Mother Nature - The "Environment" - the (great) "Outdoors"
Climate change and the environment I believe should be priority 1A given the state of the world. It's become obvious that many corporations have benefited and profited from destructive environmental policies and also work to influence the system for selfish gain and protectionism. Within environmental issues it is often the collective society that ends up paying the costs. It is time for change. A big change - it often made me cry in the past while in college diving into this issue relating to climate change and the environment. We as humans, the only sentient race we know so far in the galaxy, are the masters of our domain - we shape our world to how we want it to be.
I cannot sit idly by any longer. Action must be taken now if we are to stave off the most horrible effects of irreversible climate change. I don't care if I die (getting assassinated or something) trying - at least I will have tried. I am but only one person and realize the change that's needed is systematic. The ignorance, the apathy, the time for reflection, it is gone. We as a human race, The apex predator of the earth, are affecting the whole planet and endangering ourselves and our future. There is nothing more important in our world than having healthy clean air, water, food, and some security or shelter. The main takeaway of a lecture I went to by an Army Centcom Commander (at an environmental group meeting in Lawrence, KS) was when a nation or people lack peace (which encompasses the above things - water, food, security/shelter) and hope, peace ends.
To question the overall science of man-made climate change or global warming by unqualified persons shows much arrogance. To think they are smarter than the smartest scientists in the world..."I know better" or whatever else excuse one makes for disbelief or lack of alarm shows so much arrogance and ignorance in my opinion. Science is all connected and works together. The scientific method has done pretty well by us (civilization in general).
Much change is required. Firstly, to ensure a livable climate into the future but also to address many problems such as topsoil loss, peak oil, peak phosphorus, sedimentation of reservoirs (dredging costs millions for example), eutrophication (especially with rising global temperatures), species extinction, plastic pollution and more. Some of these issues put our national security and economic well-being at risk going into the future such as topsoil loss and the depletion of groundwater resources - all for short-term gain and profit.
Standard environmental news
Growing up in Southeast Kansas I had always liked the outdoors. My lowly populated county was full of wildlife and insects. I loved reading about animals (dinosaurs as well) such as the cotton-mouth snake, T-rex, velociraptors, dangerous spiders, etc. I remember one time as a kid I caught a toad and put him in a bucket overnight only to find him dried out and dead in the morning. I don't know why but I cried like mad and was angry at my parents for letting this happen. I remember one summer as an adolescent, swimming in the local river with my friends nearly every day playing "King of the Tree" - like king of the hill but with wrestling and on a slightly submerged tree that had fallen over but was still rooted on the shore. Now, the local river is too contaminated or polluted to swim in and suffers from low dissolved oxygen (more than 50% of U.S. streams are listed as impaired in the United States) and my local town had to get federal help from the E.P.A. (due to low dissolved oxygen levels caused by high amounts of animal waste upstream which also adds things like e. Coli.) - water comes from a reservoir nearly 20 air miles South of the town. I kayaked the river a few years ago and it has almost no wildlife except for some beavers and birds. The county, our Nation-State, and even the world has seen a dramatic reduction in wildlife numbers (the World Wildlife Fund has published numerous studies) and a recent study even showed insect numbers have significantly declined. Several scientists have declared we are living in the sixth major mass extinction event in the history of the world.
The anti-environmental and anti-science movement mostly started in response to the "social solidarity" measures that were put into place by President Nixon in the late '60s, early 70's (such as the Clean Water Act, etc.). There was much pushback by corporations which started their own organizing (Industry Chose a Course of Denial and Deception) as well as creating more opinionated or biased news media such as Fox News. An influx of lobbyists in Washington D.C. after and possibly in response to the environmental movement and laws put in place during that time. Some believe Washington became corrupted even before this time with Democrats initially influencing media back in the day (also leaving the gold standard and creation of the IMF and international banks, etc.). Too much federal overstep created harmful backlash that lasts to this day (Anti-environmentalism - 1970s and its lasting legacy and another article from Vox). Much of the issue today is greenwashing (every one is "green" nowadays, but at least there is a lot of actual real action)
Some of the effects are obvious when discussing this specific issue today. Look at the politics compared with the actual policies of the right today carrying on and on about economic growth and so-called "freedom" (freedom for whom? - corporations, neoliberalism, and the rich while undermining the protections of people and planet) while not actually applying conservative principles such as a balanced budget - but I do like more "true" capitalism (markets are efficient and productive) and some of the moral principles and backing of the constitution, limiting federal government and top-down control, etc. etc. that are with what the right pushes.
- The environment, that which sustains us all, was never such a bipartisan issue in the past. In reality, and throughout the world I believe people are not so different. We are all just people trying to obtain happiness and live a decent life ultimately.
If one pays attention to climate and environmental news and has studied (for example, environmental science) I believe most everyone would be alarmed. It is looking like James Hansen's initial recommendation of limiting the planet to 350-370 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (back in 1991) was...quite a good recommendation. After becoming more alarmed of the issue during my first semester at Kansas University (Fall 2014) I did more independent research on the subject and came to the conclusion that humanity is in for a very rough future indeed even if we were to stop all fossil fuel emissions today.
"Sept. 1, 1972 — British meteorologist John Stanley Sawyer publishes a paper in Nature saying that increases in carbon dioxide from human activity would increase global temperature by the end of the century. The paper was remarkably accurate, scientists now realize. Sawyer said:
“The increase of 25% CO2 expected by the end of the century therefore corresponds to an increase of 0.6°C in the world temperature – an amount somewhat greater than the climatic variation of recent centuries… Industrial development has recently been proceeding at an increasing rate so that the output of man-made carbon dioxide has been increasing more or less exponentially. So long as the carbon dioxide output continues to increase exponentially, it is reasonable to assume that about the same proportion as at present (about half) will remain in the atmosphere and about the same amount will go into the other reservoirs.”
I came to the conclusion that the old IPCC projections were too weak (back in 2014/2015) due to not taking into account the many positive feedback loops that come from a warming world - and the delay in warming from greenhouse gas emissions to take and have actual effects. Even at current CO2 levels today (editing 05/26/2021 and levels are around 417 ppm CO2) and it's quite scary. There is no arctic sea ice, sea levels are significantly higher, the arctic itself is significantly hotter and as we see today, that what scientific studies have predicted are coming true - and they, the scientists have become even more alarmed and started using more aggressive language in their communications (such as the 2018 IPCC Report Summary) It is a complicated issue, as earth science and the earth is pretty large with large systems and a lot of water. With a hotter world/as the world warms, the atmosphere's ability to hold more water becomes greater (but also at the same time, there is more evapotranspiration because of the warmer temperatures), so you get harder downpours and flooding, there is less of a temperature gradient between the arctic and the midlatitude temperatures, so arctic jet streams are moving down more often (meandering more) in the winter. There are lots of things that are easy to see in real life of environmental degradation even just in my lifetime (I'm only 34)(the decline of wildlife - insects, amphibians and reptiles for example, just even in my neck of the woods in a county of around 3000 people). Many documentaries showing real evidence of ice and glaciers melting etc. etc.
The geologic principle of uniformitarianism "what has happened in the past is likely to occur in the future" or "the present is the key to the past" also applies very well to the climate in my opinion. Action must be taken now to ensure positive feedback loops already beginning to take place, do not end up becoming catastrophic such as the slowing of the Atlantic Ocean meridional overturning circulation which affects the world's oceans (therefore the world's water as all water goes somewhere and is connected spatially, if not stored) vertical mixing among others and the thawing of the northern hemisphere's permafrost that scientists say would double atmospheric carbon dioxide levels if all were melted.
I believe in solving problems at the source - not just putting band-aids on them. I would work for America and even the world to enact a progressive (hopefully global) carbon tax similar to or being the same as the ones proposed by the Citizens Climate Lobby. I would attempt to strengthen the Clean Water Act that recognizes social justice issues. I would also propose changes to the Farm Bill and Energy bills that contribute to intense agricultural practices, specifically, the heavily subsidized biofuel production our government encourages even though physics wise, it is not a good and efficient use of energy, contributes to global hunger and forces third world country farmers off their lands commonly due to so-called "free" trade agreements that benefit multinational corporations.
Potholer54 on Youtube has an especially great video series on climate change:
As with all information, it is important to evaluate the truthfulness (in all things). Think - does this make sense to what I have perceived in my life and the real world? What are the sources? What does the science say about this or that and how legitimate is that science? It's good to question things and think.