Supporting Item #4: Climate Change Group Essay

Dustin Lantz

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Climate Change Group Essay

Dustin’s viewpoint on climate change, causes, and solutions: I believe climate change to be perhaps one of the most pressing issues the world faces, as it is a truly global problem that has a very real chance of snowballing out of control the longer humans ignore it. Unfortunately, the cause is undoubtedly mainly the actions of humans, and any solution will also require human action on a global scale. However, humans are notoriously bad at working together to do much of anything, so a solution materializing any time soon seems unlikely. A shame too, considering the strides being made in alternative energy sources, but our bad habits are pretty ingrained at this point. Fixing it is not impossible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Zavia’s viewpoint on climate change, causes, and solutions: I think climate change is a human cause problem done to the earth’s natural temperature that steadily over time causes the earth’s precious living environment to become uninhabitable. Climate change is mostly erected by the human catalyst. Before humans came into existence the most dangerous thing that could happen would be flash floods, volcanic eruptions, solar flares and giant meteors. But now because of mundanes there are mass extinctions, wide spread diseases, weapons of mass destructions, internal elimination within the human species, on top of all of the other natural disasters. There are ways that human can get rid of their carbon footprint like recycling and using solar power but at this point in time humans are too greedy, selfish and caught up in their own gains and innovations of modern time that there is nothing, even working together as a whole, that the human race can do to save this planet completely. Not unless they want to make the ultimate the sacrifice and erase themselves from the planet, that I believe is the only way that earth can actually be saved in any way, shape, or form. Troy’s viewpoint on climate change, causes, and solutions: A brief summary of my viewpoints on climate change: I see climate change as the result of two occurrences; the first being the earth’s natural cycle of altering climates, and the second being human impact. While the scientific evidence clearly states with overwhelming certainty that climate change exists, there is still a small margin of uncertainty as to how much of it is due to human impact. Obviously we can not develop a solution to stop the Earth’s natural cycles, but there is much we can do to limit and slow our own impact. In my opinion, the most practical and realistic solution at this point in time is making the switch to alternative energy sources such as wind and solar energy. Sarina’s viewpoint on climate change, causes, and solutions: Global climate change poses a huge threat to the earth and humankind. The gradual change in climate has been steady throughout history; however, over the last twenty years, the change in climate has taken a giant plunge, and it is posing more of a threat now than ever. While the original cause of climate change may have been natural environmental factors at first, the change in climate has accelerated due humans’ recent poor treatment of the earth. The extreme usage of fossil fuels, burning of forests, and pollution from large cities are some of the causes for the excess Carbon dioxide that has been released into the earth’s atmosphere. Globally, quick action is necessary in order to work toward reducing our Carbon dioxide emissions. The issue of climate change would begin to diminish and eventually be eliminated if the planet’s population began working towards reversing the effects of climate change. A few ways to reverse the effects of climate change include: switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, switching from gas cars to electric cars or biking, and replanting forests in order to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. After making these changes, it would take years before a difference is made; however, the differences made would eventually lead up to a healthier climate and could halt the threat of new potential damages to the earth and its atmosphere. Josh’s viewpoint on climate change, causes, and solutions: Right now I do not believe that climate change is the biggest issue in the world, but I do believe that climate change is real and that we should be taking preventative actions to prevent climate change in the future. As of right now, statistics are showing a gradual increase in temperatures over time (around 1 degree higher) which means that the world should take actions to prevent temperatures from drastically increasing in the future. If we take action now, we will have less of an issue in the future. The issue will gradually solve itself or will plateau if we start taking small actions that will eventually become part of our daily routines. Although an individual cannot solve the issue of climate change, one small action by each member of a society can make a difference. Another solution that I believe would reverse the impact of climate change would be switching to an alternative energy source such as solar or wind. With today’s technological advancements, I cannot see why we would not be able to make the switch to alternative energy in the near future. The group’s final stance on climate change, causes, and solutions: If everyone could write about a minimum of 250 words or more for the topic assigned we should reach the 1200 word count. Format each section (1,2,3,4,5,6) as different paragraphs and build off each other. Also add to the presentation! Define the Problem (Josh): Increase in temperatures Change in ordinary/predicted climate (hot when suppose to be cold vice versa) Before addressing the contemporary moral and political problem of climate change, our group found it pertinent to first define climate change. First, we each proposed that a broad definition of climate change is the increase of temperature in the world. After forming a broad definition of climate change, we delved deeper and realized that climate change is not simply an increase of temperature in the world. Instead, climate change is an abnormal change in the weather. For example, when the weather is warmer or colder than scientists predict. After forming a definition for climate change, our group discussed the problems associated with climate change. Everyone in the group agreed that climate change is an issue the world is facing today, although some believed that climate change is a more pressing issue than others believed. We based our proposal that climate change is an actual issue the world is facing due to the fact that the Earth’s temperature has increased 1.5° fahrenheit (0.85° celsius) since 1900 (Romm 2). Based on our definition, climate change is an evident issue because scientists predicted that the Earth should be cooling at this point in time instead of warming (Stevens NP). Moreover, our group proposed potential problems as a result of climate change. One of the main problems to arise from climate change is the rise in sea levels. According to Joseph Romm on Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, “the rate of sea level rise since the early 1990s has been almost 0.3 centimeters (0.12 inches) a year, which is double what the average speed was during the prior eight decades” (Romm 4). Our group agreed that the rise in sea levels is a paramount problem because an increase in sea levels could displace numerous people and leave them without homes. Also, the rise in sea levels also presents other problems such as changes in weather, wildlife, and economic patterns. Specifically, there would be more intense storms, wildlife would be required to relocate and adapt, and the economy would suffer due to the destruction of communities from the rise of sea levels. Investigate the causes (Troy): How much comes from humans and how much comes from nature? Large scale burning of fossil fuels Beef (methane) To begin addressing the causes of climate change, we must first understand why these changes in our climate are occurring. According to NASA scientists, the primary cause of our planet’s current warming trend is the intensity of the “greenhouse effect.” The greenhouse effect occurs when sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, but instead of returning into space, the heat is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules which spread around the plant causing the surface of the earth to warm. The gasses that contribute most to this phenomenon include nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Once the primary reason for the occurrence of climate change has been acknowledged, we can begin to decipher what is contributing to the increase of these greenhouse gasses. To first address the minority belief that the sun is responsible for the increase in temperature, NASA has used multiple satellites to measure the sun’s energy output since 1978, and no apparent change has been reported. This leads us to the understanding that the majority of the increase in temperature is due to human consumption of fossil fuels. As stated earlier, these gases include nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide. In the film we watched as a class, Before the Flood, we learned that humans burn an astronomical amount of fossil fuels that expel these gases into the lower atmosphere. The burning of these fuels occur from common activities including driving our car, and burning coal in factories. Another important piece of information we learned in Before the Flood, is that beef consumption is another culprit of releasing methane into the atmosphere, and the production of raw beef accounts for approximately seventy percent of land usage in the United States, which is also a highly unethical use of land. Engage in Dialog (Zavia): Dustin and Zavia were along the same page while Troy, Josh, and Sarina were on the same page Discussed limiting children, human extinction, alternate energy We all agreed on the problem, causes, but differed in the solutions Was able to reach a final agreement on solutions When our group initially came together to find a solution to climate change everyone had different thoughts. Zavia and Dustin were similar in their more pessimistic outlooks, while Troy, Josh and Sarina found common ground on a more pessimistic stance. The split was mainly focused around how optimistic the two parties were for large scale human intervention. To bridge this gap, possible solutions and their feasibility were discussed. Some of us discussed limiting the number of children born in high population areas, including areas of the world that are already overpopulated. We defined overpopulated as a country with a set amount of resources per capita it can sustain reasonably without cutting or stretching out the maximum to include other people. An extension of the idea of curbing population growth, the thought of actively decreasing populations was approached. While opinions on the scale required and the hypothetical means versus the ends were varied, it was undeniably a option from a cold and logical standpoint. As cut throat and final as the idea seemed to all involved, the possible ideology was lent power by the belief that no matter what changes were made immediately by humanity, not enough people or countries could be persuaded to participate to stop the planet from eventually dying out. The counter alternative Troy, Josh, and Sarina agreed on with more optimism than Zavia and Dustin, was finding better ways to harness alternative energy sources moving forward. Solar and wind power in particular were the most popular choices. Although we all agreed on the root of the problem, meaning we all agreed from our own opinions that climate change was real and that it posed a threat to the earth and all living creatures, we also agreed on the causes of climate change but our solutions as individuals were scattered. After talking with each other and listening to each person’s reasons and in depth explanations we were able to come up with a common solution. Analyze proposed solutions (Sarina): Limit phone use Replant forests Alternate energy (Solar/Wind) Limit children being born After analyzing the effects of global climate change and discussing possible solutions, it was decided that there are four main solutions to climate change: limiting phone use, replanting forests, switching to alternative energy sources, and limiting the number of children being born. According to Mike Berners-Lee’s What’s the carbon footprint of… using a mobile phone? Nearly half of the world’s population owns a cell phone, and this number continues to grow. While around 16 kg of Carbon dioxide is emitted during the manufacturing process of assembling cell phones, it is the usage of cell phones once in the hands of people that emits the most. Cell phone usage contributes differently to one’s carbon footprint, depending on the amount of time a person uses their phone each day. Approximately 47 kg of Carbon dioxide is emitted per year from cell phones due to the amount of energy necessary to transmit text messages, calls, and internet usage through the wireless networks. If consumers reduced their time spent using cell phones, the amount of Carbon dioxide released into the air would lessen (Berners-Lee). According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, Replanting forests is another solution to climate change because trees absorb Carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. Historically, forests have been chopped down and even burned down. Replanting forests would ensure less Carbon dioxide in the air, and this would allow for the ozone layer in the atmosphere to rebuild itself (National Arbor Day Foundation). According to ProCon.org, Another solution to climate change is switching from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power will help stop climate change, and it will also provide safer energy as well. While these alternative energy sources are costly, the benefits will heavily outweigh the price. Making the switch to solar and wind energy will greatly decrease humankind’s carbon footprint due to the extreme lack of Carbon dioxide emissions from these sources. Because the sun and wind will always be readily available, these methods of energy are significantly less environmentally costly, as opposed to burning coal or using nuclear waste as power. Making the switch to alternative energy sources is a crucial solution to the climate crisis (ProCon.org). Lastly, limiting the amount of children born in largely populated areas will greatly decrease humans kind’s carbon footprint, according to National Geographic. If there are significantly less people being born than are dying, the population will begin to dwindle. This will help reduce the effects of climate change, because there will be a smaller number of humans who are responsible for the environmental harm that is causing the change in climate If there are less people globally, there will be a decrease in the amount of harmful Carbon dioxide emissions. The replanting of trees will produce more oxygen, while the decrease in the amount of people born will ensure less Carbon dioxide emission through not only respiration, but activities that emit Carbon dioxide as well (NationalGeographic.com). Agreement (Dustin/Josh): If we could make the transition to alternate fuel sources, such as wind and solar it could slow down and stabilize climate change. In the end, we agree that Climate Change is a surmountable obstacle, we simply differ on how difficult the goal is to reach. With advances in sustainable energy, and a conscious effort on the part of all major countries, the consequences of climate change can be addressed. Even individual people could make a difference if every individual did a little bit to aid in emission reduction. In the best case scenario, countermeasures would eventually even begin to roll back the damage already done to ecosystems and coastal communities across the world. Countering the effects of climate change we have enacted thus far is something we certainly can do, it only remains to be seen if it is something we will do. This problem born of human faults can only be addressed by human actions, we can all agree that our involvement is necessary. Ignoring a calamity that affects millions is mere negligence on the part of all humanity, it only remains to be seen if as a species we truly are so negligent. (6) Presentation For our presentation, we hope to engage the class in meaningful dialogue so that people can see both the scope of the issue, and the variety of solutions their classmates are capable of creating. We will briefly inform them of some facts regarding the issue, and engage them in an activity meant to show them the impact all people have on climate change, but ultimately we want to delve into meaningful conversation that will hopefully spark some introspection and questions in the class. We intend to fuel these conversations with questions posed to random classmates that will lead the discussion in a meaningful and constructive direction. SOURCES: https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ https://www.nationalgeographic.com https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/jun/09/carbon-footprint-mobile-phone http://www.Procon.org http://arborday.org