Activism: You can’t cover climate change in a single zine article. Some claim global warming is a myth. Others claim we’re causing climate change through human activity. Either way, what can we do about it? Answer: Research. And think global, act local.
It’s hard to believe that An Inconvenient Truth was only released in 2006. In four years, the popular opinion on global warming has gone from skeptic, or just uninformed, to horrifed by rumors of impending apocalyptic doom, to eco-friendly, with cute, reusuable ‘Go Green!’ totebags. And now what? Well, people are still carrying their totebags, but the overall fevor seems to have dissipated. The global warming affair has cooled down – in more ways than one.
Record snowfall across the East Coast of the United States as well as in the United Kingdom and continental Europe led many to laugh at the idea of global warming as they tried to shovel out of their homes. Proponents of the global warming phenomena claim that this harsh winter was actually more evidence in support of – as is now the preferred term – climate change. Hot air causes greater evaporation because it has a greater capacity for moisture than cold air. When temperatures drop below freezing, this moisture falls from the sky as snow. However, some meterologists attribute the snowstorms to the El Nino phenomenon, which reverses south Pacific air and ocean currents.
Still, the global scientific community is largely in agreement over climate change. In January of 2001, the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], established by the United Nations, issued this statement:
An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system… There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.
While some organizations currently hold non-commital positions, as of 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing is known to maintain a dissenting opinion. Certain individual scientists have expressed dissent, claiming that climate change does not exist, the IPCC’s climate change projections were inaccurate, climate change will not have a significant negative effect, the causes of climate change is unknown or climate change is mainly caused by natural processes.
Tad Murty, oceanographer and adjunct professor of the Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa is quoted as saying that global warming “is the biggest scientific hoax being perpetrated on humanity. There is no global warming due to human anthropogenic activities. The atmosphere hasn’t changed much in 280 million years, and there have always been cycles of warming and cooling. The Cretaceous period was the warmest on earth. You could have grown tomatoes at the North Pole.”
The theory that climate change is a myth fabricated by the scientific community for their own personal gain is an issue that can’t be resolved in a single zine article. But perhaps us humans are a bit egocentric and arrogant to assume responsibilty for climate change. Even if this is so, it doesn’t solve the problem of what to do about it.
Should we just accept that temperatures change? The 2009 – 2010 winter may not have been directly caused by climate change, but it certainly has modelled the sort of situations that could be occuring in the not-so-distant future. Snowfall disrupted economic and govermental activity; winter vegetables such as potatoes and cauliflower have been threatened, and the harvesting of carrots, turnips and beets has been delayed. Not taking action – to stop or reverse climate trends, or to adapt to the changes – will mean there won’t be anyone to grow tomatoes in the North Pole.
This was the issue on the table when governments included in the United Nations met in Copenhagen December 2009. The results of the conference were generally seen as disappointing as no binding agreement was reached. Much action, largely concerning cutting carbon-dioxide emissions, was proposed with a goal-date of 2020, and further discussions will take place from 29 November 2010 to 10 December 2010 in Cancun, Mexico.
Regardless of what our governments decide to do, there is much we can do as individuals. Only a few of the many viewpoints concerning climate change have been expressed through this article. Research climate change and formulate your own opinions. Climate change aside, riding a bike as opposed to driving a car, recycling and growing your own foods or buying locally-grown things are still very beneficial to the enviroment and ourselves. Think global, act local.
These ‘shock and awe’ ads of models looking sleek in a flooded cityscape and desertified China are so pretty, oh so pretty… vacant. Diesel, go away and come back when you’ve grown up a bit.