Some of my Creations

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Rant: Global Climate Change

I guess I'm a frustrated Earth and Environmental scientist. It really bothers me that issues that are global in scope and affect all of us have become completely politicized, to the point where people who have nothing to do with science and have never read a scientific paper in their lives are using their clout to influence millions of people over an issue as important and vital as global climate change. "Global Warming" is a term most scientists shun...but it's bandied about in the media as if the only result of human triggered climate change is going to be getting warmer. Overall, yes, that will result, but some places will get wetter and have more extremes of temperature (colder, wetter winters, drier, hotter summers), some will get warmer and drier and overall it will have an extremely negative affect on the earth system as a whole. People who see this as a black and white issue where the scientific community is divided over whether or not human triggered climate change exists have it all wrong. Most climate scientists agree that change is occuring, what is argued about is what the projected effects are going to be and how long it will take to reach a point of no return. What happens to the people of India when the Himalayan glaciers that supply so many of them with their drinking water melt completely and can't be replenished because mountain temperatures aren't cool enough to form glaciers? What happens to island nations like the Maldives and countries like Bangladesh whose lands are disappearing as sea levels rise? FACT: Warmer oceans=more evaporation=larger this going to be tolerable for the people of the gulf states in the US who have already dealt with many hurricane spawned tragedies? Ignoring these problems with pat answers like "This is the normal cycle of climate on the earth" or "We can't do anything about it anyway" allows for an intolerable "do nothing" attitude to pervade...and flies in the face of hard, rigorously peer reviewed scientific data. It comes directly from IGNORING scientists! When did the general population decide to presume to think they knew better than the people who study this for a living? What is it about this issue that makes people stick their heads in the sand and CHOOSE to ignore it? Is it because the prospect of change, of having to make sacrifices and alterations to one's lifestye is so unacceptable, they want to be reassured that it's ok to conduct business as usual? Well it's not. Each and every one of us owns a piece of this pie, whether we like it or not. Education, sacrifice, innovation, scientific study, technological advances and people like you caring about this are going to be the things that turns this around, to the benefit of all. My study of global change hydrology this semester has shown me that ignoring this problem won't make it go away and will change the earth in ways that few of us will find tolerable. I hope you will join me in doing your part, no matter how small, to bring balance back to our precious earth system. ~End Rant~