Monday, August 3, 2009

The Fight Against a Common Enemy

(Winner of High School Group, Teen Essay Contest 2009)
by Edward Chan

Are people’s actions and lifestyles leading up to their own destruction along with Earth’s? Yes, Earth is on a collision course for destruction along with humans. The climate of earth is changing drastically and must be stopped before it leads to the end of Earth and its species. According to "Global Warming: The signs and The Science" by National Geographic, Earth’s atmosphere contains a gas called the ozone layer. As the sun heats the Earth, energy is received. Earth emits energy back out, but the ozone layer traps some of this heat. Overtime, humans give off more and more emissions called green house gases, which add to the ozone layer. This thickens the ozone layer, thus trapping more heat than usual. There is evidence that Earth’s temperatures are rising according to There are “disappearances of sea ice and ice packs, higher temperatures, melting ice caps, and climate changes.”(National Geographic) Earth’s temperature increases as a result, which pose catastrophic changes for Earth’s species’ way of life. The increases in temperature endanger Earth’s organisms. It causes catastrophes, such as floods, stronger storms and tornadoes, drought, loss of land and agriculture, disease, and rising sea levels.(National Geographic) Storms and tornadoes are stronger and occur more often, thus killing more people and leaving many homeless. Rising sea levels also flood land and cause land to disappear, which destroys many homes and kills people. More droughts occur and cause deaths and ailments, such as heat stroke. Agricultural land is also lost due to changing climates. In order to save Earth and its species, several actions must be taken. People need to find a strong leader, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and control the population. If nothing is done to solve this problem and is ignored, then Earth’s destruction is eminent. Action must be taken now or Earth and its species are bound to annihilation.
Lifestyles today, contribute greatly toward global warming. The immediate culprits for creating global warming are transportation, energy use, and industrial/agricultural. Thirty-three percent of carbon emissions come from transportation, while 33% results from industry and agriculture and 33% from energy usage. (National Geographic) Transportation involves the use of fuel and automobiles. People constantly burn fuel by using automobiles. These automobiles, in return for convenience, release carbon emissions. Energy usage is the energy that people use to power their everyday lifestyle, which releases carbon. In order to get energy, fossil fuels, such as coal, are used. Nuclear plants constantly give off carbon as a waste product to gain the energy.
Also, agriculture and industry harms the environment by contributing to global warming by energy usage. Both use machines, which run on energy. All the excess carbon, which creates global warming, creates higher temperatures. Not only do these carbon emissions change temperatures, but it also causes illnesses. (National Geographic) As the future generations grow up down the block from a factory or a farm with massive machines, it becomes a part of their lives. As the one grows up seeing it everyday, the idea that it is normal comes to mind. And as one becomes sick, he/she doesn’t necessarily point figures directly at these massive machinery using industries. Instead, the blame is wrongfully put upon something else because people cannot detect the culprit as the disappearing emissions, which these industries release on a daily basis. People become blind as one usually blames a disturbance in his/her environment or lifestyle as a culprit of an illness.
Studies from scientists illustrate that with warmer temperatures Earth’s naturally occurring process of El Nino, which is the wind and water system in which warmer bodies of water is pushed by trade winds towards the colder bodies of water to mix together. (National Geographic) Trade winds are the winds that help move these masses of water. Due to warmer temperatures, these winds don’t move in the same patterns and actually become weaker. They don’t push the warmer water away from the equator towards the cooler bodies of water to mix. The water actually ends up staying in place and/or moving back to where it originates from, thus causing climate changes. These changes cause stronger and more frequent natural disasters, such as storms, tornadoes, and drought. It also causes illnesses, rising sea levels, loss of agriculture, floods, and more diseases. All these effects people and can all lead to death.
People have stood by far too long in denial and must face global warming as a problem and isn’t just a myth. Usually, people point the fingers at each other for multiple reasons, such as over consumption, capitalism from companies, population, and denial. People blame companies as well because they are seen as the leaders to our problem. Companies are often thought of as produces and manufacturers who run factories, which emit tons of carbon into our atmosphere.
To battle global warming, scientists have so far addressed it as an issue and are trying to spread awareness of its magnitude of importance. Overtime, people have tried to come up with solutions and/or built careers around going green, which means to concentrate or something that helps the environment. Different solutions that people have came up with are using greener technology to reduce carbon emissions, managing resources, reducing consumption, and finding a strong leader to put it all in motion.
People, such as Marvin Bush, CEO of Adura Systems from “Firm Sparks an Idea to Run China’s Buses.” are currently trying to improve our lifestyle to save our environment. Adura Systems is a company trying to use greener technology for transportation. He “developed an electric power train,” which is a battery that cars can run on instead of relying on fossil fuels. They operate with buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, which are amongst the leaders of carbon emissions from automobiles. Also, the Hybrid car is invented to reduce carbon emissions. It is a combination of burning fuel with electricity power, which helps reduce emissions.
There are other ways that support the change. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has created a website that endorses its “Spare the Air” days, which are in effect now. (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) They are basically government supported days that try to persuade people to go greener and to save energy, such as taking public transit or bike instead of going to work or places in a car. In addition to change in transportation, the idea of supporting local community farms is starting to spread. Local community farms help reduce the need to release excess emissions of carbon by having food travel from great distances to get to consumers. According to "One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future" by scientists, Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, “we must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively.”(Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich) Right now, there are things in place that are a step in the right direction, such as the use of Hybrid cars and the gradually slowing of using products that are harmful towards our environment. By reducing consumption and managing resources, the risk of depleting all of Earth’s resources is reduced.
Past solutions have failed because people suffer from denial and greed. People still don’t support or believe in some solutions because they still deny the existence and importance of global warming. Others are too busy trying to improve their own lifestyles, which is similar to capitalism. According to he Merriam-Webster Dictionary by Noah Webster, capitalism is one’s attempt to gain wealth through ownership and investment in exchanging goods or the production of goods. People don’t hesitate to destroy our environment to gain money. All they see is their desire to have more and better the own lives at the cost of the environment. Even companies control the government to do what they please even if it may not be in the best interest of the public and/or environment. And some people don’t even care. There is an old saying about how one tries to “live life to its fullest,” which means to enjoy life as much as possible before death. It is another issue because many people believe that once they die, it isn’t their problem anymore. This creates the idea of questioning the need to be conservative and to stop doing activities that may harm the environment. So instead of trying to help the future generations take on and defeat global warming, some are actually making it even tougher to solve the problem.
In order to fight global warming, people must form a group of leaders that leads everyone worldwide. This group of people consists of the most educated and more aware environmentalist and scientists, which is financially supported by nations worldwide. The job of this group is to spread awareness and to be judges over proposed solutions and decide whether or not they are beneficial or harmful in the short and long run. This group of people is the catalysts for the fight against global warming. It will help speed up the steps that are necessary and enforce it as well. Even as an individual, one plays in an important role. One’s job is to help form this group by either voting upon their successors in their nations. Afterwards, one must participate along with the rest of the world to make sure that these elected leaders do their job properly and without corruption. A major key to fighting global warming is to have strong leadership. Right now, people are beginning to think about global warming and some even try to help by suggesting their own solutions, which is a step in the right direction.
Forming a group of leaders specifically to target global warming is a reasonable solution because people have already been able to elect government leaders so why not global warming leaders? Having a group of leaders is different from previous attempts for a solution because it has not been done yet. Solutions that fix a trait, feat, or action of people have been thought of and/or created, but they haven’t really worked out so well because there is not enforcement and no one to have people do it. Although this solution may seem harsh and a bit controlling, it can help change people’s lifestyles faster to accommodate the little time that is available. Currently, our lifestyles are based upon individual ideas and rules that support the ideas of one having rights as an individual. Is it not worth it to violate these rules to save humanity? No, it is worth it because an era of change and possibly lower class lifestyles can allow Earth to live to thrive for many more years or decades, or even centuries.
There is always the bad with the good. Some difficulties that may be encountered are people who don’t agree and believe this plan can give too much power to the environmentalist and scientists, racism amongst the members of the group, no compliance from the people, and not enough financial support. People might not go along with the plan because people don’t want to be bossed around and have their lifestyles changed. Other people might not believe that it is a solution that is needed. Also, when given power, corruption is often not too far behind. The members of the group or the group entirely might become corrupt. An alternative can be just having one leader instead of a group of people to represent the entire world against global warming. This person must be strong and willed.
It is important for people to try even if difficulties are anticipated. By attempting to create a solution, a number of effects may occur. It causes others to become aware of the problem and create a sense of urgency. Also, more solutions are produced as a result from more awareness and a stronger sense of urgency. There is an old saying that it is “it is better to try than not to have tried at all.” If people don’t try, then Earth loses out on possible solutions. Everyone has their own ideas. If one doesn’t use these ideas and pose an effort, then these ideas are lost. In order to save Earth and its species, several actions must be taken. Good or bad, people must anticipate the hardships by not quitting at the first sign of trouble and planning out possible problems. People need to find a strong leader and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By accomplishing this goal, life lasts for many more years as mutualism between people and Mother Nature is balanced. If nothing is done to solve this problem and is ignored, then Earth’s destruction is eminent. Action must be taken now or Earth and its species are bound to annihilation.

Work Cited:
* Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich. One With Nineveh: Politics, consumption, and the Human Future. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004
* Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Spare the Air in the Bay Area. May 17. 511 Contra Costa, Autodesk,CCSF ,Department of the Environment, Charles Schwab, Chevron, Clif Bar, Genentech, Hacienda Park, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Pixar, Safeway, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean ,Whole Foods Market , and Yahoo!
* David Baker. “Firm Sparks an Idea to Run China’s Buses.” San Francisco Chronicle. April 2009.
* Global Warming: The Signs and Science, Dir. Michael Taylor. PBS Home Video. 2005
* Noah Webster. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Inc. 2006.

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