It's Cold Outside. Should I Still Care About Climate Change?

It's Cold Outside. Should I Still Care About Climate Change?

Don't lose sight of the bigger picture of global climate change.

Temperatures are starting to drop. The holidays and snowfall are just around the corner. Climate change and global WARMING can be a challenging issue to tackle when your teeth are chattering. Yet, it's still an issue that we need to be aware of even in the colder seasons. There is still a global trend that we shouldn't dust under the rug.

In the midst of a broken world, where does the environment fit in?

There is a lot of debate centered on climate change, especially in today's world. However, what a lot of individuals may not realize is that a plethora of the aspects of climate change are truly heavily supported by scientific evidence. Global warming and Earth's rapidly changing climate has become such a politicized issue, which is rather unfortunate.nThere are many reasons why individuals don't feel obliged to help alleviate the issues that humans have installed upon the Earth. In a world where people don't have access to food, countries are threatened by war, individuals don't have a stable income or families don't have roofs over their heads, the integrity of the planet can seem pretty irrelevant. The pertinent piece of the environmental concern puzzle, however, is that these issues will become of immediate concern for the coming generation. It's extremely easy to brush off an issue that may not directly impact you in your lifetime. That's justified to an extent - This won't hurt me. Why should I care?

Why should you care?

Our society has the tendency to utilize this head-in-the-sand strategy. What happens when our children or grandchildren get hit with the outcome of what generations before have contributed to? Do we care? The fact of the matter is that changes are constantly taking place. You can watch the "vitals" of the planet change over time on NASA's website. You can examine the CO2 levels increasing in our atmosphere; you can see that the global temperature has skyrocketed; you can see the glacial ice sheets melt into near nothingness, and you can see the sea level rising at an alarming rate. Glacial ice has a high albedo, which means that it is reflecting harmful radiation away from our atmosphere and helps to protect the integrity of Earth's atmosphere. When these ice sheets melt, we are left with more water which has a low albedo and thereby absorbs more harmful radiation into our atmosphere. In addition, when that ice melts, water levels rise. Do we care that sea levels have the potential to rise up to 39 inches within the next century? The bigger question may be, do people comprehend what that kind of impact that change would have on our world?

What can really happen?

Three and a quarter feet doesn't seem like that much of a change. People must comprehend just how large our world's water and ocean basins are. If those bodies are rising by that much it causes huge changes in our surrounding environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published several findings and has made a number of projections about what could happen by 2100 if we continue residing on our planet as we are today. A geology professor at the University of Dayton, Dr. Goldman, summarized some of these findings in a lecture. Some of the most alarming impacts include a coastline retreat that would eliminate 30 coastal cities currently populated by 200 million people. Global climate change can also result in altered weather patterns and more extreme weather conditions that may compromise public safety and health as well as yield heavy economic damage. If there is a global increase in temperature, there is also a potential for a shift in agriculture where fertile fields may start to look more like desert regions, which can cause food disparities as well as economic stress. Global warming can also contribute to more heat-related deaths, a spread of tropical diseases into other climatic regions and an increase in vector-borne diseases.

Are there means of prevention?

It can be rather disheartening and almost depressing to think about the current condition of the planet and where it may be in the near future. Global climate change is a vast issue. Eventually, the planet will not be functioning in the same way that it is today. The changes are occurring at such a rapid pace it is an overwhelming task to try to stop it in its tracks. Our society has made great advances in the right direction to reduce its footprint on our environment. The United States has slowly started plateauing in CO2 emissions. The United States can still make huge advancements in renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, reducing deforestation and limiting urban sprawl. Newly developed countries such as China, India and Brazil are now starting to become huge contributors to CO2 emissions. It's challenging to combat international issues such as these because the United States developed through the Industrial Revolution and has gone through similar phases those countries are now experiencing. It is hypercritical to say that those nations should not advance and industrialize. However, our society has gained so much knowledge about how to utilize other renewable resources in order to have progression. There are ways that these countries can start to work towards these alternative ways of energy production in order to reduce the overall compromising of the planet's well-being.

What if we are past the point of prevention?

There are certainly prevention methods in order to slow the pace that humans are impacting the planet. There are a number of ways that countries and individuals can reduce their carbon footprint. Increased research in this field is absolutely crucial to understanding the breadth of the issue and how to make changes in it. However, the changes are occurring at such a rapid pace that it may be time to start thinking of adaptation methods in addition to research and prevention efforts. Adaptation is often much easier for those in a higher socioeconomic class. For example, individuals that are in a particularly at-risk area and need to relocate, need the funds to pick up and move to another region. Once again, global warming often becomes a highly political issue. The debate shouldn't be about whether or not there is an issue at hand. There is sufficient scientific evidence that shows there is clearly an issue. The debate comes in how we are supposed to handle the mess that we have put ourselves in.

What can our future hold?

While the future may appear bleak in the realm of global warming and climate change, there are still steps that can be taken at the individual, local, national and global levels. Small efforts should not be entirely discounted. In fact, small changes are often the beginning of larger scale progression. The biggest goal in the discipline of environmental protection should be to further the environmental literacy of today's society so that individuals can understand how large of an issue our world is facing. It is also important for people to understand how they perceive their moral responsibilities in regards to making the best future for children and grandchildren that will be experiencing the direct consequences of global climate change.

Cover Image Credit: National Geographic

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Diplomacy and Revolution

Creating A Federation With The Nation’s 19,505 Cities, Towns, and Villages, And Dissolving The 50 States Of The Union; Will Prevent The United States Of America From Balkanizing As Its Empire Declines.

As it has become undeniable under the current administration of Donald Trump, the United States has entered its imperial decline as a global hegemonic force. The economic stability of the US dollar as a global currency is wavering and the military apparatus that spans the globe is starting to grind under its own contradictions as an occupying force. As these contradictions start to buckle under their own weight, the economic collapse and military retraction in the United States hegemony is an undeniable calculation. As this economic collapse occurs, the need to reorient economic priorities will be an imperative. As our global military network and apparatus starts to evolve and retract as an occupying force, it will require a new examination of what it means to provide the security of persons in the 21st-century. These questions will be placed in needed context, as external forces press the rapid advancement of these changes; as well as domestic forces trying to acclimate to this rapid transition. As we saw in the past with the Articles of Confederation in the late 18th century, the priorities of the states and their self interests and loyalty to wealth and power place the Federal Union of the United States under threat of internal instability and external pressures that will lead to an inevitable crisis unseen in the United States since the days of the Civil War. To avoid these destabilizing factors, the wise attempt to reconstruct the Federal structure of the United States must be applied.

To do this, we must recognize that our democracy is rooted in the diplomacy between various republics; forming the federation that established the Union of the United States of America under the pretext of the Constitution. Diplomacy must be re-oriented on the municipal level to deal with the shifts of modern communication and transportation advancement; so as to avoid Balkanization. We must keep in mind that Federalism, a federation, is a structure that offers the means of ensuring a formalized diplomatic structure between communities. The Iroquois Confederacy in which the United States Union was based off of focused on representation via tribes; this localized format must be present in any transitional new system. Coupled with a format of modern technological development, a federation of municipalities is perfectly plausible for the various communities throughout the entire United States thanks to current communication and transportation systems; with evolving transportation and communication systems increasing the feasibility and ease of such a networked systems.

We have (as of 2015 data) 19,505 cities, towns, and villages in the United States. As the American empire declines, the calculation that economic divisions will spark a disunity internally must be avoided at all cost via re-federalizing. It is perfectly plausible to create a federation out of the 19,505 communities using representation of each in a federal congress. We have sports stadiums that can house tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of spectators; it would be perfectly plausible create a federal congress using such scales of construction. It would also ensure management of sub regional, regional, and super-regional networks that are internal mechanisms used for unifying local and federal systems. Not only will this new federal system prevent Balkanization and disunity of the American people, it will also offer the potentiality for economic reconstruction with the emphasis on self sustainability and self-sufficiency for every community. Utilizing social contracts such as a Second Bill of Rights to provide things such as food, water, energy, infrastructure, knowledge, and productive abilities for every community and every individuals. Living up to the motto of the United States E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One; as well as ensuring life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in the 21st-century.

Our present is not the first time that the United States has risked division, as already mentioned the Articles of Confederation brought us to the edge of a complete breakdown of the Union, which was operating as only a mere confederation at the time. The slave master rebellion of 1861 that ignited what became known as the Civil War brought the United States further to the precipice of disunity. But as the Union has shown to withstand not only internal strife and division brought on by economic stratification, we have developed a federal system that has expanded its influence around the globe. As we wise up to the foolishness of attempting to assert hegemony over the peoples of the world; we will start to recognize that the survivability of our own systems will rely on a new unifying effort. One that will require nothing less than the declaration of a new Federation of the Peoples of America; guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that set forth to lay the foundations of the United States today. With the same mentality of transition between the Articles of Confederation to the Federal Constitution, and with the pretext of legal declaration such as the Emancipation Proclamation; we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the past through federalizing anew. And through a new Federation, finally creating the principles and ideals that we laid out in our past but have yet to live up to in the present; by becoming at true Union of Peoples.

Cover Image Credit: Shutterstock

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The Importance Of Empathy

How just meeting new people can make all the difference in your life

Merriam Webster Dictionary describes “empathy” as, “The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

During such a time with increasing social, political, and societal divide, a better comprehension of empathy would do wonders to lessen this divide.

Attaining a better sense of empathy allows for one to build upon their perspective and have a better understanding of the people around them. While it may sound too cliche or rudimentary, the best way to build a strong sense of empathy is to explore new things and new people.

In high school I was involved with football, the TV show, the art department, the drama department, the spirit club, etc.. In the fall I attended community college, and now I attend the University of Southern California. I have been able to surround myself with people of different passions, socio-economic backgrounds, and perspectives. All of which makes up a lot of who I am today.

Then while I may have my own preconceived opinions and views, I have fostered some ability to understand the point of views and thought processes of the people around me. Whether it be an privileged high school athlete, or a low-income community college art student, I have been able to interact with people across the spectrum of perspectives.

Surrounding myself with such a variety of people shapes who I am and builds me a stronger sense of self. Then while all these people I have interacted may not be my best friends, nor may I even get along with them all, I at least know where they are coming from and look at them with more than one lens of thought.

From the high school students trying to do something new and build their resume, to the successful college student who just wants to meet some more people outside of their hometown, I cannot stress enough how much getting outside of one’s comfort zone and getting to know people you may have never even spoken to before.

Just by surrounding oneself with a variety of passionate and well-intentioned people, a strong sense of empathy can be fostered. With racial and socio-economic tensions flaring consistently, society would greatly benefit if people just grew better understandings of one another. Once everyone beings to appreciate and value all the different perspectives and point of views that make up this world, a lot could change for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Brown

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