Global Warming: Are Humans the Cause?
This paper is being submitted September 14, 2014, for Charles Harris’s G328/EVR3410 Section 03 Human Uses of the Environment course.
In the past couple decades; global climate change has become a topic of concern by many professionals and experts. After much debate over the topic of global warming, it has been agreed that global warming does exist and is a serious danger to the Earth. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities (Oreskes, 2004). The United ...view middle of the document...
A strong contributor to global warming is due to greenhouse gases heating the Earth by not allowing heat to escape through the atmosphere. The levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 31% between 1800 and 2000, going from 280 parts per million to 367 parts per million (Wong, nd). These frightening statistics have shown that drastic changes need to be implemented by consumers and companies to reduce the chances of a global devastation.
Our materialistic economy is the source of the distress and damage to our environment. We use our natural resources to produce and sell the goods we use in our everyday lives. To get these materials we use extraction, which basically means humans cut down trees, mine metal from mountains and use up or pollute all the natural waterways. We have used over one third of natural resources in the United States and we have polluted over forty percent of our natural waterways in the past three decades alone (Leonard, “The Story of Stuff” video). Even though mankind claims five percent of the world population we use thirty percent of the world’s resources, which means we are creating thirty percent of the world’s waste. Unfortunately, instead of finding solutions to preserve our natural resources and protect the planet, we head to other countries and take their natural resources, extending the damage to the planet and the environment. In the amazon alone, we cut down around 2,000 trees a minute, and eighty percent of the world’s original forest have been destroyed (Leonard, The story of Stuff, video). But it is not just our abuse to the natural resources that have damaged our environment but the toxic chemicals we use to produce the products we consume. There are over a hundred thousand chemicals used to create products today and only a handful of those chemicals have been tested for health impacts but none of them have been tested for their interaction with other chemicals in the environment, all we know as an economy is “toxins in and toxins out” (Leonard, “The Story of Stuff” video). These chemicals are on all of the products we consume, we bring them into our homes, and we unknowingly consume them into our bodies. Our constant use of toxic chemicals not only affects the health of the human population, but it also affects the environment. With the creating of the products come byproducts. Byproducts are what we know as, pollution. The United States alone, releases four billion pounds of toxic chemicals a year and our solution to keeping those byproducts out of the United States was to move them overseas (Leonard, “The Story of Stuff” video). However, those chemicals travel right back our way through the air. Our constant creating of byproducts pollutes the entire planet, and damages the environment. These damages cause harsh changes in climate such as cause stronger hurricanes. Unfortunately, we cannot reverse the affects but we can slow them down by adopting solutions like renewable energy and...