Changes in our climate are evident to the majority of today’s society. Scientific evidence shows sea levels are rising, global temperatures are rising, oceans are warming, and ice sheets are shrinking. Put simply, the earth is warming.
Despite this, some still wonder where humans fit into the picture. Do fossil fuels and carbon emissions damage the ecosystem throwing off the earth’s natural balance? Or, will the environment warm to a point and then naturally cool back down as it has for so many years? Regardless, will humans be able to survive? In the grand scheme of things, all we can really do is speculate, but if we are going to wonder, we might as well take a look at the statistics available in order to make a well-informed decision.
On a surface level, many individuals have come to accept global warming not just as happening, but rather as a direct consequence of man-made events. People are burning more and more fossil fuels, and data correlates increasing temperatures directly to the increased use of fossil fuels by humans. Because of this correlation, the EPA and many other prominent institutions suggest we are experiencing man-made global warming.
In response to the increasing changes in our environment, the EPA call everyone to become caretakers of earth. They ask people to cut back on driving whenever possible, reduce the amount of waste they produce, and turn off lights to save energy. On an individual level, it may not seem to do much, but on a massive scale these steps will result in a real difference, leading to a healthier future.
At least, that is what the EPA seem to suggest.
The big issue with the Global Warming belief is there is evidence to support climate change has been happening since the dawn of life on earth. The National Center for Atmospheric Research & the UCAR Office of Programs gives a brief but pointed example to support this theory. Over time, the earth goes through periods of cooling and warming, which leads to constant changes in temperature. So if you accept the idea humans can affect these trends, exactly how much difference do they make?
There is a definite weakness in the assumption there is human-caused warming and it starts with the ego-driven mind. On a planet existing for around 4.5 billion years, which has survived multiple ice ages and “greenhouse” periods, are humans really capable of affecting the cycle? Or, is it more likely we are just along for the ride, grasping at straws and hoping to make a difference because our ego tells us we can?
Naturally, those who believe in man-made warming find this proposition to be ridiculous. After all, the chart shows temperatures have risen, so it must mean humans caused it. Well, not exactly. If you go back to basic statistics, you understand correlation does not mean causation. There could be a lurking variable impacting the results. In other words, something unmeasured -perhaps the natural order that caused the other ice ages and warming periods- could alter the data.
Aside from this, others go as far as suggesting the data used to support global warming is completely fabricated. After all, who is creating the data?
Either way, are humans really ready to be caretakers of earth? The only thing an individual can really do is to go about his/her business and hope for the best. Be responsible in your daily activities; try to use less electricity, walk or bike to work to save on vehicle emissions, and recycle when the option is available. Hopefully the Earth will survive. Whether or not humans do may be another issue entirely.
Do you believe global warming is caused by man, or do you think it is just part of the natural cycle? What actions do you take to be a good caretaker of your environment?