken. Since the movie, many realities of his plight to take further actions by government agencies have not came to fruition as much as needed. I personally don’t know what many leaders of the free world are thinking in not making this a priority.

There are other nay-sayers and people take away from the global fight to keep the human race and cease the mass extinction that will occur that will result in humans no caring about what’s happening in front of our faces. People such as Bjorn Lomborg should be taken out of this fight. Through misconstruing what is really happening and showing details as to the alternative science, he is leading people away from what really needs to be done. His movie “Cool It” describes these alternative theories and his personal opinion says we should focus on threats like HIV/AIDS. Not to say we shouldn’t focus and spend time, money, and energy on these horrible diseases. We should not stop thinking about something that will focus on a crisis that effects every human on earth. Every living species is being affected by global warming. And we need to do something to change it. Global Warming is an important ecological issue, but is usually overlooked for more pressing problems that aren’t long term, and with the less attention our situation can only get worse. By having these people inadvertently support the oil industries, they don’t realize what we are doing to the earth.

When the average person watches Fox news and their hard right views, it tends to change peoples views on global warming and climate change. When they have someone smart and savvy like Dennis Miller preaching and making fun of it, it takes away from the focus that every American and every person on this globe should have. However, for all the attention that this issue does not draw, that is how dire it is growing to be.

“Many human processes increase the amount of greenhouse gases discharged into the atmosphere, and many others remove the earth’s natural ability to absorb them.

This double process is further increased and accelerated by ‘positive feedbacks’ in nature, such as in the Arctic. Here, the loss of ice and snow also removes its ability to reflect heat. Absorbing heat means more melting, which means more heat is absorbed and so on. There are many more examples of this, from deforestation in the tropics especially, to the release of methane in peat bogs. All of these things are happening today, and accelerating.” (Our)

Another cause to this global epidemic is population growth. Philip Appleman has said “At the end of each day, the world has over 200,000 more mouths to feed than it had the day before; at the end of every week, 1.5 million more; at the close of each year, nearly 80 million more. Humans, who numbered 4.5 billion in the 1980’s, are now over 6 billion, and will probably exceed nine billion by 2050. Most of that increase will come in the poorer countries of the earth, exacerbating all of the consequent problems, among them shortages of food and water, depletion of energy supplies, deterioration of the environment, incitement to local and regional conflicts, and breakdown of the social order. Clearly, the continued increase in populations will produce a bleak future for all the earth’s inhabitants.

The need to reduce our rapid rate of growth, indeed to reduce the current and projected size of the human population, is urgent. Complicating the task of reducing populations are those who for various reasons advocate a continued increase and those who object to practical methods of population limitation, such as birth control and abortion, as well as those who simply turn their backs on the problem, refusing even to recognize the obvious. One legitimate function of education is the clearly enunciated recognition of social problems and the enlightened advocacy of social solutions.”

“The level of waste are producing is enormous. In the West, we lead incredibly carbon intensive lives. Food we eat, the products we consume, cars we drive, heating in our homes. Reducing this involves rethinking how we design, use and dispose of things, minimising wastage throughout production, useful life and after we’re finished with them. Closed loop systems may help us find this alternative path towards Zero Waste.

In theory, we can eliminate waste, by better understanding the life cycles of processes and systems. Cutting waste will mean massively increasing efficiency across our resource use from cradle to grave.

So is any of this really possible? “Zero Waste is about society as a whole, at local, regional, national and global levels.” explains Robbie Weir, Envirowise Programme Manager for Scotland. “For example, without fundamental change to how we consume crisps, it’s hard to fundamentally change the nature of a crisp packet. It has certain requirements in terms of functionality, and these are defined by how we consume the product inside.”

“There are three tiers of action to make this work,” he continues. “Legislation, cost drivers, and the moral component. If you combine laws, use technology to make sustainable packaging affordable, or differentiate it, finding a way to offset the extra costs, then the sustainable and recyclable packaging starts becoming the cheaper and the more effective packaging.”” (Our Waste)

We have to issue a dramatic change in the EPAs involvement and President Obama needs to give them more power. Unless we reduce Green house emissions and increase R&D on alternatives such as wind, solar, and hydro we will always be dependent on fossil fuels that will just increase the temperature and reduce the ozone layer. That will only solve part of the problem. If all global leaders don’t step up to the plate, all the countries will end up like the Maldives. Global warming is an environmental issue that affects all. If one country is eco-friendly but its neighboring country isn’t, that will only slightly curtail a very serious threat. Global warming is destroying our earth. We, as humans, are responsible for global warming. We must be the ones to change. And change immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

(NY Times) – January 13th 2001 – http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html#

(Koshland) – http://www.koshland-science-museum.org/exhibitgcc/historical03.jsp

(Our) http://www.ourfutureplanet.org/topic-climate-change

(Our Waste) http://www.ourfutureplanet.org/topic-waste

 

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