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CICS Climate Change Human Impact

CICS Climate Change Human Impact - Sijia Hao CICS 101...

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Sijia Hao CICS 101 – Section 007 Heather Tidrick 20 April 2011 Human Role in Climate Change Along with the torrents of social, political, and economic change for which the Industrial Revolution is usually credited, the period was also characterized by people learning to manipulate their natural resources and exploit their environment in an unprecedented fashion. Innovations in the forms of new agricultural and energy consumption techniques dramatically increased the standard of living and life expectancy in the first world and reduced disease and poverty simultaneously. However, such progress did not come without cost; due to years of carelessly abusing nature and wasting resources, the world now faces dangerous climate change that threatens both human and wildlife wellbeing, along with economic stagnation caused by a quickly-dwindling supply of cheap natural energy. Spreading awareness among people of the severity and urgency of the issue is the first step to solving it. The online carbon footprint calculator serves as an eye-opening method for information transmission. The results I received were shocking and distressing; the calculator succeeded in its purpose. When I answered truthfully, 4.3 Earths would be needed to supply the necessary resources if every single person on Earth were to live like me. In other words, one person would need nineteen global acres of Earth’s productive area to supply everything he consumes. Clearly, these figures show that the world is in the middle of a crisis because the first world standard of living is unsustainable. 4.3 Earths do not exist for humans to exploit at our leisure; we have only one. As an interesting side note, although my lifestyle would require more than three extra Earths, I answered relatively modestly. I do not eat much meat, I very rarely drive in a car now
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that I live on university campus, and I have not bought new clothes or electronics for many months. I also recycle everything that can possibly be recycled and try to buy local produce when possible. This shows that many Americans could potentially need even more Earths than I would to sustain their lifestyles. Despite the outrageous need for all those Earths to maintain my own standard of living, the next figures were even more alarming. Manipulating the numbers to feign the simplest, most basic, nearly-Amish low-impact lifestyle still yielded 2.7 Earths necessary per person on Earth, or 12.2 global acres of Earth’s productive area. The numbers cannot get any lower just on the merit that we live in America, the world’s richest country, where even the most ecologically- friendly standard of living requires more energy than Earth can supply. A person who lives by such a lowest-impact standard may very rarely purchase new electronics or clothes, but the question assumes that they already own such products to begin with; those goods require petroleum, natural resources, and human capital to produce and ship around the world.
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