Science behind Climate Change is NOT the issue. It’s the Future, Stupid.

December 1, 2009

As a relatively young person—one who hopefully has at least another 60 to 65 years on this planet—I constantly find myself both astounded and horrified by older individuals who claim that the science behind global warming and climate change is “debatable,” that “there is no real consensus,” or that “scientists are divided over the issue” and because of that we have no responsibility to change our policies to better protect our planet. Wrong.

 

First of all, let’s get our facts straight; scientists aren’t divided. Most scientists (or at least most published scientists that have degrees in climate related fields from universities that aren’t the equivalent of Jiffy-PhD) believe that there is overwhelming evidence to support the idea that global climate change has a distinctly human cause. Putting this aside, however, we are still confronted with the reality of the changes occurring on our planet. Even if climate change is not man-made (which it is), California IS burning every year. Hurricanes ARE striking with greater frequency and fiercer intensity. A giant pool of garbage twice the size of Texas DOES exist in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Sea levels ARE rising. Regardless of whether or not one believes that climate change is man made, surely no one can dispute the need to deal with these factual problems.

 

Regrettably though, almost all of the debate about what to do about climate change centers around whether or not evidence supports the fact that it is man-made. In the long run, what does it matter if it is or not? Either way, we have to live on this world, because it is the only one we have. Because of that, we should be aggressively seeking to curb pollutive emissions, if only so that people in Los Angeles can breathe. We should seek to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch so that sea life doesn’t have to deal with all the junk that we decide to toss out. We should create stronger monitoring and safety regulations to prevent wildfires from ravaging California’s national forests every year. We should form a plan of action to combat sea level rise and coastal erosion. We should reorganize our disaster relief efforts to recognize and deal with the increasing amount of damaging weather we face.

 

So here’s a message to the Glenn Becks and the Jim Inhofes of the world, or anyone else who would stand in the way of real action because they do not believe that global warming is man made. I don’t care what you believe. I’m not asking for your opinion on the issue. I’m asking that you care about the realities of the world we live in now, and to imagine the one that will exist in 50 years if we do not wise up. Even if you don’t believe the overwhelming majority of credible scientists who say that we are causing devastating and possibly irreversible effects on our planet, surely you can see the need to protect our shores against possible sea level rise, the need to reduce all forms of air pollution so our children can breathe, the need to cease throwing tons of garbage into our oceans so that sea-life can thrive, and the need to preserve our world so that 50 years from now, when I am in your position, I actually have a planet to live in. Please, stop getting hung up on the issue of what the science says and think about the real-world events that are imperiling our planet every day that we do nothing to abate or prevent them.

 

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