Global Warming

An excerpt from the Passionate Earth: The Evolution of Our Relationship with the Natural World by John Del Signore. I will be posting new articles to this site on a regular basis.

The issue of global warming has been an ongoing concern for many years. Study after study have been examined. Scientists from around the globe have consulted with each other and the current conclusion is that it is a reality and needs no more deliberation. However, the general public has not been so inclined to believe the scientific community overwhelmingly and religious and other beliefs have eroded the urgency of the matter. Industries and businesses that are contributing to the warming often balk at current research and try to attribute other causes to the problem. Many people are still in denial or are dissociative and feel powerless to do anything about it. For whatever the reasons may be, global warming is not being addressed aggressively and is not considered urgent by enough citizens to force changes in our lifestyles that would reverse the warming trend. Perception of a difficulty drives commitment and action and often it is too little and too late.

Beyond the reality that warming is upon us, the rate at which temperatures are rising is alarming. Most of our predictions have been quite inaccurate and in the direction of less warming than anticipated. The rising temperatures in our oceans and the disappearance of glaciers are prime examples.     

Let’s look at what actually causes warming that is humanly derived and not a characteristic of natural events. We can readily accept the fact that industrial processes, fuel run vehicles, airplanes, rockets, spacecraft, electrical and fuel driven machines, heating systems, cook stoves and fire cause warming but how about anything that causes friction such as tires rolling on the road, gears turning, parts that rub or spin against each other as well as outdoor campfires, chemicals that produce heat, cigarettes, fireworks, explosives, guns, bombs, weaponry and our own warm bodies, over seven billion of us! I’m sure this is only a partial list but nevertheless, it is something we probably don’t spend much time thinking about.

We witness the increasing power and destructiveness of natural events and wonder why this is happening. We notice that animal migration behavior is changing and many species are entering new habitats. Other creatures and plant life are struggling to survive the thermal changes they are experiencing.

Global warming is tricky in that some places will become hotter and others will become cooler. Why this is so, is very complicated and includes many environmental factors such as atmospheric conditions, wind currents, ocean currents, mountain and valley air circulation, the changing conditions at the poles, how flora interact with the atmosphere and other factors we may not be aware of. The Earth is a closed system that acts within its own set of parameters that maintain a state of balance. When we interrupt this homeostasis, what will result may be complicated, perplexing and possibly even terrifying!

Reference:

Kluger, J. “Earth at the Tipping Point: Global Warming Heats Up,” Time Magazine, 26 March 2006, Accessed 31 May, 2020.

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