I live near Tomball, Texas (30 miles NW of Houston), and will write about whatever comes to mind. You've been warned.
By: jeffs713, 5:55 PM GMT on November 24, 2010
Global Warming (GW) - It’s a common buzzword of many scientists, economists, political pundits, weather fanatics, and leaders of industry. Get 10 people in a room, ask them to talk about global warming, and you will get 200 opinions. So what theory is right? What theory is wrong? Why does everyone get so bent out of shape?
Everyone gets bent out of shape because they want to be right. They want to show everyone that they are right. The stakes are HUGE, and the most supported opinion gains the most. But what really is right?
Honestly, there really isn't a single right answer. Could GW be manmade? Sure. Could it be a natural cycle? Sure. Can you prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, either side? Absolutely not. I can throw CO2 measurements at you all day. I can throw historical temperature data at you. I can throw climate data made with scientific measurements at you for the past 100 million years at you. Does that prove anything? Not really. All it proves is that you are capable of research, and compiling data.
Trying to "prove" GW is manmade or a natural cycle like trying to "prove" that there are aliens, that everything in the Bible is real, or that the guy 3 cars ahead of me on the way home from work is thinking about the metaphysical significance of the ankh.
Now that I have basically said that the entire debate about GW is mental time-wasting, up comes a new question...
"So, if debating the cause of GW is pointless, what is the key to help make sure my children, and their children, have a planet to live on?"
Right now, the human race does not live sustainably. We live WAY outside our means. We take, take, take, and never give back. When we do give back, we don't give anything near what we take. Here are some examples:
-> We take oil from the ground, refine it, and either burn it or turn it into other products (like plastics). Then, we don't recycle much of that plastic, and don't do much in the way of returning the burnt oil (aka carbon) back to the earth. (by the way, life on earth is carbon-based... "returning the oil back to the earth" can be as simple as planting trees.)
-> We cut down trees to make frames for our houses, paper for our offices, and packing material for all of the goodies we get from amazon.com. But we cut down many more trees than we replant. And we don't recycle most of that paper and wood material.
-> We mine ore from the earth, refine it into usable metal, dump the "waste" back into the earth, and then don't recycle that metal when it is no longer useful. We just throw it away, and mine more metal.
-> We fish heavily in an effort to feed our rapidly exploding population, and then wonder why certain species are becoming harder and harder to find, and why food is getting so darn expensive.
-> We pollute our water, soil, and air... and then wonder why cancer rates are skyrocketing, poisons are prevalent everywhere, and we have to take a "vacation" to see nature.
So… what can we do?
1. Conserve our natural resources. This doesn’t mean start living like a Neanderthal (so stop thinking like one). This means doing things like converting all of your light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs. Getting energy-efficient appliances. Buying a more economical vehicle (do you really need that truck that gets 10mpg?). That kind of thing. It isn’t hard, not terribly expensive (efficiency pays for itself), AND it helps support our economy.
2. Reuse. Those plastic bags you get with your groceries? They make great lunch bags if you have a fridge at work, and also make good trash bags in small trash cans at home. Lots of things you would normally throw away can be used for other purposes around the house (used coffee grounds make great fertilizer)
3. Recycle. Paper, plastic, and metal are all very recyclable materials. Not to mention, recycling them can sometimes be more energy efficient than creating a new item. Many neighborhoods have recycling programs at no charge, and some places will pay for recyclable materials (especially metal)
4. Encourage others to do the same. It is amazing what a little peer pressure can do.
Long story short, with a little bit of effort, a little bit of thought, and a lot less political grandstanding, we can become more sustainable, have a healthier economy, and most importantly, have a healthier planet. I’m not sure about you, but I want a safe and healthy place for my children, and their children to live.
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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.