SCI 207 Dependence of Man on the Environment
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy
April 22, 2012
Global warming is it fact or fiction Consequently it is important to be able to distinguish the true facts from fiction that is being promoted. Global warming is not a small problem nor is it a single country??™s problem, but an entire society??™s one; one that could have a huge impact on our environment and thus putting our world in jeopardy of not having a sustainable world. This may very well become the largest challenge humanity will face in the twenty-first century (A Cooler Climate, n.d.). So this paper will analyze the question is global warming due to only those actions of the human race and if so can the human race take some actions to prevent further contamination of the environment. An important issue that will be discussed first will be that global warming does happen through natural causes, this is a fact. What also will be presented as facts will be how greenhouse gases are being produced from human activities; the need to reduce the progress of urbanization; and the necessity of eliminating the deforestation of the earth??™s forests; as well as, the discussion concerning possible solutions in helping to solve global warming. Solutions, such as, planning better layouts for suburbs being built; ways to save our forests; and other means of saving energy and using energy-efficient appliances are being implemented when possible. Therefore the warming of our planet has come at the hands of mother-nature as well as the hands of humans, thus it is up to the human race to take charge and find a way to put an end to global warming.
It has been documented that there are other reasons beyond human activity for global warming or climate change, as some like to call it. The reason for the name change is because there are significant changes to measure in the climate which can last for an extended period of time. The planet creates some of the global warming naturally; for that reason one cannot assume that all of the warming has been caused by human activities. According to information obtained from A Cooler Climate (n.d.), natural causes contribute to some of the causes of global warming. This first natural cause is the eruption of large volcanos that can potentially propel a lot of dust into the sky; this dust acts as a shield to solar radiation and causes a cooling trend in the atmosphere. Even though this natural cause happens, it does happen less frequently than others. Another significant cause to the climate changing is referred to as the wobbly Earth. This term means that as the Earth spins it is slightly wobbly; as a result it exposes the northern and southern latitudes at different times of the year. Due to these tilts of Earth, it will receive more or less solar radiation depending on the angles. This less than perfect rotation causes changes in the temperatures of the Earth??™s atmosphere, which can be for millions of years. Another natural cause that effects the solar radiation levels of Earth are called sun spots. These sun spots cause increased solar activity, which cause short-term warming cycles on Earth (A Cooler Climate, n.d.). According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011), it states that significant changes can be measured and contributed to global warming and can be monitored through the following ways: by tracking the Earth??™s temperature, determining the precipitation amounts that fall around the world, measuring the wind gusts, and charting the changes in the ocean??™s circulation. These natural processes can last for an extended period of time, such as decades or longer. For these very reasons, everyone on Earth needs to understand just exactly what the causes of global warming entails. The evidence indicates that natural causes from the Earth are contributing factors too. These facts are important for and needed so the public can become aware of this information. If people become more informed, then the understanding will follow. The impact of global warming not only comes from mother-nature as pointed out, but will be initiated from humans as well.
Currently humans are contributing to the greenhouse gases, causing more warming than what occurs naturally; this is called by scientists the enhanced greenhouse effect. According Turk and Bensel (2011), a report indicates that on average global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, the three main gases, are rising due to an increase in human activities compared to pre-industrial times. The three main gases have been on the rise since the pre-industrial times, these times are usually considered between the agriculture society and the industrial revolution which occurred between the mid-18th and 19th centuries. Due to the rise of human activities in the using and burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, it has increased carbon dioxide by 40%, methane by 148% and nitrous oxide by 18%. Because many humans are burning coal, oil, and natural gas, this has accounted for approximately 80% of human causing the rise on emissions. Thus causing pollution in the air and in some cities, they are seeing fog from so many pollutants. As specified by Gore??™s book The Inconvenient Truth, he stated that ???The problem we now face is that this thin layer of atmosphere is being thickened by huge quantities of human-caused carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And as it thickens, it traps a lot of the infrared radiation that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere and continue out to the universe. As a result, the temperature of the Earth??™s atmosphere and oceans are getting dangerously warmer. That is what the climate crisis is all about??? (p.27). There are other reports coming from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) which indicate that these greenhouse gases are changing the climate. The current projection is that the rising of these gases is pushing the climate into uncharted territories, thus potentially making our world unsustainable to provide for our future generations. This has led to strong evidence indicating that human-induced atmospheric gases rising is the main reason the Earth has been warming over the past decades. Evidence clearly links human actions to the increase in greenhouse gases as well as when humans are building suburbs and clearing the land for such cities.
Urbanization and deforestation are some of the causes that have been effecting global warming as well. With so many people moving from the country-side into the suburbs, this is generating a massive growth in buildings being built and people moving into a condensed area, therefore the heat generated from these areas are leading to global warming. As per Kerr (1989), the growing of urbanization is causing heat or a rise in temperatures as a result from buildings and paved roads being built. Concrete, asphalt, and tops of buildings are not the same as being surrounded by trees, bushes, and grass therefore making cities hotter than the country sides. The concrete absorbs and stores the heat because it has no leaves or other vegetation therefore the heat just stays right there and does not cool off. In the country the vegetation evaporates the water through its leaves cooling the ground. Thus the progressive warming is due from the growing of urbanization. The essential relationship between our civilization and the ecological system of Earth has been altered due to the powerful merging of the population growth (Gore, 2006). Awareness of the association between urbanization and global warming needs to be made. Within these suburbs, the land is being cleared for buildings and paved roads. Deforestation is the removal of forest land this is decreasing the planet??™s ability to cool itself from carbon dioxide. As pointed out by Powell (2012), because of the removal of the trees due to deforestation that helps cool the planet by removing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been a contributing factor to global warming by giving off more of the greenhouse gases than the forest can absorb. For instance, in the Amazon rain forest it is struggling against global warming. Its dense vegetation which has long helped cool Earth by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is now disappearing due to deforestation. Therefore the Amazon is about to switch sides, from being a helper to a hinderer because the forest is to a point at which it will give off more of the greenhouse gases than it absorbs. Deforestation is one of the leading causes of global warming. Due to forests being cleared these treeless patches store very little carbon and also reduces the amount of moisture released into the air. This situation leads to the drying of the outer edges of the forest also putting the remaining forests in jeopardy. Awareness is the key element here and how the effect of deforestation and urbanization has on global warming. With the increase in the population in a dense area, only creates heat from people, as well as their cars and the paved roads their cars drive on. As for deforestation, the removal of trees causes less amount of moisture for surrounding trees and ground, thus producing drought, and impacts more on our Earth??™s global warming. There are solutions that society can act upon to help lessen the impact of global warming.
The human population can take steps to stop or slow global warming. For that reason the whole world needs to decrease their use of greenhouse gases. Global emissions need to be reduced and the longer this is delayed, the harder it will be for nations to live by the needed reductions. In accordance with the article Climate of Compromise (2009), countries have started to analyze their own emissions and are developing agendas to be able to meet their commitments. These decisions are an essential and much needed starting point for an international agreement, which is in progress after the previous treaty was signed some 12 years ago. Many nations have begun pledging to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by considerable amounts. The problem lies with funding, as many nations take on this effort, obviously the developed nations will be able to bank roll their efforts. It is the developing nations that need financial assistance in order to achieve and make their efforts realizable. Information found on the web site CO2emissions (2012) have suggested that even with the Clean Air Act being imposed, that people need to do additional things that will help in reducing their production of the greenhouse gases. Instead of driving your vehicle one needs to walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation if available. Suggestions have also been when not using an electrical appliance, it needs to be turned off and unplugged, even if only for a few hours, anything helps. More citizens need to reduce their footprint, by reusing material when possible and by recycling more so landfills are not creating more carbon dioxide from the burning of these materials. By adding insulation and plugging up those cracks along walls in your home, people are able to turn down their thermostat therefore using less heat. Replacing old equipment with more energy-efficient products when they need replaced one uses less electricity for these products. On the word of Gore (2006) he suggests that we switch to ???greener??? power. Homeowners have begun to use wind turbines or geothermal heat pumps, and by installing solar photovoltaic cells, thus attempting to reduce their carbon footprint. He also suggests that our next vehicle purchase it would not hurt to consider a hybrid car, as these cars run on a mix of gasoline and electricity; also by using alternative fuels. He talked about in the future an alternative fuel will come from fruit, weeds, sawdust ??“ almost anything, even potatoes. Promoting that global warming is happening is a must. There are some things that all citizens can do to slow down the effects of global warming. As more and more people become conscientious about how their actions are impacting the Earth, then the more that global warming will be reduced and slowed down, not just by using alternative energy sources or by changing one??™s lifestyle, but by really paying attention to our natural resources.
Ways to curb deforestation and to improve urbanization planning are a must in order to curtail global warming. As more and more clearing and building, people need to think about how to stay and maintain being green and sustaining a livable Earth. According to Tollefson (2009), he wrote that the Sustainability Institute developed a user-friendly software program that could assess the ultimate impact of any given emissions development. By running this program, which can forecast variables like future temperatures and sea-level rise, countries could analyze their own proposals and make needed changes if deemed necessary. This program will help countries that may be less developed in creating a sustainable atmosphere. Some impacts can be avoided by reducing greenhouse gases. Moutinho who is a research coordinator with the Amazon Environmental Research Institute is looking at ways to use carbon markets to lessen emissions from deforestation while protecting biodiversity and the rights of native people. Even though his fight is an up-hill battle, it is one that must be followed in order to eliminate or at least slow down global warming. As Turk and Bensel (2011), indicated that efforts to conserve tropical forests have been trying to find markets for products that can be harvested from within the forests. Such a sustainable approach may yield much needed food and they have found an alternative to cutting down trees. As for urbanization, a well-thought plan needs to be developed, known as smart growth (Turk & Bensel, 2011). This minimizes some of the impact from urbanization because it promotes better planning and designing of ???green??? buildings. Planning better when a new suburb is being built and when cutting down forests is a start to slow down global warming. Providing for a better future in developing ???green??? buildings and leaving nature as untouched as possible is a step in the right direction. In order to minimize one??™s own footprint, new development and ways of living must be implemented. Everyone must get involved with coming up with solutions to global warming even when it could potentially become overwhelming from all the different information being supplied. No more can one just sit by and let their neighbors take action. Action needs to be taken, and it needs to be taken now, not a few years from now. There are things that are easy to do differently and then there are harder things that need to be done differently, but will take some time to come up with solutions, but when everyone pitches in and cooperates, then it will likely be completed. But everyone needs to make that decision for themselves, and what they want their involvement in sustaining the world to be.
Mother-nature as well as humans has played a part in global warming; now it is up to everyone to find ways to minimize global warming for our planet??™s sake. Natural occurrences, as well as humans have played a hand in global warming. If we are to slow down the effects of global warming, then humans need to take heed and stop over using the planet??™s resources and become more efficient. Decreasing our use of greenhouse gases as well as planning better when building our planet??™s infrastructure is a major step towards taking responsibility to making our world more sustainable for future generations. Everyone needs to recognize the need to understand the facts versus the fiction being promoted about global warming. In accordance with what Gore (2006) stated ???One way to begin making a difference is to learn how the way we live our lives impacts our global environment. All of us contribute to climate changes through the daily choices we make: from the energy we use at home to the cars and other vehicles we drive, from the products and services we consume to the trial of waste we leave behind??? (p. 305). Global warming will impact our environment, thus putting in danger our ability to provide a sustainable Earth for the future generations. Gore (2006) also stated that ???Our actions to assist in solving the global warming can extend well beyond the ways we personally reduce our emissions, but continuing to learn about the state of the environment and what is being done about it, we can inform and inspire others to act. Let us bring awareness to our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces, and find ways to implement programs in these and other communities??? (p.319). By educating everyone to recognize the potential problems that global warming will ensue on our planet is a big step forward. Humans can become more energy conscience, and in doing so, the impact of global warming, would be one that could potentially become more sustainable for our future generations. After critically analyzing the issue of is global warming due to human actions and can the human race take action to stop global warming, the argument would have to be that since the entire world needs to live their lives, then one would need to weigh the facts concerning this environmental issue to determine their involvement or non- involvement, it is totally up to each individual.
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