Proposal to Bring an End to Climate Change
Climate change, more commonly known as global warming, is one of the most controversial issues of the decade. Experts say that there is a 90% chance that human activities are the leading cause of the major changes in our global climate. Hundreds of concerned American citizens have altered their lifestyles in an attempt to combat rising temperatures, yet to completely change one's entire way of living is next to impossible. Even if such a thing were possible, it would hardly be practical. What can responsible, practical people do to make a difference? What, exactly, are we trying to make a difference in?
Simply put, climate change refers to any long-term change in temperature, wind, rain, or snow patterns. This definition includes, but is not limited to, the much-discussed global warming. While there has been an average temperature increase of 1.4 degrees in the last several years, this change, while significant, is not the only one to be concerned about.
The melting of the polar ice caps, experts say, are caused by higher temperatures, yet they carry cold water, and thus cooler temperatures, to places with usually warm climates. "Increased snow," says one researcher, "does not disprove global warming; rather, it does the opposite." Other places receive more rain, rather than snow, because it is too warm for the water to freeze. These shifting conditions create a domino effect on the world's weather systems, wreaking havoc on the climate.
But what can we, as individuals, do?
Truthfully, the individual cannot do very much. Simple things like recycling and picking up litter are nice, but they don't have a significant impact on the world's general environment. The solution to this problem really requires government assistance in changing and enforcing environmentally-friendly laws.
For example, experts say that walking, rather than driving, actually decreases the amounts of harmful gasses expelled into Earth's atmosphere. Therefore, the best solution would be to make driving a federal, or even global, offense.
A 'walking culture' would be better for the environment, because there would be a significant reduction in the amount of planet-warming greenhouse gasses. In addition, walking would be necessary and unavoidable, and, as such, would lead to a country of generally healthier citizens, which would result in a large reduction in health-care costs.
This solution is also patriotic in the extreme. No longer would we have to buy foreign oil from countries we do not want to support in order to produce gasoline. Not only would we be self sufficient, we would spend less money, on both a national and individual level. Americans spend thousands of dollars a year to buy gas for their cars. No cars would mean no gasoline bill. A side benefit? The big oil companies would go out of business, giving more freedom to the common man.
Of course, we must set limits, or we will have more CO2 emissions than we know what to do with. No one may walk faster than three miles an hour. If someone goes over the speed-limit, rather than paying a fine, they should be made to wear a heavy weight on their back.
There are those who will tell you that there is no problem with the global climate. Their proof? "Several Midwest states — including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota— recorded one of their 10 coldest summers on record. Northwestern Pennsylvania recorded its coldest summer ever" (USA Today, Sept. 10, 2009). There was also a snowstorm in Houston, TX, a rare occurrence. Yet some parts of Texas experienced the hottest summer on record this past summer, and, as was stated above, climate change refers to any long-term change.
There have also been those who have been quoted as saying that "What we have here is not climate change, but climate." They are sitting comfortably in the pocket of the racist, elitist right, and should be ignored. They are convinced that, simply because Earth's climate has changed drastically several times in the past, before the advent of global industry, there is no proof that humans are the source of our problem – if, indeed, there is a problem. However, as it is obvious that there has been a change, and that there therefore is a problem, can their argument be seen as anything but a sad joke?
Walking is the way of the past, and the past is the way of the future. We must not advance so far that we fall off the cliff. Save our planet; take a hike.
A/N: So, I wrote this for school (we read "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift and had to write something similar using a contemporary issue), and I got such a good grade, and I was so proud of it, that I decided to share it with the world. This was not meant offensively, so please don't take it in such a way.