A few years ago while I was a senior in high school, a friend of mine mentioned that she found it odd that no one had challenged a science teacher about climate change and global warming when the topic came up in class one day. She had moved to Bellingham from Texas and explained that she had always been in a space where there were at least a couple people that would argue about the existence and impacts of climate change on the environment. To be completely honest, I’ve never been in a situation where an extremely small percentage of the room did not believe the scientific evidence of the earth’s changing climate.
So with that in mind, I do admit to fundamentally believing that the climate is changing, that global warming exists, and that man made activities are helping to speed both up. For me, the scientific facts about the changes in the global climates are supported and believable and that capitalism and large corporations have a huge hand in these man made activities. A few weeks ago, I went to go see The Wisdom to Survive, which is a documentary that addresses the connection between capitalism, community and climate change (the trailer below is for that film).
The impacts of climate change and global warming are of course taking a toll on the environment and the wild animal populations and plant species that also call this place home. Some studies and articles about this include:
- Northwest Alaska bird, mammal species could experience habitat change from warming climate, new study finds
- A massive study from the California Academy of Sciences is exploring historical ocean responses to abrupt climate change.
- Climate change is threatening to kill off more Aspen forests by 2050
- Warm waters have caused an increase in starving sea lion pups to wash up on California beaches
- The Amazon rain forest is becoming less able to soak up excess carbon dioxide.
- How do trees relate to climate change?
Climate change and global warming is not just having an impact on the environment – there are also many impacts on people and politics around the world. There is an incredible link between the changing environment and on development, human health, conflicts, poverty, and many other issues. And the negative impacts of climate change (such as low water sources, ability to grow food, etc) have complicated the lives of those living in and the efforts combating poverty around the world.
- Why #BlackLivesMatter should transform the climate debate
- President Obama, others link climate change to public health
- Researchers link Syrian conflict to a drought made worse by climate change
- Climate change linked to a rise in human conflict
- UN Report: climate change will deepen poverty, hunger
- Climate Change to Low Income New Yorkers: Drop Dead
And all of this (like many of the things I’ve written about before) is just the tip of a quickly melting iceberg. Whenever I read or hear about the changing climate and environment, I can’t help but worry a lot and wonder what possibly can be done. The Nature Conservatory has a few ways to help, including possible ways to offset your individual carbon footprint. Recycling, composting, reducing and reusing are all potential steps to take as far as lowering the amount of materialistic stuff made and thrown away in the world. (Plastic, for example, doesn’t really break down ever. Plastic material from as early as the 1960s has been found washed up on some remote islands within the Pacific ocean.)
Planting trees seems like a go to response, but it’s also important to address other issues impacting and increasing the rates of climate change. Small scale farms are also important in the fight – but that also comes with other potential complications as well. The video below is from Fair World Project and is a 17 minute documentary about industrial farming and it’s impact on global warming.
Ultimately, I think reading more, seeing the connections between capitalism, poverty, and climate change, and finding personal ways to combat climate change is just the very very beginning step of learning more and combating climate change and its negative impacts around the world. And everyone’s ways to combat climate change is going to look different – my status as a white middle class US citizen with access to a plethora of resources is going to drastically impact the ways in which I deal with this issue.