The Crying Planet (the reality of climate change and it's effect on the planet)
Even if you don't read this entire article, please take a few minutes to view this wonderful animated video. They say a picture paints a thousand words.
A Better World
Try to imagine if you will, what will happen when all the Earth's natural resources are depleted, used up, destroyed. You live in a world where nature virtually no longer exists, except in books or documentaries by David Attenborough. All trees, plants, and animal life simply memories of our past. Look around you in guilt and disgust at what the Human Race has done to the Earth through its insatiable quest for greater technology and scientific and personal advancement.
Up until the turn of the last century change was actually frowned upon. The few people brave enough to offer new ideas were ostracized as trouble makers, imprisoned, or laughed at by the established scientific community.
History has shown that most major discoveries or greatest contributions to science were instigated by those who were thought of as quacks and eccentrics during their lives. Such revolutionary thinkers as Nicholaus Copernicus, Galileo Galelei, and Rene Descartes to name just a few.
Now, this seems to be happening to our Climate and Environmental scientists. Eminent men and women like David Suzuki (geneticist), Tim Flannery (mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist, and Australian of the Year 2007), and Kesha Forrest (Environmental Protection Specialist US Environmental Protection Agency) to name a few, are under constant pressure from Climate Change and Global Warming sceptics and deniers to prove that mankind's actions are having a detrimental effect and can be directly linked to the deterioration of our climate and environment in general.
We are Capable of Anything
Of all the great ages of discovery the past century has seen by far the most dramatic advancements in technology. Humankind it seems is now capable of creating or developing anything that the mind can imagine eg. cloning, GM crops, stem cell research, smart phones, driverless trains, the list is endless.
On reflection however, is this power too great, and is it getting out of control? Are we moving ahead too quickly in a rush to develop new technologies and techniques to make life easier, without taking the time to consider the future consequences?
This planet that we call The Earth is the only one, we are aware of, capable of sustaining life as we know it. It is all we have and without it we will surely perish. Is it worth risking our lives, and those of our children and grandchildren by acting as guinea pigs for our own scientific experiments? Only by looking ahead into the future for possible pitfalls and side effects first can we ensure the future continuance of our race. In the old proverb "Look before you leap" there is a very relevant message for our society.
Our climate scientists and environmentalists have been advocating the dangers of 'climate change' and increased co2 emissions for more than 20 years but haven't been taken seriously or treated as quacks (another old proverb comes to mind, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"). This is one area where science and Governments haven't plunged ahead into the vast unknown, in fact until recently they have virtually sat on their hands afraid to take action because of the power and influence of the multi-national power and oil corporations.
In Australia (the driest continent on Earth and one of the greatest co2 polluters per capita) for instance, the newly elected Government has already abolished "The Climate Commission" headed by Professor Tim Flannery (mentioned earlier), and has abolishing the 'carbon tax', both introduced by the previous government. The Climate Commission has however refused to be disbanded and found private and public funding to continue its good work as a separate entity. This government has also reduced funding and incentives for all alternative energy providers so many are being forced to shed jobs and even close their businesses. Our Prime Minister has even publicly stated that coal is good for the world and coal-fired power production remains his governments preferred method of power generation.
This attitude flies in the face of the rest of the world who are beginning to embrace alternative energy, including the United States and China. Others like Germany are already well ahead.
How Much Warning Do We Need?
Most of us think of the burning of fuel by factories, the millions of cars on our roads, and excessive power consumption as the main protagonists in climate change. However, the clearing of our forests for development, the production of timber and wood chip, products like palm oil, and charcoal is a major factor in the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Trees actually breath in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen into the atmosphere, so it a no brainer that by planting more trees than we destroy we will help the planet we love and rely on.
We have had ample warning of the catastrophic events that could occur should we not act 'now'. Rising temperatures, sea levels, and melting ice caps are already evident. There has been a dramatic increase in the occurrence of natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes in recent years. What more evidence do we need to convince us that we are on the wrong track and need to change our course urgently? The 'economy' is not the most important factor for consideration, The ENVIRONMENT is!
What Difference Can We Make As Individuals?
Many people have the attitude, "I am just one person. Nothing I do will have any impact or make a difference." This way of thinking is wrong and our government also uses the same excuse. They are constantly using the excuse for not acting effectively on climate change, saying we are only one country with a small population. Reducing our carbon emissions will have no real effect unless the major polluters like the USA, China and India lead the way in carbon reduction and use of renewable energy.
They ignore the fact that the biggest hole in the ozone layer is over Australia and Antarctica, and that we already have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Australia has been one of the leading developers of solar technology, but the government won't support the development of this industry or the manufacture of solar panels etc, so most of these businesses have been forced to either sell the technology, or move their businesses offshore to China etc where production and labor costs are lower than in Australia.
We all can make a difference.
- If possible have solar panels installed, or at least a solar hot water system.
- Plant trees on your land wherever possible instead of clearing.
- Don't drive any more than you need to, or carpool whenever possible.
- Try to buy food and other products locally (and organic) to save the energy, fuel etc used in transporting the products. Even better try to grow your own.
- Fly as little as possible. Planes use more fossil fuels than any other form of transport.
- Buy energy efficient white goods and electrical appliances. Plasma t.v.s are power guzzlers, don't buy one!
- If possible buy a gas powered vehicle, or hybrid, or have yours converted.
- Install a rainwater tank so all your rainfall isn't wasted.
- Recycle as much as possible. Take your own biodegradable shopping bags to the supermarket in preference to using plastic bags.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Don't leave it to the government to do the right thing.
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