September 14, 2011

We must act quickly to counteract global warming

By Anna Meany–

Events like Hurricane Katrina and Irene, heat waves across the globe, drought and the recent freak weather events are not at all accidental, random or surprising. Climate change and hundred years of research is practically handing a sheet of paper to the public that reads ‘watch out.’

I should point out that this article won’t be attempting to convince its readers that global warming exists. It’s 2011 and science has proven, to those that will listen, that the warming of our atmosphere is due to both human activities and the earth’s natural processes.

The pessimist in me wants to shrug off global warming because it seems like there’s nothing affecting me yet. Kentucky isn’t coastal, we’ve had little flood problems and there’s little threat of forest fires; however, fall is approaching, which will bring tornadoes and severe storms. Is there anything we can do?

I read an article attributing the 2005 Asian tsunami disaster to global warming. Six years ago, media made known the dangers of carbon emissions in relation to weather. It raises the question of whether we could have avoided these weather disasters. If we had acted the second we started questioning human behavior, would the catastrophic weather patterns have been prevented or changed? Or, should we allow Mother Nature to repair herself the way she intends?

It’s assumed by many that the damage has been done; attempts at conserving energy now are a waste of time and not progressive. Their belief is that the warming of the planet will continue regardless of actions. What if we wait to see if the outcome? We’ll be slapping ourselves for not acting if the worst occurs.

We have dealt with air pollution and warmer temperatures, but the might of natural disasters is inescapable. They’re destroying our crops, infrastructure, homes and way of life. Regardless of the costs, inconveniences or lack of belief, humans must begin reducing their carbon emissions. This can be done by reducing consumption, driving less, unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use and buying locally grown foods. All of these activities use a substantially smaller amount of fossil fuels.

Global warming seems to be ignored by the media. When did you last hear Diane Sawyer reporting the glacier melting rate? Or the increasing shore line? Perhaps the news media is ignoring the ultimate cause, global warming, to avoid panic. The idea of unpredictable, uncontrollable and relentless weather patterns is frightening. Yet, we must be proactive in the fight for our planet.

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Illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

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