Global warming is both a naturally occurring process and an artificially catalyzed process. However, when the words are mentioned, they pull the mind towards the artificially catalyzed process. A process so engrained in the basic human drive to want more of everything. It is greed and social status, that has driven us, to dig up more oil wells to fuel our lifestyles, it has caused us to dig up for more coal, to power our ever-growing number of gadgets. It has caused us to log every available forest for space to build larger malls, and cater to the larger populations through commercial farming and spray every available pesticide to assure of the harvest.
The result is that pre-industrial levels of Carbon dioxide stood at 280 parts per million (ppm). Currently, they stand at 400ppm. The increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is directly attributed to the combustion of fossil fuels, which combine with oxygen to give out carbon dioxide (open source systems, n.d.). Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas, the others include water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Most of these gases occur naturally in the atmosphere but CFCs don’t. When these gases are multiplied in the environment they enhance, the temperature on the earth’s surface as well as on the earth’s oceans.
This results in what is known as the greenhouse effect (open source systems, n.d.). A situation, where more heat is trapped on the surface of the earth for longer periods. The increase in global temperatures has been so severe that the warmest twelve years have been recorded from 1981 – current (open source systems, n.d.). The result is that the glaciers that supply the planet with fresh water are melting faster in all parts of the world. Earth has also experienced bad droughts which get worse all the time. The deserts, are now spreading faster and becoming larger. To be honest, we’re baking the planet and ourselves alive.
The planet is at a precipice. A time when everything is uncertain. Different schools of thought at work opposing each other. Some say, that global warming has shaped the path of the planet and will continue to do so even after we’re gone. Others contend that the earth is suffering from a fever and our activities are the chief cause. All this put in place, brings about great uncertainty, money markets crash at a hint of oil price fluctuations, third world countries contend that they’re been denied a chance to develop from cheap sources of energy easily available to them. Governments try to figure out which policies to enact while protecting their industries.
Even as we sit it out trying to figure things out, one thing is certain. Time is running out, and we may need to take drastic measures if the planet is to survive the onslaught. If the human species is to have a shot at surviving on this planet. We will need, to figure out a way to power our homes, with cleaner energy sources, we’ll need to figure out how to move around without destroying the environment. We will need to find a way to produce sufficient food sources, without destroying the forest cover. We will need to plant more forests to act as a carbon sink to all the carbon dioxide that we’ve produced. We will need to be content with less if we’re to survive.
It is my belief, that enterprises left to their own element, will focus solely on profit-making with little regard to the safety of the environment or of the people on the planet. Therefore, governments must establish policies, control, the use, the exploitation of the natural resources responsibly while still ensuring economic growth. The government must also ensure that technological developments are put to use fast in all industries to produce more efficiently at a lower cost to the environment.
While I believe taking a bike ride is better for the environment and even good for the body, it is, the more intelligent solutions that drive me. For instance, I believe switching off an unused light is important because it means less oil is burned for power generation, running more efficient cars such as the hybrids saves more on dollars and still gets someone around. Video conferencing serves the purpose to connect without necessarily going the miles. Planting a tree gives shade and absorbs carbon dioxide.
It is, the collective little things that will save the planet, a planted tree here, a pro-environment law there, a recycled can here, a walk as opposed to a cab ride. Everything done by the planet’s seven billion population will count, in reversing global warming and reverting it to its natural path.