Feb 3, 2007

Don't Listen to the Pessimists. The Earth Will Survive as it Has for Billions of Years!

The Question is, Will Humans Too? And, in What Kind of an Environment?

We all breathe the same air. Essentially, we all have the same home, called Earth. We are all subject to the ..weather. Assuming that we want our children to enjoy life as much as possible, we have to do whatever we can to preserve the health of our ecosystem. When thousands of top scientists issue a dire warning about the health of our planet, we should listen. Science is the best tool we have for finding things about and understanding the world around us. It's not infallible, but it's strength comes from its methodology. Again, it's the best tool we've got. The consensus is that global warming is a fact and that humans are mainly responsible (90%) for its accelerated pace. There are a few (yes, just a few) scientists who disagree. That's fine. But, as far as I know, no scientist that does not work for, or receives anything from the energy industry, disagrees with this consensus finding. So, the question is, what do we do about this problem of global warming.

It shouldn't take a genius to note that we've been putting lots of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Smog, for example, is the product of burning gas, coal and petroleum. Emissions of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) are rising faster than ever because of human activities, not because of any natural cycle. People can choose to believe whatever they like--and we've been doing this on almost every level and about anything. Yet, I don't think we can afford to make a mistake on this one, nor do I think we have much time to spare before we act.


Global warming according to xkcd [click picture to enlarge]
I'm a student of science and an ardent supporter of it. There's a intrinsic value in knowledge, at least for those who really want to know. Be inquisitive and follow the evidence where ever it leads you. When it comes to the environment we have to be honest with ourselves. There's no superman, no script being followed whereas Deus ex machina would appear to save humanity from annihilating itself. We have to prove that we can be reasonable and rational beings capable of their own salvation.

Leadership is very important and our government should be at the forefront in environmental policy. The marketplace forces are good to make profits and react to consumer demands, but without some regulation and safeguarding of our commonwealth, the last tree will be cut down, and the last fish will be taken from the sea. Unfortunately, this president is not only science-illiterate, but insensitive to the needs of the environment. As long as there is some person somewhere that disputes the scientific consensus (i.e. theory of evolution, gravity, etc), Mr. Bush will say there are two sides to a story!


Our government can implement policies that promote energy conservation, alternative fuels, and a change of consumer behavior. We're 5% of Earth's population and we use anywhere from 25 to 40% of the total world energy. This is not sustainable, at least, not with the current means of energy production. On the other hand, every person has to do his/her part in being smarter about energy and the environment. There are plenty ways we can help, start by being educated about the issue and interested in doing something about this problem. Oh, perhaps you may want to change some of those incandescent light bulbs to the fluorescent ones that use 75% less energy and last a lot longer.

Marge: Homer! There's someone here who can help you...
Homer: Is it Batman?
Marge: No, he's a scientist.
Homer: Batman's a scientist!
Marge: It's not Batman!

10 comments:

Robbie said...

Some people don't know how to connect the dots..... Or, they feel frustrated by any contradiction. We also hear about presenting the 2 sides to a story....

But, not everything goes. There's gravity and those who say there isn't! OK. We have to evaluate their arguments and choose. Same for the environment. There are thousands of top scientists (basically all of those in the environmental sciences) who agree. And, there are 3 who disagree. If you had to choose, which way would you go?..

Samantha said...

Did you hear the EXXON-MOBIL is giving lots of $$$ (it has lots of cash to spare these days..) to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI is a thinktank) so it can offer it to any scholar for writing papers contrary to the consensus of the scientific community regarding global warming.

It's OK to seek the weaknesses in any theory, but I suspect there is something wrong when those who disagree with the consensus are funded by the energy industry. And, btw, this "theory" isn't hypothetical, but is based on facts collected over a very long time.

Anderson said...

I don't want to disagree with your general observations, but not all of us breathe the same air. Not all of us do/will feel the same adverse effects of a changing environment.
There's a strong corrolation between the economic status and how a person experiences the environment. Obviously, the wealthy have many more options!

Kelly said...

Mmm, maybe in the short run, you can insulate yourself (though not completely) from the adverse effects but unless you're so egotistical, you have to think of the future and leave a decent home to your children.

drew said...

I was watching that guy Neil Degrasse Tysson (the astrophysicist) last night talking about the appalling ignorance Americans have for science.

I just hope that at least we're sensitive and caring enough to gear into action and do whatever we can to promote sane environmental policies.

reston said...

You'd think it'd be common sense to realize that we've been burning coal and oil since the industrial revolution and those emmissions are not part of any natural cycle. They go somewhere--not in outer space!

Is there any person not familiar with pollution? Is there anyone who thinks it's OK to pollute? (unless you make lots of money, in which case your view may be skewed)

I say, even if there weren't human causes for global warming, would it be a good idea to reduce the negative effects if we could do something about it? Of course!

george said...

george said...
I agree. The scientists have examined global temp trends and global warming is a fact. Since 1975, for example, there's a spike which will continue until 2050. What we do today will determine what happens after that date, whether the temps will climb, stabilize or begin to fall.

I know that we're looking into the future (not so distant... our own children will be there), but how would we react today if humans had the knowledge of and the ability to do something about the environment but didn't? What legacy would that be???!!!

Besides, this is the first time in Earth's history that more humans are alive today that ever lived before! This should give you some perspective on the impact we're having on our planet.

acv said...

You had to mention Bush... Didn't you?...
OK, I'll restrain myself today from criticizing this nincompoop...

On another note, Al Gore has been invited to testify in Congress about climate change. here's the link

Anonymous said...

An Inconvenient Truth should be seen by all concerned citizens and students.

me2 said...

Oooh, check this out:
AEI will money ONLY to people who write something critical of the recent report on climate change.

[details here]