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Joseph Kaminski

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December 11, 2017

The Chronicles of Climate Change: Humans Hurt the Earth


It’s simple, people: humans hurt the Earth and climate change is real.

We live in a rather destruction period of humanity. We are currently witnessing massive changes in global and regional climate patterns, and we’ve been ignoring it since the mid-20th century despite accumulating amounts of evidence and statistics that should severely shock us.

We have holes ripping into the O-Zone layer, which protects us from harmful UV sun rays, right above our Arctic and Antarctic regions – causing meltdowns which lead to higher water levels and crises revolving around entire animal groups.

We have evidence of steadily rising temperatures that have led to poisonous smog and inhabitable heat waves.

We’ve even uncovered that gas and oil moguls have been literally lying to us in self-funded studies in order to continue production at low costs.

Yet we still have climate change deniers. We have people that ignore global warming. We still have people that are so conservatively based that they refuse to look at scientific statistics in favor of listening to capitalistic frontiers and evangelical words from millenniums ago.

For those of you that have been following me for a while, you know I don’t usually talk about this subject. I’m a historian that focuses mostly on social issues – the collaboration of consensus and conflict among cultural groups. I’m focused on the political issues, from Presidential problems all the way to revolutions and rebellions that make up our concept of change in our society.

I don’t usually open my mouth on the topic of climate change or global warming or any of the environmental topics that keep humanity trucking along to keep alive. But, after years of hearing media lies and conservative special interest groups and idiotic online posts that completely contradict themselves, I feel like I need to express my personal concern for the path of humanity through this, on why we can’t deny that humanity is an overwhelmingly massive problem in the scheme of environmental problems.

Before I begin expressing modern day concern, I’d like to talk about some of the environmental history behind where we stand today. I see no reason for deniers to dare claim many of the unfathomably misinformed theories that they show debate after debate. It’s not hard to witness the scientific and historical evidence we have towards the topic of climate change or global warming or any of these environmental problems.

The Industrial Revolution, from the perspective of a historian that loves progress and social construct, was a wonderful period of economic and technological expansion. However, to a historian that focuses primarily on the aspects of the environment and the cost-to-benefits that we as humans depend upon to survive as a species, it’s easy to see that our progress led to a negative impact on the Earth we live on.

With new technologies to make life easier and new medicines to keep us healthy, the world saw a major increase in population. These new life standards and living arrangements allowed for humanity to thrive, allowing an agricultural revolution and increasing amount of living people to lead us to a population boom. More people obviously leads to an increase in an economic ecosystem, but the ecosystem of our environment happens to suffer in the progress.

climate change nasa

Humans are entirely helpless when it comes to controlling the weather, but humans are certainly capable of changing the world’s climate through activity concerning nonrenewable resources and CO2 levels. Climate change and global warming are heavily influenced by us and our progress. Picture (c) NASA.

The depletion of natural resources – from timber and clean water to iron ore and copper ore – is an immediate reaction between a lack of population control and the increasing social constructs within our now interconnecting world.

This industrial revolution led us down a dangerous path on all fronts:

One of capitalism, eventually dragging entire societies into a trickle-down trust system of economics and politics. One of technology, eventually leading to the development of fantastic devices that make our day to day lives so much easier. One of communication, a double edged sword of railroads which led to transcontinental methods of transportation and eventually hand-held smartphones that act as a window in our private lives. One of environmental tragedy, undoubtedly the most horrendous path of all, which poises a terrible threat – one that could end humanity in one fowl swoop if we continue the pace at which we’re speeding towards.

The relationship between humans – members of the animal kingdom and perhaps the most intellectual creatures of them all – and the environment in which humans live in was forever changed after this industrial revolution.

A mixture of development in humanity, public health and medications, energy usage with the burning of fossil fuels and Rockefeller techniques of earth-less capitalism all came together to permanently severe our connection with the globe we stand upon. We managed to give up our sense of self while also lengthening the average life span with new health codes and a new acute sense of sanitation.

Manual labor was replaced with machinery, making fossil fuels the new soul of humanity’s development. Why would we ever harness the true capabilities of Earth – wind, water, and other natural renewable resources that could technically be harnessed for free – when we can watch the machine whirl away and awe at the effectiveness of our progress? While the social situation of society tends to be viewed positively after this time period, it’s a sad day when a majority of our modern world ignores the fate that it provided.

Let’s fast forward to 1952, much closer to our modern day conception of “environmental history” to the general public (of course, I’m not an expert in environmental catastrophes or the actual history of hazards placed within the environment).

The Great Smog of 1952, also known as the Big Smoke, was a horrific and severe environmental problem that affected London from the 5th to the 9th of December in the year aforementioned. Cold weather mixed with an anticyclone and a lack of wind, allowing airborne pollutants caused by the use of coal – a nonrenewable resource – to layer across the capital of Great Britain.

This is just one “smog event” experienced within London over the years since the industrial revolution. Medical reports funded by the government estimate at least 4,000 deaths and 100,000 reported illnesses before the end of The Great Smog, which cleared up after the wind came back. Recent research examines these numbers, declaring the fatalities were more likely closer to 12,000 rather than 4,000. While just considered another “pea-souper” of a tragedy during the time, we look back at it as the single worst air-pollution event in the entire history of the United Kingdom.

Its effect on environmental concern, public awareness, and government regulation within the United Kingdom is remarkable. By 1956, the UK managed to turn around and create a new change in regulatory practices – the Clean Air Act. Eventually, under Richard Nixon a couple of decades later, the United States followed suit.

How can anyone claim that humanity doesn’t affect the stability of our planet? I get it – this isn’t climate change – this is a horrendous act of pollution. But when there is literally a thick, impenetrable cloud of polluted smog hovering within our air…doesn’t anyone with a brain suddenly question the god damned weather and temperature?

Humanity literally has such an ego that we begin questioning whether or not the safety of our planet – the only one we have – is based solely on the foundation of a cycle rather than what we pump into our atmosphere and into our water!

And guess what? The more we pump in, the more problems we have!

Temperature changes have been varying across the globe since before mankind. We have set trends. We have trends that seem to be used against the overall safety of our planet and ourselves as a species. But, the trends are showing some pretty scary details. Since 1979, land temperatures have increased twice as fast as ocean temperatures.

FIFTEEN of the top 16 warmest years have occurred since the year 2000, when environmentalist Al Gore lost to the trained chimp in a suit “compassionate conservative” George W. Bush. You’d think society would brighten up and stop leaving decisions in the hands of people that dare question scientific logic and the obvious problems hovering over us. Why would anyone look directly at a brick wall and claim that not only does the brick wall not exist, but that it’s made of wood instead. Oh, but don’t take their word for it, because they’re “not a scientist”.

I currently live in Florida as a blue dot in a red sea. I have a governor, Rick Scott, who has openly denied climate change with the previous excuse. Just because you’re “not a scientist” doesn’t mean you can’t see common sense in front of you. Rick Scott isn’t a scientist, and that’s easy to notice.

But there’s something that he is: a capitalistic crony that puts business above humanity’s safety. He sold out our prisons to private companies known to use sugar instead of antibiotics as women give birth (but don’t worry, he said it’s fine because he’s generating a profit of 7%!). He’s not willing to admit to anything unless it generates him a buck. It doesn’t matter that he’s the executive of a state literally surrounded by fucking water, he refuses to identify the problems of rising sea levels, changing temperatures and polluting sources on both air and sea.

Wow, it’s snowing outside. It’s freezing! Where’s that global warming everyone’s talking about? Wow, I ate today. I’m full! Where’s that world hunger and starvation everyone’s talking about? Wow, I got paid today. I’m rich! Where’s that poverty everyone’s talking about? Wow, I got a job today. I’m employed! Where’s that unemployment line everyone’s talking about?

And that’s the problem with these skeptics. It’s ignorance. They let external reasoning and internal ignorance bother their sense of danger and their judgement of what is right and what is wrong.

Why worry about issues when you can re-post a Facebook meme that shows a graph of temperature “averages” flat-lining despite the numbers rising as data? Why worry about the next generation when you’re most likely not going to live to witness the fruition of disaster? Why agree with an overwhelming percentage of scientists when you can follow brain dead politicians that have oil company money literally dripping from their pockets?

We’ve had progress, though. Many government regulations and organizations have been birthed in an attempt to prevent unsustainable damage. We recently had the Paris Climate Change Summit, where the UN and many of the world leaders came together to agree on the foundational problems behind humanity’s involvement in the issue. Our President, however, was unable to sign any meaningful act to my knowledge…as the Republican base housed within our Congress would have shot it down within a moment.

When the last tree has been cut down because of deforestation;

when the last river has been polluted by fossil fuel resources being drained into our basins and oceans;

when the last edible fish has been taken out of its natural home due to over-fishing;

when the sun finds itself unable to reach the Earth because of the massive smog caused by nonrenewable energy;

when the oceans rise and destroy all of mankind’s achievements by reshaping the geographical coastlines that we call home;

when all the bees die because of harmful pesticides and our world becomes unable to pollenate the amount of food necessary to sustain life itself;

when the temperatures skyrocket to all-time highs and so many of these problems finally come knocking on the doors of first world societies.

That’s when the skeptics will realize that they’ve been wrong this entire time. That’s when the cronies like Rick Scott will realize that money can’t cloud the eyes of judgement. That’s when we’ll start to come to a complete and total social consensus that humanity is at fault for all the environmental problems that have been haunting us and only growing with age. That’s when we’ll fully realize the dangers behind climate change and global warming and environmental destruction.

And that’s when it’ll be too late.

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