Story by: Jamie Soule
Remember when people talked about global warming as a problem in the future? The ice was going to melt. The weather was going to get worse. Things were going to be different.
That was then. This is now: The ice is melting, the weather is worse, things are different.
Except, are things really different? That is a two-part question in this context. Yes, the climate on Earth is different. But, are we different?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently announced in its 2013 report that humans have been the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s. In that report, the IPCC stated that significant changes must be made in response to greenhouse gas emissions.
That means we need to change.
The fad of acting like global warming isn’t happening is over. There is substantial evidence that global warming is causing climate change that is harmful and will eventually be irreversible, if it isn’t already so.
Several documentaries provide data and extensive research. Most recently, visual proof has been noted in “Chasing Ice” by National Geographic photographer James Balog and his crew. Balog is brought to tears when he realizes the subject of his photographic masterpiece will be forever gone before 2100—the ice is melting.
(via exposurelabs on YouTube)
Other visual proof can be found in our local media and our hometowns. Hurricanes in the last decade have been fierce in the U.S. Hurricane Katrina, a category 5, caused more than 1,800 deaths and is estimated to have caused over $80 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Furthermore, 25 of the most damaging storms in the last two years have cost the U.S. $188 billion, according to thinkprogress.org—the weather is worse.
Recycling, unplugging electric items and hanging the clothes versus using the dryer is not going to cut it. But, what else can we do?
A huge (seriously, huge) component of “we” is business—production of almost anything these days requires various chemicals that contribute to global warming and climate change. Not only do things require production, but sometimes production requires production. Petroleum needs to be refined. Natural gas needs to be extracted. All of these productions have a carbon footprint. Maybe businesses need to change the way they do business.
Bring it back to science class: When any chemical is added to another chemical, there is a reaction. We’ve added so many chemicals to the atmosphere (already a bunch of chemicals) that the reaction might never stop, or at least not in time for us to survive the bubbling over of our explosive science experiment.
There is no more time to wait. It is now or never, as they say. Soon, our impact on the environment will be irreversible and we will have to suffer the consequences. Change is inevitable, but we influence the extent.