The modern society is facing a lot of problems related to environment. Be it the pollution due to industrial gases being released in the ocean water, or harmful gases released into the air we breathe, troubles are never ending. Where does it all lead to? A major catastrophe facing us today is the global warming. Look at the events that shook us in the past few years – heat, fire, storm, and flood, all this is like Mother Earth is warning us about something.
These extreme weather conditions, which used to occur once or twice in a decade, are happening more frequently, due to global warming. Causes of global warming are plenty. But, before going into the causes, let me share the experience with the survey conducted on the questions given, and look at what people think of global warming.
What is global warming?
Earth is a planet, which allows life on it because of the balance it allows. Not too cold in winter, and not too hot in summer, (as against its neighbouring planets Venus, the hot planet or Mars the colder one) Earth offers a plethora of wonderful things, like water, air, sufficient space, etc.
With the increase in pollutants, man- made chemicals and automobile exhausts, etc., certain equilibrium is shifting. While a certain degree of rise per year is normal, for the past 30 years, the average temperature has increased alarmingly, with 2012 offering one of the hottest years in a century.
Since, biologically, human being or animal adapt slowly to the surroundings, this sudden change in temperature might be harmful to them and other living things on earth. While a change occurring naturally is uncontrollable, like a Tsunami coming up after earth quake, or the earth quake itself, global warming is controllable. This is because; majority of the reason for global warming is man-made.
It is predicted that the global surface temperature has increased by at least one Fahrenheit from 1800s, which is quite alarming. There are many environmental agencies, working on this global warming and finding solutions that are going to control global warming.
Since everyone knows about global warming and its impacts, selecting a particular city, was not very difficult. Increase in heat wave in summers, is a regular occurs in our city. So, the survey was conducted here, and people were selected at a random. The place picked out was a park nearby, and on people who love the peace and quiet the greenery would give them. While a person visiting a pub or a night club might not be very concerned about global warming, at that moment, people moving around a park was a better selection for the environmental survey.
Most of the people were very happy to take the survey, and on an average, the age group which was happy to take the survey was from 30 to 50.
Many people, when asked about the global warming, were happy to talk about it. According to the survey, most of them agreed upon one fact that global warming or the increase in average temperature has resulted because of pollution. Though the survey may not be correct scientifically (because many people do not the exact terms used), many people have spoken about global warming with clarity.
They believe that with the increase in population and globalization, things are moving up so fast for the environment around us to assimilate, causing various changes. Coming up to the questions about what are the causes of global warming, many of them felt that setting up too many industries, and with them releasing so much smoke is causing global warming.
Scientifically, though it is supposed that the carbon compounds are causing global warming, a scientific reason is that the pollutants in the air form a layer in the atmosphere, not allowing the heat reflected back from the earth’s surface to go back into space. The heat is trapped between the gas surface and the earth (surface), and these heats up the earth. Since gases dissipate, sometimes, the atmosphere is not too full of them, say, like in forests or remote areas, where it is cooler than cities because of less pollution. This shows that the automobile exhausts are the main cause for global warming. (Firor, John, 1990)
When shared with this view, many of them agree that the pollution from automobiles have caused global warming.
Since we relate saving environment to recycling things, to avoid digging into nature’s resources further, this question about recycling was used.
Surprisingly, quite a number of people have said more than twice a week, proving that people are becoming more conscious towards the environment. When asked about if they can live to see the worsening of global warming, in spite of the age group (middle age) people feel they might not be here to see the worsening of situation.
Selecting an age group from 30 to 50 was not a conscious decision, though it has been very useful. The reason behind this is that, when a student from a school is asked about it, he might be conscious about environment, but would not be too willing to take a few minutes to attend a survey and participate in debates pertaining to environment. At the same time, a person reaching the age of 30 and above, would have dealt with a lot of things in his life, and develop a conscious thought towards his surroundings.
There are many impacts of global warming. Some of these impacts can be seen and realized very well, like rising sea level, increase in temperature in summer, melting of Antarctic ice, etc. and some impacts are not felt so strongly, but will be seen in time. When asked about what they feel about the impacts, the answer mostly was generalized versions, like sea level is increasing or about how ice is melting in down south. (Gray, William, 2000)
Some of the questions about the country they feel is most polluting or whether the global warming is becoming worse proved to be too technical. Though people have tried to answer the question regarding the country, they were not very correct or technical while selecting a particular country.
A park is a very relaxing place. People with time in hand, or with the purpose of exercising or reducing their stress, come here. This proved to be a good place to survey, because, people are in a relaxed mood. A surprising event which was both exciting and amusing was how an impromptu debate happened as to the major causes of global warming and the people responsible for it.
The debate lasted for quite a long time and more people joined in and had opinions to convey. It was a learning experience too, because, with so many people around, you tend to learn things from others which you have not heard about. It was a good feeling that the survey had helped people to come out and discuss an issue, which is common to them all.
Though talking about environment or worrying about how a solution is brought about happens all the time in the media, print and all others, discussing it in a sudden debate was fun. (Conway, Dennis, 2005)
Solutions to such global problems cannot be sought after in one day.
Each drop makes an ocean. So, each step taken towards saving the environment, be it sending an email in the place of using paper to convey information to a crowd, or recycling an old bicycle, would go a long way towards minimizing global warming.
We can only minimize pollution or global warming. Stopping such a major calamity altogether, will take another century of good and clean living. There are certain aspects, one cannot avoid in today’s world. There are some points discussed through the debate that happened during the survey, and also some from the internet, which can be discussed to get a clear picture. (Buddy, M.I., 1982)
A chemical, called as CFC or chloro fluoro carbons was used as a refrigerant in refrigerators. Because of the excessive damage caused by the gas on global warming (as a greenhouse gas), this chemical is banned totally. When none knows that taking a poison, either a fast one or a slow one, is going to destroy then, one stop taking it. This was a similar step towards the better environment. Many such steps would lead us finally to our goal.
One thing is certain. Automobiles cannot be banished from earth, and we cannot revert back to driving bullock carts or bicycles to reach places. We need our automobiles, speed trains, aeroplanes, which we invented quite painstakingly.
So, to find a mid-way – to protect environment, as well as to take care of our needs, a mid-way solution is necessary. That is where the environmentalists and chemists come in. Fuel used in automobiles is dug from earth’s surface. Though earth’s surface provides a lot of treasures as nay mother would, there is some limitation to it. Already it is feared that the fuel resource is depleting and we might end up without gasoline in a few years.
When mankind can invent so many things, he or she can also invent an alternate fuel which will not pollute the environment, as gasoline is doing, and which will also not deprive the mother earth of its resources. This would be a perfect solution for clean earth, and in long run, an earth free of global warming.
A survey often ends up with people ticking up forms and not interested in what they are really replying to. This survey though, was very interesting, because, it is a topic widely discussed worldwide and is a concern for everyone living on earth’s surface. Either you belong to China or USA, you would face the same natural disaster like global warming, may be the time frame would be different.
Because of the topic, and the place selected, the survey was very much a success, and also enlightening.
Budyko, M.I. The Earth’s Climate: Past and Future. Academic Press. 1982.
Conway, Dennis. Global Change: How Vulnerable are North and South Communities? 1995.
Indiana Center on Global Change and World Peace.
Duplessy, J. Variability of Earth’s Climate. Commission of the European Communities. 1990.
Firor, John. The Changing Atmosphere: A Global Challenge. Yale University Press. 1990.
Government of Canada. Global Warming-is it occurring. 1997.
Gray, William “Get Off Warming Bandwagon,” BBC News Online, November 16, 2000.