We have been an exceptional country for as long as we have been in existence. We have overcome kings and monarchies, race wars, world wars, civil wars (that were all but civil), industrial and technological revolutions and the unjust treatment of US citizens. We will have to continue to be exceptional because we have to endure yet another challenge: the globe.
According to a story by The Economist, we have entered the Anthropocene age as preceded by the Holocene age in which Earth’s climate was suitable and stable enough to support human life.
The Anthropocene age is a time where a species that has been a part of this planet for less than one percent of the planet’s entire life is changing the geology and biology of the planet. According the story, everything that happens on this planet is almost at the point of becoming dependent on what humans do.
Now you can look at this two ways. You can see this as an opportunity to realize our place on Earth and among our 7 billion other human counterparts. We can come together using our ideas and the most fascinating and unstoppable force in nature: the human brain. Or we can blame other people and other countries for the atrophy of our natural resources and air quality and continue to “kick the can down the road.”
As with anything, solutions are not simple even if we have the technology and will-power to make changes. In an article by Fast Company, they predict that changing to clean, renewable and efficient sources of energy would cost the world about $1.9 trillion. And with our current state of the world’s economy, money interests will definitely take precedent over an issue that people are still skeptical about. This makes it that much more difficult for us to work on something as one globe.
Money makes the world go around to some, but to many, the Earth and its bearing of fruit, rice and grain are all that matters. To the US, who accounts for less than five percent of the world’s population, whatever we say and do will have an effect on the masses of the globe for better or for worse. United Kingdom Climate Secretary Chris Huhne says that if we don’t act soon, things may get worse exponentially because climate change means depleted resources, refugees and migrant populations running into other countries. And as a result, we would see more threats of war and violence which would lead to more refugees and migrant populations. It would be difficult to reverse at that point in time.
Really though. How can you really blame the skeptics? They cannot see climate change and if you cannot see something, it is out of your awareness. So the issue of climate change doesn’t really exist in their minds. Also, it’s always interesting to listen to people who feel that the US economy is one that is based on global ties, but the environment and air remain within territorial boundaries…
If we continue to live in excess and in bliss our descendants can thank us for making sure their situation wasn’t any one country’s fault of today. Thank God it’s not our fault. They can also thank us for poorer living conditions than the ones we have enjoyed so much. Because we all know, saying it wasn’t our fault and ignoring valid threats are the surest way to make sure problems get solved. And the law of physics which state that matter is never created or destroyed doesn’t apply to us when we burn fossil fuels, trash and pollutants. Once all of our trash from landfills is burned, that’s it. It’s gone and we never have to see it again. It’s not like those pollutants are changing from solid to gas and creating new, more harmful chemicals that we breathe every day. That would be silly. As long as it’s out of our sight and out of consciousness, we don’t have to deal with it. And that’s the most important thing.
*Here is a chart from the US Drought Monitor which shows the increase of extreme conditions in the southern states. In 2000, we had little to no cases of D4 drought conditions. Eleven years later, we have experienced a ten point increase in the amount of D4s.