Updated: Jun 16
Initially published by Illumination on Medium
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Those who don't believe in global warming probably need to revisit the basis of their reasoning. Because environmental crisis and shift towards the bad are real and contrary to some, it is far from conspiracy theory.
But how bad is the global ecological problem, and are solutions that the environmentalists are offering really enough?
Once we talk about climate change, we merely draw public attention to the global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases which cause large-scale shifts in weather patterns.
Humans have had an unparalleled influence on earth’s climate system and caused change on a global scale.
Although the emission of gasses causes the greenhouse effect on a large scale, the climate change and environmental crisis, in general, is utterly inevitable given the increasing global population, public expectation, and human longevity. Indeed, switching high gas emission energy to non-emission modalities such as electric cars may help avert problems in the short run. Still, I doubt it will stop human beings from moving toward the cliff's edge.
Many other factors negatively affect the global environment, which is most apparently interrelated. Scientists' climate data indicate that climate change directly influences the key indicators, such as global land and ocean temperature increases, rising sea levels, ice loss at the earth's poles, and mountain glaciers. To name a few are the frequency and severity variations in extreme weather such as hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods, precipitation, and cloud and vegetation cover changes.
Causes of Climate change boil down to Health and Expectations
To understand the true nature of the climate change problem in our small globe, we must first try to comprehend what contributes to the changes in our climate.
Humans are ever more swaying the climate and the earth's temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, and farming livestock.
In the 21st century, we as citizens are more educated, and more amenities are available to us to live healthier, longer, and with extra convenience as much as we can afford. Comfort, in particular, has riddled contemporary societies from not just the way we travel but where we travel. One perfect example to mention is endeavoring to travel to the moon. Or work less and earn more income. Naturally, such an innate ambition requires enormous resources, which one can never accomplish without the help of technology and disturbance of the world's natural cycle of self conservation.
The environmental consequences of our living as consumers outweigh the effects we have as producers, and even when we produce and rebuild, we still influence the environment. That adds not just enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming but also contributes to various other pollutions directly or indirectly. For instance, we try to solve the greenhouse gas crisis by replacing fossil fuels with electricity. Even though lithium is the fundamental element for batteries, it is one of the most polluting agents of the environment, both from mining and disposal.
The greenhouse effect is the primary driver of climate change. It does so by trapping the sun's heat and stopping it from leaking back into space, and causing global warming. These include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases.
CO2 produced by human activities is the most significant sponsor of global warming. Coal, oil, and gas combustion produce carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Forest trees help to regulate the climate by consuming CO2 from the atmosphere. Hence deforestation that goes along with increasing population and their needs will negatively affect the environment by way of the greenhouse effect; likewise, does Increasing livestock husbandry. Reportedly, by 2020, Co2 concentration in the atmosphere had amounted to over 48% of its pre-industrial level.
Cattle and sheep yield large amounts of methane through digesting their food. Fertilizers comprising nitrogen release nitrous oxide into the environment. Equipment and products emit fluorinated gases, which have a powerful warming effect, more than that of CO2. Since the industrial revolution, the global temperature has risen by 0.18 degrees Celsius, or 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit, per decade.
The global population age is rising as life expectancy has increased. In fact, in 2020, individuals aged 60 or older outnumbered children under the age of five for the first time in history. Such trends are due to upgraded public health, better nutrition, better healthcare, and, most recently, technological modernizations, big data, and artificial intelligence to advance healthy life and meet the expectations of an aging population and people in general.
Despite all the progress made in improving human lives, as the world's population booms, the resources fall short for a significant portion of the earth's population. One out of eight individuals of over seven billion people doesn't have enough to eat.
So, would eliminating hormones and GMOs (Genetically modified organisms) from our food chain sustain lives?
According to a report, both developed and developing countries contribute to global environmental problems. However, with 85% of the gross world product and 23% of their population, developed nations account for the most significant mineral and fossil-fuel consumption, resulting in substantial environmental repercussions.
In recent years, the world population has started giving more consideration to their health, the nutrient content, and the quality of the food they eat. Due to these concerns, people have gradually begun shifting towards organic food, even though organic diets are priced higher than conventional foods. This awareness among consumers further lifts the organic market through the consumer's willingness to pay high prices for them if it is going to benefit their health and wellbeing. Also, in places where consumers are aware of the safety and quality of organic products, the market is growing since consumers are willing to pay higher prices. The increasing demand for organic food is expected to enhance in years and decades.
But Can we feed 10 billion souls solely on organic products?Many believe they can. Nonetheless, the real question is how?
A typical example is how you can raise a chicken that would grow large enough in 3 months without hormones and GMOs!
Is there really such a thing as actual organic chicken meat in the market?
Those familiar with country life and who had a chance to consume farm-raised chicken would agree that the actual grown organic chicken meat is dark and has hard bones. The standard chicken meat we buy from supermarkets is light in color, and bones are soft because they are typically too young. They have been raised using hormones, even those labeled as organic!
The point is that the production of genuine organic products is a prolonged process and does not sustain ever-growing population demand.
Another argument is that our growing population needs farming methods that conserve and regenerate resources while generating healthy food but abstain from practices that use more chemicals, polluting the environment to grow more corn to feed more feedlot animals. They also claim that organic can feed the world, but what kind of organic would that be if still scientifically manipulated?
True, if everyone would grow their produce in their backyards, that would turn the environmental crisis around, but do we have enough space in the world to do that?
Yes, the current food industry trend contributes to global warming. However, the recent resolutions still replace one environmental harm with another, like replacing fossil fuel with lithium and nuclear radiation pollution.
All in all, technology offers convenience and feeds the population at a reasonably affordable cost. Yet still, it influences climate change regardless. It partakes both positive and negative effects on human lives.
Indeed, it seems that we are fighting ourselves! We can’t survive without technology.
Because of our culture, our bodies have adapted to sophisticated tools. We may be able to stop global warming, but the idea that we can live comfortably, live long, stay healthy and save the world from technology-driven suicide is a matter of substantial controversy.
By simply being alive, irrespective of what we do to and with natural resources, we use them up and, at the same time, pollute the environment. While doing that, more and more humans are joining us as the world population continues to grow in a seemingly unstoppable fashion. Thus, population growth is the foremost driver for climate shift.
Drastic changes are needed to halt us from heading for climate disaster. Maybe that change is not as complex as reverting global warming and is more in line with population control, but can we?!