When most people agree on something there will always be a few challenging the consensus. It is a kind of unavoidable balancing act. So despite the overwhelming evidence that human activities are causing global warming, there will be skeptics questioning the science. I suggest that we change the debate. Let’s not argue about science. We may not even need the dire scientific messages about climate change to start transforming our fossil fuel based economies into sustainable renewable energy based economies. There is another, I think, far more compelling argument to shift to clean energy.
When I worked at Ode Magazine in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, I used to bike to our offices in the center of the city. Rotterdam is a big harbor city and I had to fight my way over the bike paths through the morning and evening rush hours. Biking was nice, but it was not nice to inhale all the exhaust fumes from the congested roads full of cars. Air pollution is a major problem. It kills millions of people worldwide every year fact that, as far as I know, is not much disputed.
To be honest I feel much more motivated to clean up the smog in the cities where nowadays the majority of people worldwide lives, than to battle rising sea levels that – as important as that is – is a more abstract phenomenon to me as I ride my bike through the city.
I bet that many of the global warming skeptics share my concerns about air pollution. They live in cities too. They too ride their bikes and they also would like to inhale fresh, unpolluted air. So we should change the conversation with the skeptics. We should invite them to join us to clean up our environments simply because all of us are going to enjoy the results of our efforts. And, guess what, we will halt global warming (but we don’t need to tell them that).
While we start cleaning up the air in our cities, there may be a very innovative way to combat smog right away. Australian naturalist Jay Harman has a plan to mimic the way nature regulates the atmosphere by using jet engines to create six-mile-high vortices. Sounds like science fiction? Read on about how Jay Harman proposes to mix the upper layers of the atmosphere and drive away smog in a free special edition of Ode full of such innovative and inspiring solutions.
More than half of the people on the planet, including most if not all global warming skeptics, daily deal with the threat of air pollution to their health. Shouldn’t that make it easier to come to an agreement to quickly shift to clean energy?
Global Warming is a big topic, the Climate Change Conference is a big event, and there are many points of view on both: Be sure to check out Care2′s daily coverage of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference which is taking place now at Bella Center in Copenhagen.