Something akin to panic is communicated onto my sterile computer screen, then my furrowed brow and soon my troubled mind when I sit alone, in the dark of my room and explore ideas and possibilities. Turning the light on and the computer off doesn’t dissolve my disturbed mood; nothing does until the outside can creep in and warm me. It’s usually a human voice; something more real than the essays and articles I read on global warming and remote ice caps that melt slowly every year. The fear settles until someone with a weaker sense of reality can convince me that “something is being done” by environmental scientists and none of it will affect me when I am dust.
In just the last fifty years, humans, namely Americans have virtually remodeled the Earth and everything on it. We have changed its landscapes, wind patterns, migration routes, and weather; diminished its greenery and killed its animals. Nature did not seem a force that could be controlled and yet it has been. We are conducting an inadvertent global experiment by changing the face of the entire planet. We are destroying the ozone layer, which allows life to exist on the Earth's surface, clearing the majority of the earth’s forests, and disrupting countless ecosystems. The result has been an unfavorable alteration of the composition of the biosphere and the Earth's heat balance. If we do not slow down our use of fossil fuels and stop destroying the forests, the world will become hotter than it has been in the past million years. This warming will rearrange entire biological communities and cause many species to become extinct.
The desperate plight of the environment should by all means be the first priority for every single government and person on this planet. With today’s common knowledge of what might happen in the near future if significant changes aren’t made in the lifestyle of most people it’s hard to understand why 70 million cars continue to vomit their poison into the air everyday. All around the world environmental activists fight to preserve our patches of rain forests and wetlands, as well as protect a variety of fragile but important ecosystems. In all major cities, advocates of environmental conservation annually propose plans with alternative modes of transportation and energy-efficient appliances that will every citizen would be mandated to use. Even if instituted gradually, these changes could really make a difference. Usually, these efforts are in vain.
The majority of people are not willing to make any drastic changes in their lives. Energy-efficient refrigerators and electric cars are available but they are different; beyond a simple trip to an appliance store or the car dealer, there are more steps involved in acquiring one. In our consumer-driven society, it has become acceptable to waste; waste energy, waste water, waste time. Lifestyles have been established and most people, though they might have watched the special on PBS and read the article in Time don’t...