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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Think green, not greenhouse”

    For the past few months, I have been trying extremely hard to hold back my green politics. Let’s face it, a lot of people think environmentalists and then think tree-hugging lunatic activists who will push their theories on the danger of melting glaciers and the horrific damage technology is doing to the world on you, eventually convincing you to abandon civilization and live in the redwood tree next to theirs.

    Coming from very eco-conscious community of Marin County, where crocs are condemned as the shoe industry’s evil spawn and fur is only cool when it’s on an animal that’s still alive, I have run into my fair share of enviro-nutters. However, the bright side of living in an area that is so in tune with its environment is the knowledge and attention paid to our ever-changing world.

    So when I hear the endless flow of misgivings about global warming and climate change, it becomes increasingly apparent that what the general public thinks they know about our changing environment and what is actually true are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. These misgivings are dreadful not only because they are wrong, but also because they influence us to make bad decisions for our future and for the future of generations to come. I urge you, for the sake of your environment, to take the next few minutes and learn the truth:

    Misconception #1: The greenhouse effect is dangerous.

    Asking around, I have found many people who don’t know the difference between global warming and the greenhouse effect, or for that matter the difference between global warming and climate change; having once said, “”Yeah, the greenhouse effect is totally killing the planet. . .”” I can empathize.

    The fact is, however, that they are not the same thing. The greenhouse effect is when gases such as methane, CFCs and CO2 warm the atmosphere by re-emitting heat the Earth gives off via terrestrial radiation. Global warming is the effect of increased greenhouse gas emissions, which raises the earth’s temperature. A world without a greenhouse effect would be so far below freezing that your blood would solidify. You want a world with a temperature warm enough to sustain life, so to some degree the greenhouse effect is a good thing.

    Misconception #2: Climate change is

    natural; we don’t have to worry about it.

    Yes, climate change is a natural occurrence and has happened many times in the history of the Earth. But life on this earth is fragile, and most plants require the climate as is to survive. Global warming on a massive scale will increase droughts, create greater instability in the atmosphere and turn the crust of this planet into an oven.

    We’ve already seen the effects of minute changes in climate composition: heat stroke and related deaths caused by heat waves in Britain or the rapidly melting

    VatnajÇôkull Glacier in Iceland. No matter the cause, human or natural, climate change may be normal but our existence depends on it staying the way it is.

    Misconception #3: We have to become eco-friendly in order to save the planet.

    Let’s not kid ourselves; the planet does not need saving. No matter how much smog we emit from our factories, if the pollution we produce blocks out the sun, even if every single species on the ground withers and dies, the planet will still be here. It will be so full of toxic gases and atmospheric instability, however, that the Earth you see when you look out the window would be the most distant of ecological memories.

    Think of the image you see when you look at satellite pictures of Venus and contemplate for a minute if that is the earth of the future you want to imagine.

    Some may believe in the moral righteousness of sustaining the ecosystem for the greater good, but forget the politics. Self-preservation is nothing to be ashamed of, and the sooner the real motives for sustaining our current global climate are acknowledged, the sooner people will take an interest in our impact on the environment and try to clear up these misunderstandings.

    Hopefully the recognition of our stake in our ecosystem’s well-being will influence our community enough that we’ll all be proud to call ourselves green.

    – Jessica Fraser is a freshman majoring in journalism and political science. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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