Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EDITORIAL: We Are Responsible For Climate Changes

By Christina Fermin
Politics & Society

This weekend the U.N. Climate Talks ended. These meetings take place every year in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions and plan ways to affect climate change. This year the effort was especially pressing because of new reports and findings that have been published regarding the state of the planet and the consequences we will face if we fail to do nothing about the manmade pollutants that become trapped in our atmosphere and trigger global warming.

Events that have already begun where in places like Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Pacific Islands are already beginning to feel how we humans have altered our planet. The talks were by no means a success, they were a baby step in the direction we need to go. With real negotiations being postponed until 2015.

Many of us, especially here in the U.S., do not really understand the dramatic consequences we will soon face as a species because of the bad choices we have made when it comes to fossil fuels, pollution, regulation and greenhouse gas emissions. The worst thing we have done as a society in the last 30 years was make climate change, a political issue which has hijacked the issue and politicized it. When it was never suppose to be an ideological debate, there has always been science behind the idea of climate change, lots and lots of science. Recently a report came out, a report funded by conservative think tanks and conservative groups and those findings were identical to the findings that have been released over the last few decades.

The report indicated that the human species is responsible for climate change, that pollutants like coal, natural gas, petroleum do produce greenhouse gas emissions that get trapped in our atmosphere and cause the planet to warm. This is not a natural cycle, and if it were we have significantly altered the natural cycle by several degrees already. Republicans are no longer denying the issue. Last Presidential election in 2008, several Republican candidates talked about curbing greenhouse gas emissions and stopping climate change for the future of our grandchildren. The bad news is, our grandchildren will not be the only ones experiencing climate change first hand, we will and our kids definitely will.

It is a general agreement from scientists around the world that if we continue consuming at the rate we consume and emit carbon emissions at the rate we are emitting them by the end of the Century the Earth will warm by 3 degrees Celsius, that is a 5.4 degree rise in Fahrenheit. If we allow this to happen the seas will be so acidic it will no longer be able to sustain life, the arctic will be fully melted, no longer act as a mirror for the sun and the ocean will absorb all of that heat causing the rainforests, Earth’s lungs, to disappear. Desertification will happen in places that border deserts and they will expand. Sea levels will rise and places like Papua New Guinea and the Maldives will no longer exist.

Seasons will change as they already have begun. Winters will become more sporadic and it will snow in places that normally don't experience snow. Blizzards will occur where they have never occurred before. Natural disasters will become more frequent and intense. Whole populations will have to move and relocate due to the extreme climate changes. Social predictions estimate over 100 million climate change refugees. Scientists agree that for the Earth to sustain our species, the Earth has to be at most 350 parts per million in carbon, today we are at 390, by the end of the Century, we are expected to hit 650 if we do nothing (and those are the conservative figures). I know things seem bleak at this point.

I write this for you, because I want you to understand that change occurs on a personal level. You must understand the dire consequences We face, change Must come from You. How can one look into the eyes of their loved ones in 20-30 years and say “I’m sorry.” The next generation will look back upon us and despise us. We have done this. This is OUR fault, we have allowed this to happen. Now is the time to take responsibility and Do Something. We must begin to alter our lifestyle or be prepared to face our doom. We must realize we live on a very special planet that took billions of years to get to the point where it was able to sustain life and it evolved to be a wondrous paradise. A paradise that took us roughly 100 years to dramatically alter.

Below I have provided several links to not only help you understand, but take part in changing for the better. Now is the time to put political pressure onto our representatives and vote for future leaders that take this seriously and will do something about it. This is our life, our planet, our future.

- Action Steps

- Understanding 350 and what you can do

- More Action and understanding

- Campaign to stop climate change

- Overview on climate change and what you can do

- Up to date news and information on climate change

- Q & A about climate change

- More in-depth how to’s

About the Columnist

With a bachelors degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University, Christina Fermin has always cultivated her love for history, politics, sociology, ancient knowledge and teachings, the outdoors, the ocean and the environment. Christina strives to make our world better by helping us all create a new reality and understanding of all taking place here and now.



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