The Earth is being poisoned. It is a well-known fact; however, a remedy has not yet been offered. Everyday, alarming amounts of toxins are released into the atmosphere, and more recently into the Gulf of Mexico. British Petroleum (BP)--one of the largest suppliers of oil in the world--has dispersed an insurmountable amount of oil into the gulf. As a result of this, marine and bird life in the area has been severely affected. Fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on the fishing season, are being told they cannot fish. As the world demands action, BP’s top executive complains to the media about how he wants his “life back.” Certainly, those birds covered from head to toe in crude want their old life back as well. It has been well-known for a while that the burning of fossil fuels and other natural gases is releasing alarming amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. However now, not only are fossil fuels and natural gas polluting the atmosphere, they are polluting the ocean as well. This an
injustice that must not go overlooked. It is also another example of the world’s
dependence on fossil fuels, harming the planet. Which begs the question: Is man’s potentially catastrophic dependence on fossil fuels worth the planet’s well-being?
Over the past 100 years, the planet has experienced a considerable amount of warming. It is theorized to have several causes; however, two in particular stand out. One would be the possibility that it is human caused, mainly due to increasing levels of GHGs in the atmosphere. The other is the opinion that the planet is currently going through a naturally-occurring warming stage. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Fourth Assessment on Climate Change in 2007, and it reported that GHG levels in the atmosphere have skyrocketed by up to 70%, 80% of which are exclusively increases in carbon-dioxide (CO2) (IPCC 4). CO2 is a product after the combustion of hydrocarbons such as coal, gasoline, and methane. All of these increases reported by the IPCC have taken place between the years 1970 and 2004 (4). Due to this information--and the increase in temperature over this same time span--it is believed by most of the scientific community that GHGs are the cause of this planets warming. However, there are some highly regarded people who believe GHGs are not the cause and believe the planet is warming naturally. For example, Sammy Wilson, Northern Irelands’ Environmental Minister has recently claimed that climate change is “beyond our control,” and that the “resources should be used to adapt to the consequences of climate change rather than, King Canute style, vainly trying to stop it”(Monbiot, para. 5).
The planet is clearly warming due to elevated GHG levels in the atmosphere; in turn, society has an overwhelming need to eliminate fossil fuels. Society needs to become aware of the environmental catastrophe that is looming if GHG levels are not reduced. Because of the...