Humanity and Our Contributions to Climate Change

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The widely politicized term “global warming” is a misnomer when discussing the broader topic of climate change. People that seek to deny climate change and the role we play in it, use current weather patterns as an argument in favor of denying the reality of climate. The anti-climate- change stance is not only invalid, but it is dangerous. Scientists are making connections between the extreme weather patterns we have been experiencing and the warming of the earth’s atmosphere. These frigid temperatures facing much of the United States are not an argument against climate change, in reality, they confirm the theories climatologists are working with regarding the warming of the earth. Severe swings in weather patterns including the record cold temperatures and increasingly frequent robust storm systems the globe is experiencing result from the warming of the earth’s atmosphere. The scientific community believes that increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause changes in the earth’s temperatures. Scientists warn that humanity is playing a part in the warming of the planet. One of how climate change deniers skew the picture is by ignoring the extreme shifts in weather patterns that the earth experiences. While scientists investigate the reasons for the intense and frequent hurricanes we are experiencing, they are sure that the rising sea levels as a result of climate change are the leading cause of storm surges and flooding (Fund, 2017). Scientists explore the various causes of the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and one of the things they investigate is the impact human activity Earth has on the changing climate.

How We Contribute to Climate Change
Advancements in human society and the journey through the industrial revolution have left scars on our earth that if we are not careful, cannot be reversed. The most significant obstacle we face in the area of climate change is human denial. Businesses, influential people, and politicians have a vested interest in denying our role in climate change. Changes required to repair and reverse climate change would cause loss of revenue for the very businesses and industrial activities that contribute to climate change. Overcoming this denial of the real science plays a vital role in saving our existence for future generations.

Deforestation
The mass removal of trees to make use of the land and wood contributes to the warming of our atmosphere due to trees unique ability to store CO2. CO2 is the most prevalent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. The problem with deforestation is twofold. Not only do trees absorb more than 40 times the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by the fossil fuel industry, but trees release that absorbed CO2 into the atmosphere when they are cut down (Bradford, 2015). The destruction of forests for land and fuel remove our forests’ ability to absorb and store CO2. Initiatives to slow the progress of deforestation, as well as mass efforts to plant trees around the globe can help to reverse the impact that deforestation has on the changing climate.

Burning of Fossil Fuels
Oil, coal and natural gas are sources of fuel that we burn to power our cars, heat our homes and create electricity. The burning of fossil fuels impacts our environment with the release of emissions into the atmosphere including CO2.The rising atmospheric temperatures are in part a result of human activity disrupting the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle involves the process in which carbon is released, used, and stored in the atmosphere or underground. The disruption of this cycle from human activity results in additional carbon released into the atmosphere rather than being stored in the underground where it does not affect atmospheric conditions.
By relying on fossil fuels for energy, we are contributing to the disruption of the CO2 cycle and the climate changes that result from that imbalance. Putting our research and resources into innovative energy technology that does not rely on the burning of fossil fuels can help to eliminate the impact that the burning of fossil fuels has on our environment.

Aggressive farming practices
Commercial farming aims to increase productivity through aggressive farming techniques that disturb and deplete the earth’s soils. The resulting damage to our soil contributes to soil erosion. Scientists see the impact commercial agriculture has on our earth’s ability to store CO2. Normal, healthy soil stores large amounts of CO2. Restoring the earth’s soils and preventing soil erosion will positively impact the carbon cycle. Farmers worried about productivity can be educated on the advantages of land conversation practices that increase productivity while reversing the damage done to our earth soils. Tax incentives and grant programs promoting land conversation practices can benefit farmers while rebuilding our soil’s ability to retain CO2. Human activity contributes to global warming in a significant way. We are running out of time in our denial of climate change. As human activity increases CO2 stores in our atmosphere, the resulting warming of the earth will contribute to several processes of climate change which we will not be able to stop (Institute). Areas of the globe that have permanently frozen ground such as Siberia and Alaska are seeing this ground starting to thaw. As the earth warms and the tundra thaws, this causes the release of methane stores under the ground. Those methane stores will increase the speed at which our climate changes. We are at risk of entering a cycle of warming that we would no longer be able to stop with changes in human behavior. We have a limited amount of time which we can allow self-interest perpetuate the denial of climate science. We risk entering an unstoppable cycle of global warming if we allow of self-interests guide public opinion.

Works Cited

Bradford, A. (2015, March 4). Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from Live Science

Fund, E. D. (2017). Extreme Weather Gets a Boost from Climate Change. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from EDF.org

Institute, C. (n.d.). Humans and Greenhouse Effect. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from Climate.org

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