“It is very unnerving to be proven wrong, particularly when you are really right and the person who is really wrong is proving you wrong and proving himself, wrongly, right.” – Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book
I think that we can all admit that we like to be right, right? Of course we can! See? I just did it there; I wanted to be right and assumed that I was. We humans do this all of the time. This is often compared to the famous television series Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. In various episodes, Wile E. Coyote is shown running off of a cliff, while chasing a roadrunner. The coyote comes to a halt as soon as he runs off of the cliff, and floats in mid air. The second the coyote looks down and realizes that there is no longer ground under his feet is the moment in which he falls. The Coyote doesn’t fall until he realizes that he is indeed, wrong.
Two sides of an argument that are always going at it are Democrats and Republicans. Once again, neither party wants to be wrong, and will never confess to their “opponent” that they were being wrong. Neither candidate directly said that he believes in global warming and he plans to do something about it in his term. That would probably ruin their chances of becoming president, because many people don’t believe in global warming.
Adding on to the fact of being wrong, our Environmental Writing class recently talked to Dr. Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel. She told us that there is one part of our brains that process immediate threats, like natural disasters. She says that the other part of our brain processes less immediate threats, which for some people is global warming. People don’t think of global warming as something that is dangerous, or as something that we need to worry about.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my family and I visited my grandparents in New Orleans, Louisiana, just as every year. As I have grown older, I have noticed that there are many differences between Atlanta and New Orleans. One that really sticks out in my mind is the fact that my grandparents and everyone on their entire street do not recycle. I know that I cannot blame them for this, for recycle bins are not convenient. The fact that there weren’t recycle bins was very different for me, because in some locations in Atlanta, there are recycling stations, and materials separate the bins. I am sure that New Orleans is not the only place without recycle bins everywhere, but I’m confident that there would have to be many changes made around the country, then around the world to start to lower the temperature of the place we call home; Earth.
I am sure that most people have heard of the monster storm that is pummeling the east coast as we speak. Hurricane Sandy, although classified as only a Category 1, has caused mass destruction along the east coast of the United States. Unlike most east coastal hurricanes that stay out to sea and never really hit the shoreline, Sandy is doing the exact opposite. Hurricane Sandy has also been called a “rare hybrid superstorm”, or even more cleverly nicknamed to match the Halloween spirit, “Frankenstorm.” Hurricane Sandy was created by an Arctic jet stream, formed in the north that morphed with a tropical storm formed in the south. Although New York is feeling the most of Sandy’s “wrath,” the coasts of Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and even North Carolina have experienced high winds and pummeling rains. Hurricane Sandy has not only sparked interests in the United States, but all over the world.
Many comparisons have been made between Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. Well for one, both of these hurricanes have defied odds. Hurricane Sandy is the first hurricane that has traveled upward along the east coast. Most east coastal hurricanes stay farther east, and never directly hit land, but Sandy refuses to do so. In addition, Hurricane Katrina is one of just three hurricanes that have been recorded as a category five. Hurricanes are categorized based on the speed of their winds. A hurricane is called a category five when its winds exceed one hundred fifty-five miles per hour. So if you can imagine how fast you go on the highway, and double that speed, you still won’t have the speed of a category five hurricane. I know, wow!
The question has been raised, “Is Hurricane Sandy caused by global warming?” In my opinion, asking if global warming caused Hurricane Sandy is similar to asking if hurricanes are caused by global warming. Well, hurricanes form in waters of warmer temperatures, and will occasionally hit land. So if hurricanes are created in warm waters, the water temperatures are continuing to increase due to global warming, and the number of destructive hurricanes is increasing as well, is it safe to assume that global warming causes these storms?
In my opinion, the answer to this common question is yes. Everything adds up, if hurricanes are reliant on warm waters to even exist, and global warming causes the water temperatures rise, as a result, there will be more hurricanes. I predict that over time, parts of Earth that don’t normally experience hurricanes will get them because the waters will have warmed in that area. If people can piece these facts together, they will realize that the frequency of hurricanes will increase. Many people, I feel, refuse to put two-and-two together because they don’t want to face it that there is something serious happening to our planet; our home. No one likes a hurricane, so hopefully these severe storms will send a message to those that don’t feel the importance of putting a stop to global warming that says this issue is serious and they need to do something about it.
Recently in our Environmental Writing class, we Skyped with the climate scientist for NASA, Bruce Wielicki. Dr. Wielicki told us that we don’t know if global warming directly causes Hurricane Sandy, and we are still researching. He predicts however, that in the future, we will see less small hurricanes, but larger, more devastating storms, similar to Hurricane Katrina. No one can put a date on the day when the world will end, or when something serious happens, but we can put a date on when we do something about global warming.
Have you ever finished drinking out of a water bottle and right before you were about to throw it in the trash, realized that you should recycle it? Most of us have, but in some states, people don’t even own a recycle bin. Recycling transforms objects that would otherwise be put in a garbage dump into materials that we could use in a productive way. So you would think that recycling is the ideal action and many people wouldn’t think twice about doing it, right? Well, think again.
I know that many people, including myself, were unaware that in some states, people are being paid to recycle. When your trash company comes by to pick up your trash, they weigh your trash and the more you recycle, the more “RecycleBank” dollars you earn. “RecycleBank” dollars can be spent in participating retailers such as Whole Foods, RiteAid, and Starbucks. As of right now, over 250 companies are a part of this incentive program. My definition of an incentive is something, money or food, for example that you would give someone for accomplishing a goal. Incentives are an amazing way to make someone achieve an objective, but in the long run, what do they really say?
When I initially heard about this program, I thought, “That’s great! So many people will recycle now!” But now that I think about it, it is kinda sad that we need an incentive to do something so beneficial for our environment. The fact that we need incentives to do something as simple as recyclingis another component of how little people care about what is happening to our planet. Most people, when confronted with the topic of recycling, will ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” If we start preserving our planet now, we will be creating a better world for our childrenand our children’s children, and so on. But as long as some people don’t want to do anything, we can’t make progress.
Nowadays, many people feel that there are as many issues that are more prominent and relevant to them, such as the recession we are currently in. I class, we talked about whether or not the government and economy and the environment depend on each other. I think that we need to in order to really fix the issue of global warming; we need to do something about the economy. I feel that each issue is affected by one another. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the costs of the damages were over eighty billion dollars. We already owed money to other countries, and paying this much money only made matters worse. So if the economy is improved, we can spend more money on improving our environment.
Global warming sparks people’s attention all over the world. The debate over this topic is whether or not humans cause it. Al Gore believes the reason global warming is an issue in the first place is because of humans. There are others that feel as if the rising of Earth’s temperature occurs because of natural causes.
Before learning more about global warming, I thought that I knew a substantial amount of information about the topic. When I started to learn more and more however, I started to feel overwhelmed with all of the facts. As I acquired knowledge on global warming, it made me think about how much I didn’t know to begin with. I had no idea that the ozone layer and greenhouse glasses weren’t the same thing. I also had no clue that Co2 levels are increasing around earth, trapping heat and making the temperature warmer.
In my opinion, us humans are a major cause of global warming. I agree with Al Gore that the cars we drive and factories we work in are emitting pollution into the air. I think that most people don’t want to admit that we are a huge factor in this. I believe that the people who make a lot of money off of the things harming our environment think that money can be earned no other way. I think that we could find a way to use alternate energy to power our “necessities.” There are many things that we humans could do to turn everything around, but as long as we are not all on the same page, it’s impossible.
Global warming is a very dangerous thing and people really need to start taking it seriously. I have heard many people say that they will be dead and gone before anything really serious happens. The only thing I have to say to them is what about your family years from now? What about your however many great grandchildren? How would you feel if you ancestors were in your positions and completely abandoned you? I guarantee you that you wouldn’t be too happy about that.
In Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, he talks about how the Carbon Dioxide levels are higher than they’ve ever been before. In complete contradiction, The Great Global Warming Swindle said that previous temperatures have been higher and we have nothing to worry about. So who do we believe? Think about it this way, would you rather be wrong about the seriousness of global warming, but have done something positive for our environment, or be right about global warming, but have done nothing and be in a deeper whole than we began in? The future rests in our hands.