Global Warming: Raising Concern on a Global Scale
The issue of global warming has become a regular topic in that every time one watches the news on television or read the papers in recent months there have always been something about the environment behaving strangely. The hurricanes, tsunamis, melting glaciers, flooding, heat waves and other irregular natural phenomena that various parts of the world have been experiencing in the past decades have all been linked to global warming. Global warming is a real issue and it requires every human being in the planet to take part in the campaign for the sake of future generations.
Some people have expressed doubts as to the importance of the problem and points to the impossibility of requiring countries to adapt the solutions to combat global warming. Robert Samuelson, a Washington Post columnist wrote an article criticizing the efforts to fight global warming. According to his calculations, if energy use per person and technology remains the same in 2050 as it was in 2003, total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions will be 42 percent higher—and that is low because as societies grow richer, they use more energy (Samuelson). In other words, to tell countries to minimize energy use, the thing that drives industries, is to tell them to stop moving and growing. Furthermore, there is a lack of concern among people because of their inability to connect global warming and human health and extreme weather events. Global warming is only an issue that seems to affect the Arctic regions where nobody lives, anyway. People need to know the facts that would affect them directly in order for them to be aware and start doing something to fight global warming.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, carbon dioxide and other air pollution (greenhouse gases) that is collecting in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trap the sun’s heat, causing the planet to warm up. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are necessary to regulate the circulation of the sun’s heat into the atmosphere, but when there is too much of it, the sun’s heat is trapped and could not circulate as well as it should. This resulted to a current pace of temperature rise consistent with a rate of 5.4 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit per century.” These current rates are extremely high. By comparison, the world has warmed by 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit since the depths of the last ice age, 18,000 to 20,000 years ago (“Evidence”).”
EcoBridge, an environmental concern group compiled reports and data which enumerate the existing evidence for global warming (“Evidence”). Strange weather patterns have occurred because of the temperature change. Incidents of blizzards, early snowmelts, heavy rainstorms, and flooding have increased worldwide. 1998 has seen 96 floods in 55 countries. Damage totals for the 1990’s amounted to $340 billion worldwide compared to $83 billion for the 1980’s. Heat waves have become commonplace in Europe and America. The worst one happened in June 2003 when1700 people died during a heat wave in India, followed by 35,000 deaths in Europe the following August. Some islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are endangered of being wiped out due to rising sea levels. About 27% of the world’s coral reefs, the habitat of fish species, have already been destroyed because of bleaching, a process wherein the algae that nourishes the corals get expelled because of high water temperature.
Several diseases like malaria, dengue, encephalitis and yellow fever are expected to increase because the insects that carry these diseases have been moving to higher altitude places in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Finally, many species of the world’s flora and fauna are at risk of endangerment or extinction with the continued rise in temperature. Due to the decreasing temperatures in the Antartic and Arctic regions, polar bear and penguin populations have decreased. The blue whale has drastically reduced in number not just from commercial whaling but from the scarcity of krill, their food supply which in turn, subsists on marine algae that only thrives in cold temperature. Humans are not exempted. The World Health Organization determined that 154,000 people, mostly children in developing nations, die every year from the effects of global warming, from malaria to malnutrition. This series of presented information show that global warming has a global impact, especially in a global ecosystem where every creature depends on the existence of another. The effects are currently most felt by creatures living in Arctic regions where the freezing temperature is necessary for them to survive and people living in third world countries who cannot afford to meet the demands of global warming effects to their respective economies.
Global warming is real and its effects would not just be felt in the Arctic regions or third world African regions and the tropical countries in the Far East. It is already happening. The evidence is clear and convincing. People simply need to be educated as to how everything in the planet is inter-connected and that one hurricane in Florida will, in one way or another, affect a Sudan child in some way. Global warming, therefore, would continue to affect every country in the world, even first world countries that currently experience conveniences that third world countries don’t have just because they could still afford to pay for them. People eventually adjust to rising petroleum cost or adapt to living with the latest electronic appliance not thinking of equally increasing demands these actions are having on the atmosphere and the planet. Yet, the day could come when these conveniences would eventually become too expensive even for people in developed countries. The world should not wait until it is too late to turn back Time and repair the damage that global warming has already done to the planet.
“Americans believe global warming is real, want action, but not as a priority.” Science Daily. 23 February 2007. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007 /02/070218140838.htm>.
“Evidence of Global Warming.” EcoBridge. 30 November 2007. <http://www.ecobridge.org/ content/g_dgr.htm>.
“Issues: Global Warming.” Natural Resources Defense Council. 21 September 2007. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/>.
Samuelson, Robert J. “Global Warming’s Real Inconvenient Truth.” washingtonpost.com. 5 July 2006. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpyn/content /article/2006/07/04/ AR2006070400789.html>