There are those who question whether the effects of climate change or global warming are due to mankind or a natural cyclical event. It has been reported that over 80% of the scientific community believes that mankind is the primary instigator, while it is a near 50/50 split within the general populace.
Personally, as I read the continual flow of scientific literature, I am inclined to believe that mankind, through our fossil fuel-based activities, is the primary contributor. As I review the historical data, I can understand the arguments made for a possible cyclical event of nature based on the gradual changes in climate and temperature recorded over many years, as much as many hundreds of years. But the rapid increases - the spikes that run right off the charts - in just the past few decades is, for me, a key indicator and warning that our actions are having a critical impact.
Each month I receive from Seaweb.org, a listing of recently published articles or papers detailing specific studies on the effects of climate change. The latest issue contains 39 abstracts - 39 different studies documenting impacts on everything from microorganisms to the human experience. I receive around that same number month after month.
I have had discussions with many different people regarding climate change and it has been my experience that when I am discussing the issue with someone who leans towards the view that it is all part of a natural cycle - one that could last for decades or even centuries - there is one thing that disturbs me greatly with their position:
I don't hear any solutions. OK, fine, it's all a natural cycle; so what do you propose regarding cities and populations that will be swamped by rising sea levels? Or how about the impact on farmland in industrial states but particularly in 3rd world countries? Or how about the spread of disease due to malnutrition or changing ecosystems and climate? Don't tell me there's nothing we can do. Whether you feel it can be moderated or that it's inevitable, at the very least we must take action regarding the consequences. But what I often hear is, "It's just part of a cycle" and then they want to drop the subject.
Call me proactive or just plain chasing windmills, but whether it's man-made, cyclical, or a little of both, I'm not going down without a fight. If we take the right steps, we can have a positive impact on the quality of our lives whether it's based on prevention, correction, or blind acceptance of climate change.
Not yet sure where you stand? Think global warming proponents are pulling numbers out of thin air? Well, here are a couple of articles from Seaweb's latest listings that you can read, some of the over 300 I will receive within a year's time:
- Assessing the Costs of Adaptation to Climate Change
- Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications
- Climate Change Science Compendium 2009