Global Warming Prevention The reactions to environmental despair

harold posted on Mar 01, 2007 at 01:34AM
Just a comment on the spectrum of reactions to global warming. As far as I've observed, few people now deny that there is such a phenomenon. The differences come in what people believe are the causes, and in their reactions to the same.

Most people I know believe that man is the primary cause of global warming, through deforestation, industrial and transportation pollution. These people feel that immediate action to change these actions is imperative, in order to reverse the global warming trend, if possible. They exhibit anxiety but not inconsiderable hope for the future.

The other camp - far fewer in my experience, but composed largely of politicians - consists of people who believe that the global warming we are observing is part of a natural cycle that would occur regardless of mankind's puny contribution. They believe that the next ice age will arrive in our lifetimes (anywhere from 20 - 50 years from now) regardless of what little effect we humans could make, and feel that taking action to reduce emissions and the like is pointless. They exhibit surprisingly little anxiety and no hope. I don't know many of these personally, but I suspect that most if not all of them are looking into buying property in the tropic or sub-tropic zones in the next few years.

There are convincing scientific data to support both camps. So, in which camp are you?

Global Warming Prevention 4 replies

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over a year ago dlyteful said…
(i kinda already wrote about this in the soapbox i wrote)
Honestly, I am really in neither camp. And only in the sense that I really do not care to argue or debate whether man is at fault for causing global warming or even trying to argue that global warming is actually occuring.
I think that we (humans) shouldnt need a reason to be more environmentally friendly- we just should because it is the right thing to do. we shouldn't recycle and conserve because it will save us from cooking in extreme heat or freezing in a new ice age. we should do it because it is and should be our responsibility. the earth is a living breathing thing and we need to start respecting that and taking care of her. we can't just pick up and move to another planet so we need to start taking care and cleaning up this one.
we shouldn't be leaving it to the next generation. you wouldn't leave your house a mess and leave for the people who move in after you to clean up--so why are we continually leaving messes for the next generation to clean up?
it's not fair and it's not right.
people start to live in their little bubbles and they don't realize the impact of all their 'little' actions but when you multiply those 'little' actions by 6 billion people that shit starts to add up. and in this case i am refering to everything from not conserving water, littering, misuse of natural resources....really the list could go on forever.

did i answer your question? i hope so. i hope i didnt just ramble on and on with not getting there. =)
over a year ago harold said…
I agree with you on most points, though I take some (very mild) exception to your use of "the earth", which is a common one. The Earth - that is, the planet - is barely, minutely, infintessimally affected by climate conditions and how we as humans treat our environment. Even if we engaged in all-out nuclear war, wiping out a significant portion of all life on Earth and irraditating the surface of the planet for hundreds of thousands of years, it really wouldn't make much of a difference to the planet. It would continue as it has been for billions of years. The difference, while significant to us, would be entirely on the surface of the planet. Eventually, even life would recover and repopulate the surface. It's akin to the microscopic mites living on your outer layer of skin thinking that anything they do would threaten your life (although even that analogy is the wrong scale). Mites come, mites go, and for the most part we are completely unaware of them. At most they can cause some mild skin irritation, which then ceases as they die off, and we think no more of it.

Now, as I said, I agree with you quite a bit. We should take care of our environment. But in doing so, we're not taking care of the Earth, we're taking care to maintain the Earth's biosphere, and maintain it in its current status, at that. Now, as an individual living in the biosphere, I have a great deal of investment in maintaining it as it is, sustaining my life and the life around me to which I've become accustomed. So by all means, let's take care of it. When we talk about saving the environment, we are talking about preserving what we know of life and the environment, not the Earth or even life itself. We only need to take care of our messes if we want to preserve what we know: save species from extinction, do what we can to ameliorate flooding, lessen the chances of oil spills and the like. I think that these are all important things, and I work toward them, but I know that it is, in one respect, a selfish act, because I want to preserve life as I know it (of the two camps, I'm in the former, believing that humans can make a difference, even if it is just to the tiny layer of life clinging to the planet). Certainly there's a selfless aspect to saving other species, but at the same time I realize that I want to do it because I love the biosphere as I know it, and its change makes me sad, in much the same way that diminshing open space in the Bay Area makes me sad. I remember playing in open fields as a child, but now all the fields are paved over and/or made into housing developments. Objectively, the housing is no better or worse than the open spaces, but to me the fields are missed.

Global warming presents a threat to human life as we know it. One could ask (and it would be valid), who's to say that human life is more valuable than whatever would come after us, adapted to the new environmental conditions? As a human being, I say that we (humans and all the life that currently exists in the biosphere) are more valuable, so let's preserve conditions in which we can continue to live!
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over a year ago blisslikethis said…
thank you for being so specific harold ;). however, i think i can safely say that those of us who refer to "the Earth" when speaking about environmental issues are aware that we are implying the global eco-system and not literally the hunk of rock currently orbiting the nebulous ball of gas we call the sun.

that being said, i whole-heartedly agree with dlyteful. i don't think we should need an excuse to be kind to our home, and as a result, those who share it with us. i honestly don't have anything to add as you summed it up so nicely :)

harold, sure it's true that the Earth would survive if we destroyed the biosphere, but i don't think wanting to preserve it is necessarily all about self-interest. obviously, one can't deny it is to some extent, but it's also about realizing that we don't have the right as human beings, to treat the Earth the way we have been.
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over a year ago CheekyCheese said…
I feel really sad and depressed when I hear about these natural disasters and I know that it'd down to us and I feel really useless