University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Global warming – a serious warning
I have a dream, that in a near future, the people of this world will come together as one. We could all come together as one and leave all our differences of color, religion, and political views behind us, to stand together to face what Bill McKibben calls the greatest challenge and threat mankind has ever faced: global warming. In 2007 Bill McKibben, an author, educator, and environmentalist, wrote the article, “Global Warning: Get Up! Stand Up!” to persuade people that we, the people on earth, have caused, and are still causing, the climate changes that have been taking place over the past decades. More than that, however, McKibben explains that something still needs to be done about it. McKibben uses extreme, yet reasonable, examples and methods to convey this message effectively.
Global warming is the result of the greenhouse effect, which has increased since the human race started to burn fossil fuels in order to extract energy. When fossil fuels are being burnt, greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, set free into the atmosphere. The accumulative pollution causes the atmosphere to reflect heat radiation back towards the earth, instead of letting the gasses disappear into space, because the ozone layer gets thicker. However, without the greenhouse effect, our planet “would be 33 degrees Celsius cooler“ (“McKibben” 4). Since the carbon dioxide has already increased by one third in the atmosphere since the nineteenth century, the effect will be stronger and therefore more heat will be kept inside the atmosphere than before. This phenomenon, called global warming, leads to a hotter climate; as a matter of fact, the earth is today hotter than it has been in over 2000 years (“McKibben” 5-9).
Warming – that word almost sounds inviting, like we all might live in a world twenty years from, that could be a tropical paradise where the extent of our problems would be pondering what Spf sunscreen to use. That is not the case, though. Thousands and thousands of climate scientists agree that global warming is not only the most threatening environmental problem, but one of the greatest challenges facing all of humanity throughout humanity’s entire history (McKibben 595). To maintain the average temperature we need here on earth, the glaciers and the North Pole ice are a big factor because when the exact amount of ice melts, it evens out the ocean’s temperature and therefore stabilizes all the different ecosystems. All ecosystems are dependent on whether the temperature is just where it should be or not.
In addition, some experts and people argue that it is not us, the people who have caused the climate changes; they claim global warming is a natural occurring phenomenon which has nothing to do with the actions of humans. They say there is not enough of proof to say that the human race is 100% responsible for the changes now taking place. They claim that events like these have been taking place regularly throughout the long history of earth, and there is nothing we can do about this (“The Galileo” 591-593). “A 54-year-old oceanographer […] discovered that temperatures a thousand years ago, during the so-called medieval climate optimum, were two degrees Celsius warmer than today’s [average] and that the average temperature over the last three millennia was slightly warmer than today’s” (“The Galileo” 591-592).
As a pretty active environmental activist from Brazil, a country advocating a change of living to reduce global warming, I can relate to many of McKibben’s attacks and aspects expressed in his article. According to McKibben, the most urgent thing right now is to recognize that there is a mix of solutions that can be implemented worldwide and instead of focusing on arguing about what is needed to be done, we need to take action. In other words, the most important thing is not what we do about it, but that we do something about it. All the people in the world have to start living under the “same roof”; we need to do what it is good for the world. To me, stopping global warming is so much more than just “saving electricity” or “walking instead use a car’’. Stopping global warming is about taking responsibility, not just for ourselves and our own actions, but for our friends and family, as well as our nation and the world that we live in — Earth. Stopping global warming is about the most honorable thing a man can do — saving lives.
“About Bill McKibben.”Bill McKibben. N.p., 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2010. “The Galileo of Global Warming.” Perspectives on Contemporary Issues. Ed. Katherine McKibben, Bill. “Global Warning: Get Up! Stand Up!” Perspectives on Contemporary