Society
D H
May 23 · Last update 1 mo. ago.
What should be done about global climate change?
As countries have started to legislate against certain plastic products and some private companies and charities are concentrating on removing rubbish from the world's seas and oceans, what else should be done?
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Multiple considerations need to be taken with every decision made about climate change.
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It is short sighted to only legislate against climate change when there are so many possible natural, and/or human accelerated, disasters that are equally plausible or inevitable.
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Legislate, fund technology and educate to change industries that have caused climate change
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Multiple considerations need to be taken with every decision made about climate change.

It is obvious that the issue needs enormous scientific innovation to be solved, though it cannot be left to the scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. One of the things others could do meanwhile, is to stay eager to catch up with the latest efforts of specialists. Acting to keep the world aware of the issue is beneficial, however one of the most important things to remember when considering an action for a better world is that justice can be subjective. It is important because mankind is prone to thinking that their personal view of what is “just” is always unquestionably righteous. To avoid that, the ability to see a subject from different angles is necessary and what empowers us to do so is education.

Early 2018 in the UK, a plastic straw ban was proposed, and no later than that a disability group started a campaign for a pause to the proposal, claiming their dependancy on the product. This brought up a majorly unseen fact about what was initially a question of pollution and wastefulness. It also proved that it is very easy to just consider one side of an issue, without fully contemplating alternative concerns. For instance, when someone carries out a little change in their life, they tend to notice the difference, good or bad. They are likely to be aware of the negative side effects on the decision making. However, when a change is enforced in a society, it is easy to neglect the negative impact the change could have, which could turn into a struggle for those who may not have a voice politically or statistically. In an environmental campaign it should not be a handful of people blindly trying to ban products until the earth is cleaner. It is also necessary to adjust peoples agendas and ethical beliefs according to unrecognised opinions or the new discoveries that may be encountered along the way.

When reaching for the solution to the case mentioned above, governments and companies should also consider finding alternatives for those who could suffer as a result of the solution, instead of people blindly blaming the opponents of a policy for being unreasonable, or disregarding other opinions. Despite damage to the environment and wildlife, and the use of helium, also a limited resource, the number of local authorities in the UK that banned balloon releasing is limited to 50 in 2017, and it remains a popular activity for expressing grief or for celebrations in certain areas/cultures. There have however been alternatives suggested, such as bio-degradable balloons, it could be argued that taking both sides into consideration, the environment and human behaviour, is the way forward.

Being passionate about harm reduction in modern society often causes labelling the whole human race as careless. However, education enable us to know/learn things more efficiently, it helps us realise what we do not know yet. Additionally, it might lead us to what we do not see, and hopefully to what needs to be concerned. It does not only keep us in a humble state, but also makes generous humans that cares for others. Any global issue involves various values from each culture. Therefore, it should require the understanding/open attitude towards different philosophies alongside broad knowledge on the subject to move in the right direction on climate change.

bbc.com/news/uk-wales-43485362 localgov.co.uk/Councils-urged-to-ban-balloon-releases/42786

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It is short sighted to only legislate against climate change when there are so many possible natural, and/or human accelerated, disasters that are equally plausible or inevitable.

We have recently seen policies implemented in many countries and cities, like the banning of plastic straws, and the introduction of charges for plastic shopping bags. But, this is arguably looking too closely at small details of a massive multifaceted issue. When we are talking about waste affecting the environment we are actually worried about both environmental catastrophe and human lifestyles having a detrimental effect on the world.

It is obviously an important issue to want to minimise the harm that the human population brings to the natural world. However, straws are arguably the tip of the iceberg when you consider other forms of plastic waste, not to mention chemical and nuclear waste, when we start to look at the full spectrum of human waste.

But worrying solely about waste management when considering environmental disaster is short sighted. When we consider the wider scale of environmental detriment, we can also count oil spills, waste water mismanagement, and air pollution from cars, industry, and agriculture also. These are all contributors to possible climate change and a possible global climate catastrophe.

However, as we again consider the wider factors of global disaster there are a number of other catastrophes caused annually by weather also. Avalanches, hurricanes/typhoons, tornadoes, wildfires, floods and drought, for example, can pose a huge threat to human populations. We can also count geological natural disasters such as, volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes and tsunami as threats to the human population and the environment. If we keep extrapolating and consider possible disasters of an astrological nature, such as meteor impacts and major solar flares, we get a fuller picture of how lucky we have been in recent history to have a fairly stabile climate.

Human civilisation has advanced to this degree in a relatively short state of environmental stillness, compared with what we know to have been a violent geological world history. We need to look at global catastrophe evasion as a whole, and recognise we live on a planet in flux, ever changing. Then we need to develop ways to alter and address climate changes to suit our necessary environment for life as we know it now. Otherwise we run the risk of eventually loosing not only human civilisation but quite possibly all life on Earth as a result of a slow climate change or a rapid catastrophic event.

We should be looking to manage the atmosphere and the world so that it stays comfortable for the human race, while protecting all other life on Earth. This would include not only policy to control the amount of plastic waste we produce, but technology to increase the efficacy of recycling, provide waste free power, and to develop systems to avert massive global disasters.

theguardian.com/science/2016/dec/13/space-asteroid-comet-nasa-rocket popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a6468/4337799 nasa.gov/feature/jpl/catalog-of-known-near-earth-asteroids-tops-15000 psmag.com/environment/banning-straws-wont-save-the-oceans

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D H
Jun 15
DH edited this paragraph
We should be looking to manage the atmosphere and the world so that it stays comfortable for the human race, while protecting all other life on Earth. This would include not only policy to control the amount of plastic waste we produce, but technology to increase the efficiency of recycling, provide waste free power, climate engineering techniques and systems to avert massive global disasters.
Legislate, fund technology and educate to change industries that have caused climate change

Attempting to limit the amount of plastic ending up in the oceans is a honourable target, considering the tragic health consequences posed to wildlife and humans alike. Bans to straws, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and micro plastics have been put into place in countries such as Kenya, Taiwan, Australia and France to name a few. In addition, entrepreneurs such as Boyan Slat have initiated private solutions such as his floating screening system which uses the ocean currents to passively catch plastic rubbish. Although this will improve the environment, health and quality of life for humans and wildlife, this will not change the rate at which climate change occurs.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus now that mankind is accelerating the rate of global warming through intense combustion of fossil fuels and intensive livestock farming. This is often somewhat convoluted and combined with other forms of air, land and sea pollution. But it is arguably this air pollution, specifically that of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that is causing global climate change. The current level of atmospheric carbon dioxide being at 400 parts per million, an unprecedented level considering 300 parts per million was not exceeded in the last 400,000 years.

The largest change that needs to occur is the switch to sustainable and clean electrical energy. The world wide use of fossil fuels needs to be replaced with renewable, waste free, electricity generation, namely the large scale integration of solar, hydrological, wind and geothermal energy sources across the globe. Technology is key here, not just to increase large scale efficiency, but also to be integrated at an individual consumers level. When fossil fuel combustion is necessary, stricter emissions tests and regular externally regulated checks need to be in place, with heavier levies imposed over time.

The biggest issue however, still remains with the current, historically high, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Even if the release of carbon dioxide ceased today, the level is still currently high enough to increase the rate of glacial melting, ultimately releasing larger amounts of carbon dioxide. Wallace Smith Broecker’s green house gas removal research, and solutions posed by scientists such as Klaus Lackner, have lead to the development of technologies to filter out carbon dioxide present in the air. This line of research and technology requires large scale investment, but aims to reverse the rising rate of carbon dioxide emissions and man-made global warming.

The foundation for these changes needs to be in education, and not just with the goal to inform people. Greater efforts made to fund education in the climate science research and engineering sectors is the only thing that will lead to the technological advances needed here. This will naturally increase the rate of new energy solutions, with new technology generating new industries and more money to fund further education, research and expensive policy changes.

Life on planet Earth is a self sustaining feedback cycle of food webs and nutrient chains. Mankind have learned to manipulate these natural cycles for its own gain, thus massively disrupting the rate at which carbon is recycled back into life and the Earth. As can be seen in Boyan Slats example, the most realistic solutions are to employ or utilise natural cycles and integrate them into our modern lifestyles. Where that’s not possible, changing those lifestyles to fit into natural systems more closely is the only solution. The Earth’s methods for self sustaining are marvellous, we should be fitting into the reality we live in not going against it.

globalcitizen.org/en/content/plastic-bans-around-the-world theoceancleanup.com/updates/pacific-cleanup-set-to-start-in-2018 climate.nasa.gov/evidence nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v302/n6/full/scientificamerican0610-66.html

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