This is as political as this blog will get. The fact that this topic is construed as political is concerning. Somehow what is, in reality, a human and an earth problem, has been relegated to a small portion of political bickering in much of the modern world.
A bit of history. Originally there were two questions that needed answering: (1) was the earth actually warming up, in particular, at a rate that was faster than normal, global temperature variation? and (2) was human behavior responsible for such warming? The answer, obtained through rigorous and extensive research, has been a resounding yes. In fact, around 95% of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and is likely a significant problem. Getting scientific consensus, much less 95% agreement, is a challenge few other topics have achieved.
So why should we care?
If we care about human health we must care. Changes in weather will lead to, and have already begun to change and accelerate how disease is able to spread. Diseases that were once only endemic to tropical areas will spread diffusely as the globe warms. Pollution and environmental contamination has already, and will continue to cause chronic disease such as asthma and increase rates of cancer.
If we care about our countries we must care. Changes in global temperature will lead to loss of coastal and island areas. The natural resources will shift causes droughts and natural disasters which will threaten our
If we care about our neighbor we must care. The golden rule, love thy neighbor as thyself, is echoed in nearly every major religion. As a globalized world, it is no stretch to say that the best way to love our neighbor is to take care of land that we share. Although well intentioned, UN help from Nepal is what brought cholera to Haiti. Although well intentioned, missionaries to indigenous people were often the bearers of deadly disease. We must think carefully about our actions and how they will affect our neighbors, both near and far. In the developed world, most will be able to compensate for these changes and it is our neighbors in the developing world, already living with little buffer, that will suffer the hardest. If we care about “the least of these” we must care about global warming.
If we care about financial stability we must care. Hurricanes, famines, lack of natural resources, war, and chronic health problems strain and implode economic systems. Although financial stability should not be our primary motivation, we know that it is often one of the strongest motivators. If we save money for retirement, we must realize that the money is only as strong as the economic system backing it. Therefore we must invest in the environment through conservation efforts as systematically and methodically as we should our retirement accounts.
The challenge then is to do what we can now, as inconvenient as it may be, to protect the environment around us. There is hope. The majority of the world has recognized this as a problem but have yet to realize the motivation to act with anything beyond accords and empty words. If we care about human health, our nation, our neighbors, and our money we must be that motivation.