- Posted July 9, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Hurricane season 2014
The Real Deal with Global Warming And Climate Change
Decades since the issue of global warming reared its ugly head; a lot of people still argue the validity of scientific findings put forth by researchers and professionals around the world. Arguments, such as “the climate is a natural process”, to the issue being entirely a hoax is still ravaging the minds of the world's population. However, to those experiencing the extreme effects of global warming such as erratic weather, drastic and sudden changes in temperature, and devastating natural calamities, the issue is in dire need of solution.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a firsthand witness to the validity of the warming Earth. By measuring the Carbon Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, scientists at NASA were able to observe extreme measurements that indicate that human activity is affecting the natural cycle of the Earth. CO2 is an important heat-trapping gas. Also known as a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is produced naturally by respiration and volcanic eruptions. However, human activities, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, speed up the process of the Earth's atmosphere that usually takes thousands of years. NASA’s records show that in the past three glacial cycles, between 350 to 50 million years ago, the highest average CO2 concentration on the atmosphere is around 300 parts per million. That was also the measurement recorded back in the 1950's. Now, the concentration is increasing rapidly from what is normal to almost 400 part per million. This causes extreme temperature increase, such as the highest recorded just last year. This, in turn, affects the polar areas of the world where large concentrations of ice regulate sea levels and temperature. Since the 1980's, there has been a drastic decline of sea ice. The Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 11.5 percent per decade, from around 7.5 million square kilometers down to 3.61 million square kilometers last year. This explains the flooding in areas where flood was never experienced in decades or centuries. With all the evidences present, there should be no argument regarding the validity of the situation. Add to that the plight of the people who are directly affected by these events.
Due to the alarming state of the Earth, solutions from green living to sustainability have cropped up in modern society. In recent years, companies such as Honda, PG&E, S.C. Johnson and Hewlett-Packard have joined the bandwagon and started modifying their processes to delay the effects of global warming. But, are these solutions really effective? Will planting trees and recycling help the future generations see green Earth?
Apparently, popular solutions, however extensive, will not save the planet from its destruction. Planting trees and reducing waste will have little effect to the climate change. Unless big changes are made, hectares of trees will not serve as our savior.
The first challenge in slowing down the climate change is the elimination of the world's dependency on fossil fuels. Almost all contemporary society relies on coal, oil, and natural gas to function. Oil is essential to producing products such as plastic and consumed goods. Coal is a requirement to provide power to most of the world. The world relied too much on these fossil fuels that it is difficult for most people and companies to look for alternative solutions. A push to increase alternative power sources such as solar power, biodiesel, and wind power has been made decades ago. However, the world seemed to cling to its usual ways and is not ready to let go of fossil fuels, mostly due to its economic value.
Another hurdle to surpass is the culture of consumption. The world economy is literally built on the power of the people to consume. It has been a part of everyone’s lives since the Industrial Revolution that we come to accept it as the only way to live. We believe that the more we consume, the better we are. Through consumption, the world is amassing tons of waste that contribute to the looming effects of climate change. The food industry alone, which is an essential to our modern life, contributes huge wastes every year. In the U.S. and in Europe, a person wastes an average of 209 to 295 pounds of food a year. Globally, one-third of the food produced for human consumption goes straight to the dumps. That's about 1.3 billion tons of food. Ironically, poverty and hunger are still a huge problem in most parts of the world.
Sustainability, such as building efficient buildings that can run on its own without using too much raw materials from the outside, is not even fully realized yet. The day-to-day lifestyles of most families have not changed since global warming started. Even country-wide recycling is unheard of in most parts of the world, with only Austria, Germany, Belgium, and Norway employing effective recycling measures.
Unlike Justin Bieber or the hipster trend, the threat of climate change' is not a fad that will pass. The danger is real. Unless we deal with it right now, there is a chance that our sons and daughters will have no Earth to inherit.