Are we killing our home?

Humans are great at disagreeing. No matter what the topic is there will always be opposing sides.  We do not agree how the world started; was it created by the big man himself or through an explosion of an extremely small, hot and dense body of matter? We could argue this point until we’re blue in the face. Therefore it shouldn’t come to much surprise that we also do not agree on how the world will (if it actually does that is – another controversial argument) end.

The Earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago. It survived all the torturous elements that Mother Nature could throw her way; from meteorites to glaciers. It is no wonder that our planet is beginning to feel the strain now.

Some people will argue though that her deteriorating state is due to the human race. Surely this cannot be justifiable though? Science says that recognizable humans have been on Earth for about 2.2 million years and only about 250,000 years for Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens were only just discovering tools during their time, so surely humans can’t have developed fast enough to now be blamed for helping to destroy the Earth?

Many people believe this to be exactly true though. The speed at which the human race has developed has been incredible. There are now over seven billion people in the world and so it’s hardly surprising that they are making a footprint. A very large footprint many would argue. So large that it has earned the right to have its very own label: global warming, and that’s just what it is. Scientists have been observing over the past century the increase in temperature of the Earth. It may not sound like much but the temperature of the Earth’s surface has increased by three quarters of a degree Celsius over the last century. Joe Gawne on Facebook commented saying: “ice records are their worst this year than ever before!”

This has been enough to cause havoc amongst environmentalist across the world. Snow cover and glaciers have been retreating, sea levels have been rising, longer growing seasons have been occurring and animals have been shifting and changing their normal, healthy patters. As Facebooker, Ryan Stewart, said: “No need to believe in Global warming, it is a scientific fact!” So despite how much we love to disagree, we can’t on this issue. There is no ignoring the fact that the world’s climate is changing.

What we do strongly disagree on is why this is happening. The majority of scientists believe that human activity causes billions of tones of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere. What is dangerous about these gases is that they capture heat that would otherwise escape into space. The greenhouse gases are acting like an invisible blanket. Temperatures are rising and the consequences are evident. Twitterer, Heidi Schwende, commented regarding the gas levels: “@HSchwende: Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Reach New Record… Anyone listening? Why are we still stuck in apathy? #climatechange.”

For many it may be easy to be ignorant or to turn a blind eye to the problems at the Poles but it would sure take a very special talent to have been completely oblivious to what happened predominantly in North-eastern America last month. The largest Atlantic hurricane on record devastated portions of the Caribbean and the Mid-Atlantic and North-eastern United States. Its name was Sandy and Twitterer Maria Eugenia Rinaudo said: “‏@OoClimateChange: Superstorm Sandy shows climate change isn’t science fiction.”

The growing concern towards global warming is heightened at this time of year. Next Monday there is to be the annual meeting of the international climate negotiations that take place in Doha. Key countries including the UK, USA, India, China and Italy will attend. Significantly, Hurricane Sandy will be a major talking point, as a coalition of the world’s biggest investment-fund managers made an unprecedented call for the British Government to start addressing the dangers of climate change. Chris Davis, who is a member of the alliance, said: “Hurricane Sandy, which caused more than $50bn (£31bn) in economic losses, is typical of what we can expect if no action is taken and warming trends continue.”

Let us give humans a chance though. Many people strongly disagree with this point that humans are responsible for global warming. Robyn Baillie on Facebook commented saying: “It’s the Earth’s natural progression.” This is the most popular argument against the accusation. Like stated earlier, the planet Earth has experienced all the elements. It was only 10,000 years ago that Earth had to endure the last ice age. In terms of the age of a planet, that is barley a couple of seconds on the clock, so it stands to reason that the planet is gradually warming to where it’s natural temperature should be.

There is actually only one way to prove that humans are responsible. That is achieved through an experiment with two identical planet Earths – one with human influence and one without. This clearly is not possible and so that is why most scientists are careful not to state human influence as an absolute certainty.

Whether global warming is caused by human activity or is just part of the Earths evolving cycle, more and more people are getting worried about the future. Long-term global efforts to create a more healthy, prosperous and sustainable world may be severely hindered by changes in the climate. Anthony Hobley tweeted: “‏@arhobley: #Climatechange: Five years ago we feared the worst. But it’s looking even worse than that.”

The concern regarding the future of our home planet is probably one of the only times that we, as humans, will agree.

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