Even though we know that climate change is a pressing issue, we do little about it. Why? In a discussion I had in another class, we came to the conclusion that a huge reason that we do not feel motivated to act in regards to climate change is because we do not see pressing enough results. On the East Coast, there are no droughts. There are no natural disasters. There are no food shortages. Sea levels are not rising. There’s no extreme weather, etcetera, etcetera. With no physical evidence in our everyday lives that climate change is happening, it is cheaper and easier to ignore it.
This is our biggest and most detrimental mistake. National Geographic did a special issue on Climate Change, which I urge all of you to check out. Different photographers not only provided visual proof of melting glaciers and an altered environment, but described the causes, effects, and what we can do about it. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/climate-change/special-issue/
This issue is near and dear to my heart, as I value nature and our earth much above anything else. I firmly believe that our species – humans – have emerged out of nature, and it is therefore our natural space. The great outdoors is home, it not only provides food, water and recourses, but also solace, peace, serenity, adventure, danger and beauty. But the earth is not invincible, and our species has done an excellent job in destroying it. Deforestation, pollution, garbage, fossil fuels, poaching and other activities have all left a significant mark on planet earth, and are working together to destroy species, habitats and even our atmosphere. This is dangerous, and this is real.
Prestigious Harvard environmentalist E. O. Wilson estimated that in the next century, half of earth’s species will be extinct. This prediction is terrifying. We are running out of finite recourses, and food, water and energy is becoming scarce. According to a UN Nations Report in 2002, one quarter of the worlds mammal face extinction within the next thirty years. More than a quarter of the worlds coral reefs have already been destroyed, and it is estimated that the remaining ones can be dead in twenty years – that’s an entire ecosystem! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, estimated to be the size of the state of Texas, has miles of plastic debris beneath the water. One of the most important pollenating species – bees – are dying out.
Those who do not believe in Climate Change argue that nature is always changing, and that the warming of the earth is part of a natural process. This is not true. The earth can warm and cool naturally (look at the Ice Age) – but the rate that this process is happening at does not allow for plants and animals to catch up. This is a very real threat, and denying it and delaying action will make the outcomes worse. There is no longer wilderness untouched by human development. We have taken the earth that we have been blessed with, and made it ours. We have hurt it, and if we continue to do so, we will not be able to turn back.