Will we adapt to survive?
Article Summary: Based on research found in Nature Climate Change and UAE’s science department findings, climate change could be a much more devastating issue than the world currently believes. As the climate begins to get warmer, agriculture and overall water quality will be affected in various ways, but that is not the biggest issue. According to UAE’s lead science researcher Dr. Carlo Fezzi, “We need to take into account not only the direct impact of climate change, but also how people will respond to such change—the impact of adaptation.” In Great Britain, warmer climates will have mainly positive effects on agriculture, boosting crop production. However, intensifying agricultural practices will be detrimental to the water quality, as more nitrates and phosphates will be released into streams and rivers. Plus, the warmer climates increase the risk of drought, which will cause people to have a larger impact on water availability, which in turn will affect ecosystems and all the wildlife living in them. In addition to farming, energy production, fisheries, forestry and health services would all need to adapt to the new climate as well. Each of these areas adaptations will produce their own effects, which are predicted to be mainly harmful to the environment. However bad it is predicted to be, UAE’s Environmental Science department states that adaptation is still necessary. That being said, UAE also suggests that the world needs to make sure it adapts in an environmentally sustainable way. “Instead of waiting for ecosystems to be in danger and then trying to save them, we can anticipate a potential problem and do something about it before it becomes an actual threat.” (sciencedaily.com) Stated simply at the end of UAE’s article on adaptation, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Ethical Concern: This is an example of injustice because it has become obvious that science technology has come far enough to predict the effects of future climate change and peoples’ adaptations, yet there is very little being done to improve the environmental sustainability of our actual actions. Based on the article from UAE, scientists know what will happen with the environment. Based on this information, they have created both suggestions on what people should do and also predictions on what they will do. The people around the world, us included, need to start living more environmentally consciously as the Earth changes around us. Many of resources enjoyed by humans, especially prosperous societies like ours, are not renewable, and sacrificing some of our nonessential excess is worth sustaining the health of our planet for future generations. We can do whatever possible to use less water, such as short showers, making sure the washing machine or dishwasher is full before turning it on, or even hand washing both clothes and dishes. Plus, we can avoid major contributions to global warming by choosing other modes of transportation, carpooling when we do need to drive, and even waiting until dark to begin using the lights in our houses and other such appliances, to conserve energy. All of these actions may seem negligible, but the combined effect of many people taking it upon themselves to create a more environmentally friendly routine will be very conducive to the future health of the planet.
Question: What other suggestions do you have to either prevent further climate change or adapt in a way that will improve Earth’s sustainability?
University of East Anglia. "Adapting to climate change will bring new environmental problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150320091319.htm>.