Between volcanoes in Iceland, gassy permafrost in Greenland, earthquakes in Tennessee, and chunks of Alaska falling into the ocean, it’s sometimes hard to understand how people could continue to deny that climate change is a reality.
I know, I know- their main argument is that this is all natural- that humans are simply noticing the temperature changes the Earth has been going through for millennia, and will continue to go through, regardless of our presence on its surface.
The only problem with that avoidance argument is it fails to account for the dramatic temperature fluctuations that have taken place since the Industrial Revolution and why all 15 of the warmest years on record have come in the two decades that have passed since 1989.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from an op-ed Dr. Peter Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle:
Those who deny that humans are causing unprecedented climate change have never, ever produced an alternative scientific argument that comes close to explaining the evidence we see around the world that the climate is changing.
Deniers don’t like the idea of climate change, they don’t believe it is possible for humans to change the climate, they don’t like the implications of climate change, they don’t like the things we might have to do to address it, or they just don’t like government or science. But they have no alternative scientific explanation that works.
If we examined the whole global warming, human-caused-climate-change issue as a game of chance, it might be easier for climate deniers to see that fighting against this scientific theory is pointless, on several levels.
The Climate Activist wagers that humans are exacerbating, if not causing climate change and are responsible for its negative side effects. As a result, he or she will make radical life changes to reduce their personal and professional contribution to the emissions which are enveloping this planet.
The risk? Even if the environmentalists are wrong, and the Earth somehow reverses the skyrocketing teperature change, melting ice caps, and acidic oceans on its own, losing this “bet” will only mean that the air above our cities is a little less polluted, families save thousands of dollars on energy, people rediscover local artisans, retailers, and farmers, and the next generation inherits a cleaner, healthier planet.
The Climate Change Denier wagers that human-caused climate change is a hoax worked up by quack scientists and liberal politicians who just want to turn their children into hippies and sell more solar panels. As a result, he or she will continue to use energy, create waste, and buy big pollution-belching cars that have televisions and refrigerators between the seats.
The risk? If the climate deniers are wrong, the Earth will continue to heat up, choking on a thick blanket of greenhouse gases that will slowly melt the permafrost releasing more toxic gases into the atmosphere. Animal species will try to migrate and then die off when they can’t find suitable habitat, food and water. Losing this bet will mean the next generation will inherit a dying planet plagued by conflict over energy and space for millions of climate refugees.
Which bet are you willing to take?
This Earth Day, it’s time to accept the fact that denying the human involvement in climate change is too much of a gamble.
Here are some ways that you can start to address and reduce your own climate-changing emissions, and begin working for a healthier future TODAY, instead of waiting for the politicians, scientists and energy companies to make up their minds about which stance will benefit them the most.
If you’re already doing a lot of these things and want to make even bigger changes, check out Natural Papa’s list of “Radical Changes to Make Every Day Earth Day.”
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Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - NDstrupler
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