Saturday, 27 June 2015
During my time at Monash, I met quite a few people outside of uni who asked me what I was studying. When I responded that I'm doing environmental management, some chuckled "Oh you're on your way to becoming a Greenie and spreading rumours about the world ending!". I chuckled back and wondered to myself when and how people's notions of climate change will change. You might be surprised how many people still think of climate change as a still from the movie 2012 (2 hours of my life I'll never get back).
One of the reasons people want to inherently dismiss climate change is due to their guilty bias. The primary discussion on climate change is how it has been brought about by the actions of humans. Naturally, we immediately defend ourselves and dismiss the idea altogether. Besides, people get bored when they hear about the long time-frames and "faraway" places associated with climate change. They don't see the urgency to take action now. Unfortunately this is the very reason why the situation is worsening.
Where's the proof that global warming is caused by humans and not just due to natural changes of the earth? The start of the growth of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere almost directly coincides with the start of the industrial revolution and increase in CO2 almost exactly correlates with the increase in the cumulative anthropogenic emissions.
Another staggering impact of human activities is the sixth mass extinction we might be entering, a recent study has found.
The earth has seen 5 mass extinctions before. The biggest of them all was the Permian mass extinction, which wiped out 96% of the planet's species. The last mass extinction is well known since it wiped out the dinosaurs in as few as three human lifetimes.
The current mass extinction might be the first of its kind, where the catastrophe is being brought upon by a single species alone, namely homo sapiens. We haven't even left the oceans alone. Our activities are destroying ecosystems in every corner of the planet. With extinction rates ten times higher the normal rate, we have really gotten our fellow living beings into trouble.
Even with all the progress we have made, we have failed. Poaching, whaling, furthering our own interests has led these beings looking at a bleak future.
Life is lonely for the the last male Northern White Rhino and many others. We can't do much about the past but we certainly can resolve that our presence does not directly correlate with the absence of others.