Many people think the way they live their life does not directly affect the changing of our planet. These people are wrong. The ‘normal’ lifestyle has been shaped and moulded by governments and global corporations in order to fuel and satisfy their greed as we continue to destroy our planet. For thousands of years humans have been able to life, working with the environment, allowing both to flourish. The same cannot be said today, we are rapidly draining our natural resources and our artificial resources are causing astonishing destruction.
Scientists have known for many years now that our current life style is destroying the planet. One of the major consequences of this lifestyle is the changing of the climate. Governments and corporations are well aware of the destruction they are causing, however they would rather damage the environment than damage their profit margins. So if they are not going to make any changes themselves, we the people, must make the change. If the developed world’s population changes its lifestyle and starts to work with nature, the governments and corporations will have no choice but to change with us, how else will they make money? First we must attempt to understand, what are we doing that is causing our climate to change?
As you can imagine the answer is not straightforward. But we will go through the major aspects. Starting with the government’s favourite, the burning of fossil fuels. An industry which has built nations and fuelled wars. When fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are burnt, they release Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, thus enhancing the greenhouse effect, changing our climate. But we didn’t know that the process would have such an effect when we started, right? Wrong. In 1896, Svante Arrhenius predicted that the emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels will lead to a warming of the earth. We have now managed to increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations by about 33% since the industrial revolution began.
The issue of burning fossil fuels, thankfully has been widely publicized. As has the ways in which we can help reduce the problem in our day to day lives. However, much more attention and effort needs to be given to developing alternative/greener sources of energy.
However, CO2 is not the most active greenhouse gas. Perhaps even more damaging is the release of methane into the atmosphere. The lack of publicity on this issue is shocking, even big conservation/environmental organisations neglect to concentrate on the issue. Why? Because the majority of their finical partners are making their profits whilst releasing tonnes of methane into the atmosphere. I am talking about agriculture and the farming of livestock.
As the world’s population has exploded so has the world’s hunger. Again, the western world’s population has been moulded into thinking that the way we live is normal, we are not carnivores. Yet the majority of people are eating meat every day. Now think, the world’s population is reaching 8 billion, if every one of these people eats meat every day, how much livestock must we produce? Methane is more abundant in the atmosphere now than at any time in the past 800,000 years, what is ‘normal’ about that? Now I’m not saying we must go vegan, just that we don’t need to eat meat every day. If everyone cut down on meat consumption, we can make a difference to our planets health and ours.
It’s important to remember that there are natural emissions of both of these gases, there are also natural sinks which absorb them. However, we are destroying the sinks at an unthinkable rate. Deforestation. So not only are we emitting copious amounts of these chemicals into the atmosphere, we are also destroying nature’s solution to the problem.
It is clear change must happen and must happen now. But we cannot wait for change to happen for us. We must be the driving force behind the change, we can do this by altering the way we live our lives. We must make the change now in order for our future generations to be able to survive and for our ecosystems to once again flourish.