Global warming is a product of humans. 97% of scientists agree that we are the main cause. But the question is: should we feel bad about it?
Now this question may be ridiculous for some, but in some terms we must look at what we have done in the past 100 years that has progressed humans into where we are now. During the industrial period, factories were being built at enormous rates and they were turning out product faster than ever before. Because production was key to the developed countries, many people were required to work in these factories, causing many people to take on employment that was not there beforehand. With more people employed and earning an income, the quality of life started to increase for all people in the United States.
In addition to new jobs being created, new technology also came about. This technology needed a power source, which took the form of electricity. That electricity was created by burning coal. The new technology lit up homes and streets at night, helped with research on new medicines to help out the sick, and there was more leisure time for the average American citizen.
The basic commodities we have in the modern age were once upon a time very reliant on non-renewable resources to power the world. Non-renewable resources built cities and provided an income. Humans had the ability to create and accomplish more in 100 years than centuries beforehand. However, even though cities make up only about 2% of the Earth’s surface, they provide 70% of the pollution found on the Earth.
We are the cause for the ozone becoming thinner. There is a price to be paid for all of the advantages we have taken of the Earth. The United States Department of Justice has announced that because slow rise in temperature due to non-renewable resources, by year 2020 the world could start seeing floods and starvation. By 2050, California will have no water supply to use and there will be global mass starvation. This is our current future if we do not act now. Bill McKibben, who is the founder of 350.org, a climate change activist site, believes that changes should have been made yesterday. Bill tours the world given speeches on the outcomes of climate change and global warming if the world community does not come together.
Growing food will be almost near impossible. There will be such a shortage of water that it would get saved and sparingly given out. Land to grow any food would be hard to come by. The mid west of the United States, without water, will eventually turn into a giant dust bowl with no resources for a human population to use.
So how can we fix this?
Action should have been taken a long time ago, and now we must desperately play catch up with the damage we have done in order to save the atmosphere and ourselves, but there are still some ways we can start reversing the damage we have done. The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has over 400 scientists ranging in fields that came together to discuss practical ways to help the Earth, while also avoiding harm being done to any people. They looked at sustainable farming as one very important way to not only help the world, but also to help the economies of suffering nations.
What the scientists found was that sustainable farming would provide enough nitrogen back into the atmosphere to replace the thinning of the ozone. Sustainable farming also is a natural way for people in developing countries to make a small living off of and also to survive on. This overall also helps the market because with no more capitalist farming (farming for a profit with machinery), unnatural fertilizers would be taken out of the ground and water supply, causing less people, who have no choice but to drink the water, to get sick from it. Also, without capitalist farming, countries would have the ability to farm products that are naturally found on their land, making them more suitable and easier to grow in the environment, compared to foreign crops.
Another way to ct out non-renewable resources is to get energy from other sources. Wind turbines have been place on sea lines where wind is heavier and has been producing large amounts of electricity. Other forms include hydro power from dams and solar energy. These methods have been very effective in Europe, so much so that within the next 5 years, Europe plans to be running on 20% renewable resources as a form of clean energy.
However, there are politics at play here.
Because of the massive loans the International Money Fund (IMF) and the World Bank gave to developing countries, sustainable farming is not yet manageable in the global south. Many countries are in major amounts of debt and still have to abide by the rules set by the IMF and the World Bank. These rules were made as a way to structure how the poor country runs its economy and how much money goes into economic and social programs.
One of the major ways these rules changed the global south nations was to monitor what kinds of crops are being grown. Instead of growing crops that are native to the land, hence easier to grow, the IMF and World Bank wanted these countries to grow crops that they global north would like, and therefore, would buy in a mass quantity. Because of this, much fertilizer and pesticides go into the earth and the crops that are being produced. These crops grow slower and take more resources than the area may have to offer. The IAASTD has done research showing from examples in Cuba from 2008, that sustainable farms have a better recovery time when sever amounts of damage have been done to them. In 2008, hurricane Ike hit Cuba and destroyed many different farms. In a study between sustainable farms and capitalist farms, it was found that the sustainable farms only received 50% of damage done to the farm, where as the capitalist farm had a damage rate of 99-100%. Even with statistics proving that a more sustainable way of feeding the local population would help the economy and the globe, countries are bound by their loans and have no choice in the matter.
There is also the problem of companies who profit off of non-renewable resources. With fracking becoming a new way to obtain oil from the earth, it is less expensive and more effective to use non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resource companies also have money to put forth to lobbying, buying off corrupt individuals in power, and to out advertise the smaller renewable resource companies. The larger industries also have the historical and modern name prevalence in the global market, making them a larger force just by their name.
So, chances here are looking slim, but what can we do as global citizens to stop climate change?
First, we can vote. In the past 8 years, there has been a proposed bill on the Michigan ballot that wanted to ensure that the state would be using more clean energy in the next decade than it has before. The vote failed. Getting a simple piece of legislation into law can be the starting ground for real climate change awareness and precaution. So if you are 18 years old or older, please register to vote. You vote does hold wait in helping the world.
Secondly, we can join activist groups, such as 350.org. There, you will find information about food production, geography concerns, and much more, all which are caused by global warming. When joining an activist group, you are an outlet to people who are uneducated in the area. The more people become aware and educated about the problem, and the more they know on how it will effect them, the more likely people are to listen.
Third, take the time to recycle. It is so easy to throw a soda can in the trash when the recycling bin is too far away. However, that can will be able to power a light bulb is it is recycled, instead of sitting in a land fill for years to come. Recycling paper saves trees, which provide clean oxygen back into the atmosphere. With more friendly gases in the atmosphere, the less carbon dioxide and methane gas particles are clumped together, causing damage.
There are many ways to help stop climate change, but we must work together now to solve the problem. In the industrial age, we progressed far beyond what we thought was possible, but we hurt the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the ground we live on. In this age we need to progress in environmentally safe technologies to fix the problems we have caused, so future generations can look forward to a place to stay, clean and lasting energy, clean water, clean air, and a bright future ahead of them.