See updates and commentary at EnvironmentalApocalypse.com.
Why should I be so concerned about the environment?
Nature has a way of taking care of itself, doesn't it? Yes, it does. If we continue to treat "mother earth" the way we do now, she will get rid of us by becoming uninhabitable by our careless, destructive genus, along with countless species of plants and animals. She will set her multi-millenial "reset" button like she's done FIVE times in the past after [theoretical] celestial collisions and global temperature cycles. Yes, she will eventually return to her "serene blue and green" state after hundreds of thousands of years...as she has in the past.
But do we really want to behave and plan in a way that will amplify the following "climate change" and "poor environmental stewardship" repercussions to the point where the next several generations will be fighting an unwinnable battle against nature while they curse our carelessness and ignorance?
I'm a baby-boomer. As a boomer and a "scientist" of sorts (former engineer and researcher), I should have recognized how much of a mess we've gotten ourselves into several years ago. My personal wake-up call came as I watched a moved called "Chasing Coral" on Netflix. I thought I was sitting down to watch one of those amazing nature shows that immerse the viewer in nature's beauty. But this is more like a eulogy for our coral reefs, which I've enjoyed immensely as a diver. As depressing as that sounds, I strongly urge you to watch at least the first 20 minutes of the film. It provides a graphic documentation of the death we have brought to our coral reefs, which are like the proverbial "canary in a coal mine," where the coal mine is our entire planetary ecosystem.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Here's a list of suggestions for your own "Action Plan" to help stop the deadly trend we're on right now. The list is sorted using my personal judgment based on ease & impact. It's a work in progress that I'll update regularly, along with my occasional commentary at my new blog at www.EnvironmentalApocalypse.com. I'm assembling a news & reference page for my own use here, too.
No matter what "portion" of the problem is caused by humanity "anthropogenic" (NASA estimates a 95% probability), the fact that we have a problem on our hands is immutable. Look at the news...mass extinction (the plantet's 6th round) and record-setting storms.
Much of the "climate change" discussion—especially amongst politicians who are heavily funded by gas and oil interests—centers around the following:
The fact that these questions are even posed as questions is proof that people are stupid and self-centered. Anyone with an interest in reading relevant information on the topic, and with a reasonable level of respect for science and the scientific method understands the following:
Reducing CO₂ emissions and finding ways to reduce existing greenhouse gases are crucial for our ecosystem's recovery from a downward spiral that is already underway. A global temperature elevation of 2°C now appears to be a LOW estimate in the next couple decades. New estimates of up to 4°C in global elevation could make our planet virtually uninhabitable, and will certainly cut agricultural output down to a level that will not support our existing population.
Below | Causes and effects of air pollution: (1) greenhouse effect, (2) particulate contamination, (3) increased UV radiation, (4) acid rain, (5) increased ground-level ozone concentration, (6) increased levels of nitrogen oxides.
HISTORY: THE BEGINNING OF THE END
There is evidence that steam-driven devices existed in the first century AD. At the time, there was about 1% of the human population we have today. If we had that same population today, the fact that we all want to drive cars, use heat/AC to stay comfortable, and travel everywhere using fossil fuels would not necessarily be a planet-destroying concept. But that's a pipe dream. Mankind as found a way of living longer and reducing death due to wars, famine, plagues and less-contagious diseases. The level of industrialization that took place during the so-called "Lost Generation" (those who came of age around the end of World War I) is mind-boggling. They witnessed a transformation from oil lamps to distributed electricity, and from horse-carriages to cars and planes. The energy produced and consumed (generating greenhouse gases) grew exponentially. India & China each have about 4x the population of the USA, and they are just getting started up the ramp of energy/person that we've climbed over the last couple generations. Between population growth and industrialization, more than half the fossil fuel emissions that we've EVER put into the atmosphere has occurred in the last 25 years.
(Work in progress. See the action item list for things you can do while I finish this.)
Steps in the scientific method: