Cloudy With a Chance of Acid-Rain: How to Turn Our Blue Planet Green

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It is hard for many to take environmentalism seriously.  Even the term ‘environmentalist’ lends itself to harsh and humiliating social terms that make the practice seem unfashionable.  The public’s perception of environmentalists always ties into ‘liberal’ agendas.  This misconception is a dangerous idea that has been allowed to fester and will be the death of the planet and all living organisms on it, unless it is changed.

The issue of protecting the ecosystems, the inhabitants of, and the planet itself is not a political issue.  It is an issue of humanity, and an obligation of the rational-beings we have evolved to be.  Homo sapiens are the most successful macroscopic being on Earth, and have developed the ability to reason (though some choose not to), and therefore, have the duty as apex-species to protect the ecosystems that we are destroying with our gross overpopulation and the consequences of our advanced societies.

I submit to you, a plea to actively pursue a change in mindset of how the average person affects the habitat in which they reside.  Americans in particular are extremely passive in attempts to minimize the harm that they do.  To change for the better, we must have a reform of the way we live our lives, as well as supporting funding for clean resources and energy requirements for the technology we use.

Human beings are the most harmful thing to ever happen to planet Earth.  We are one of the most adaptable organisms on the planet, we are an apex-species, and our brains are developed to the point in which we can affect the entire planet as a collective, be it for good or harm.

Cane toads were introduced to Australia in 1935 with the aim of eliminating an insect that had been effecting sugarcane growth in parts of the country.  The effects of the toads on the ecosystem were unprecedented.  Now, almost three quarters of a century later, the toads are overpopulating and killing many large predators that have not had time to adapt to the toxins in the toad’s skin.

These toads do not have the mental ability to understand the harm that their presence is doing to the ecosystem.  Human beings do, and yet, choose to abstain from real solutions.  With our ability to rationalize actions, we have an obligation to protect and preserve the land and species we affect.

The problems of our overpopulation of the planet are much more wide-ranging, but just as harmful as the Cane toads in Australia.  Human beings are polluting the oceans, destroying the atmosphere, and pushing species that are unnecessary to our survival into extinction.  It is no coincidence that populations of cows, chickens, and pigs are booming, while the populations of snow leopards, giant pandas, and white rhinos are dying out.  These are not a result of natural selection, but of our infringement into the territory of those species, as well as the selfish slaughtering of those animals for parts.  It can be debated if the end to Darwin’s natural selection inevitably comes with the destruction of all species on the planet, except one op species, and a few others that are allowed to continue as sustenance, but does not have to be that way.

Outside of the challenges our species causes to other living inhabitants of the planet, we are pushing gases into the atmosphere that destroys our only protect from the sun, while defiling our planet’s natural sources of drinkable water, and condemning the rainforests, which are the planet’s source of 80 percent of its oxygen.  As a result, we are committing a mass murder/suicide.  Humans are destroying their own sources of water, oxygen, and cosmic protection while simultaneously condemning any creature that still lives, or would continue to survive after we perish.  It is impossible to morally justify these actions.

Whether one chooses to ‘believe’ it or not, scientists in all fields agree that global warming and the greenhouse effect are occurring.  Cosmic rays from the sun are becoming trapped inside our atmosphere, causing rapid changes in the temperatures and weather conditions of our planet.  Whether global warming is happening rapidly or not, immediate actions are necessary to prevent any more damage, or one day soon, our beautiful blue planet will be as desolate and as uninhabitable as Venus.  We caused this process to accelerate, with the air pollution we allow (and I’m not talking about Justin Bieber).

It was not until the 2000s that recycling became ‘fashionable’ in American society.  Though European countries have been recycling since the 1970s and in some cases longer, it is not enough to stop the destruction that the materials we use and pollutants we throw away cause.

Big business markets ‘green’ materials to consumers because those items sell, not because those items are better for our planet.  Companies are still largely unregulated in the products that are manufactured, the pollutants from machinery that are spewed from factories, and the materials used in many household products like Styrofoam.  Citizens must actively support legislation and legislators that will endorse regulations on companies large enough to affect the planet on a massively-negative scale.

We, as consumers have been fed the idea that ‘buying green’ or reusing grocery bags is enough to protect our planet and its resources, but that is false.  These are passive activities that, while mildly-effective, do not give substantial support to the wildlife and natural resources on Earth.

The mindset of “I will help the environment when it is convenient for me,” must change.  Support regulation on the largest producers of pollution.  As electors, we do have the power.  If it is the focus of the vast majority of constituents, the elected officials will follow or they will be unemployed.  Help control human overpopulation, in any way you can and curve the destruction of our ecosystem for artificial growth.  The power is in our hands.

Every person must take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.  The human mind is not often used to look at the world in a broad spectrum, and I fear action will not be taken until much more luminous problems arise from our actions.  By then, it will be too late.  Look beyond yourself and strive for humanity, not the individual.  Advocate clean energy, low-emission transportation, and reusable materials.  Support those who would do well for the environment.

The planet will be here tomorrow, whether or not you are.  It is imperative that you live proactively to ensure the continuation of our personal cosmic wonder.

 

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon

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42 thoughts on “Cloudy With a Chance of Acid-Rain: How to Turn Our Blue Planet Green

  1. “Homo sapiens are the most successful macroscopic being on Earth, and have developed the ability to reason (though some choose not to)[…]” – that is, in fact, the root of the problem… Brilliant article!

    Reply
  2. I agree, we need to be responsible stewards of the earth. Reckless abandon doesn’t do us any good. But your suggestion for regulating everything takes the responsibility to reason off of individuals and puts it on governments.

    For a while now I’ve thought that when a person doesn’t have to make decisions because someone else does it for them then that first person loses their ability to make healthy decisions. What do you think about that?

    As a human population there is a lot we can do to take better care of the earth, each other and all other living things, but it has to come from individuals and then the collective. I don’t think top down works very well in man-made systems. I know I argue for it a lot, but these dramatic changes have to resonate with individuals who make individual choices towards action.

    Also, can you clarify what you mean by “help control human overpopulation, in any way you can”?

    My belief in a creator God leads me to believe that the earth can handle however many people are on it and that we don’t need to worry about population size, just management of resources, which I believe is possible. That’s just how I believe, I know many people don’t agree or share those views. I’ve always wondered what the ideal population size is though, for people who believe there is an overpopulation problem. Is it possible to even conceive such a number scientifically?

    Thanks for the topic of discussion!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the questions. Obviously, I do not have time to address all opposing points in a 1200 word piece, so this gives me a chance to expand.

      The push for regulation does not take responsibility off the people. In fact, it is up to the people to make sure the regulation is in place and is being carried out in the best way possible. Yes, the government would control that process, but it would be up to the people to control the government that represents them. I think that is the illusion of government regulation. The government is not an entity of its own power, but of the power of the power.

      The next section is about human overpopulation. I respect your right to believe in a creator god, so please do not take offense to my response because it is not with the intent to offend. Whether or not the belief that there is a creator god is used, we have to understand that scientific data that we collect. The mere presence of human beings in their current state (with 7 billion people on Earth) is harmful to the planet in many ways. Aside from the limited land area for people to live, humans produce natural gasses (same as almost all living macroscopic animals) that would naturally destroy the atmosphere. Additionally, the problem stands that human technology is also producing gasses that are accelerating the deterioration of the atmosphere to an almost irreversible rate.

      We are not managing resources and are not controlling our growth. To answer your question about population size: I do not think there is an ideal population size. I address that question with my idea about natural selection, and questioning on whether or not that inevitably comes with the destruction of all other species. If the way I describe the Earth, with only one dominant species and only a small number of sub-species allowed for the dominant-species’ sustenance, it does not seem like a very good balance. However, from what we can observe of the cosmos, the universe is not forgiving and anything but a fair balance of matter.
      I hope I could address your questions.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply. I’ll elaborate a bit on how I believe God factors into the equation for me. I believe God created the earth for people to inhabit it and gave a commandment that we “multiply and replenish” the earth. He also gave a commandment that we care for the earth and all living things. If God created the earth for us then I don’t think overpopulation is a possible threat. Also, I’m not offended by it, but I don’t necessarily like the idea that humans are nothing but a plague to the earth. We aren’t a disease. That being said, it isn’t right for us to destroy our home. Anyone who claims belief that God created the earth and all things on it, in my opinion, should respect those creations enough to not ignore their destruction. So I agree there needs to be some increase in effort for taking care of the planet.

        As far as government goes, yes, the U.S. government should govern by the voice and power of the people, but does that really happen? I lean towards no. The government shouldn’t exist as a separate entity from the people, but I’m afraid it does. How many people ignorantly vote in elections? How many people actually know about the candidates and what the issues being decided are? Society’s problems should be discussed nationally and debated by everyone, but for the most part it is left up to the few who are elected. The population at large casts an ill-informed vote and then lets the politicians take care of it. That’s what I mean by government regulation taking responsibility off of people. I agree that the way you explained it in your response is how it should work, but I don’t see it happening that way.

        Thanks again for replying to my questions.

      • Thank you for elaborating. I respect the point of view that you hold but I must support the statistics that our scientists are taking in the most objective way possible have to be taken into more consideration than that of mythology. Also, please note that I do not mean any disrespect by using the term mythology because I use it as Merriam-Webster’s dictionary does: (df. a popular belief or assumption that has grown up around someone or something).

        I do understand your apathy towards the government, because I feel it too. However, the system, while it protects itself from the people, is not above the collective ability of the people. If an ideal is desired, it will be enacted by those that we elect. The solution to the ill-informed masses is our education system and its many flaws, but that is a topic for another post.

      • Agreed.

        I consider science and statistics to be mythology in some cases, given the literal definition of mythology. For me science is man’s attempt at understanding universal truth. And since I believe in a God of the universe then science is simply what man uses to understand what God has created and/or abides by. I say this to offer my perspective. We both feel strongly about our beliefs, and both are valid methods of thinking. To be honest, hearing my beliefs referred to as mythology does come across as mildly condescending, but as you explained, it does fit the definition, and though I’ve never considered that before, I do appreciate it. I hope my initial defensiveness to your response didn’t taint this response from me. What do you think about science being called mythology? Do you think that is fair?

      • We are getting into dangerous territory because religion is a topic in which people get much more defensive about as opposed to other every-day topics. That being said, I would argue that science could not be called mythology. Mythology: popular belief or assumption that has grown up around someone or something.
        (1) Science is not a belief structure, but a way in which to question and verify that our perceptions, natural or aided (infrared telescopes, for example) are valid.
        (2) If I could get pragmatic for a second: Mythology has no concern with distinguishing truth value from belief or assumption, because truth value is implied by its finality. Mythology presupposes that the answer is already known, therefore, ending the search for new knowledge. By contrast, the chief concern of Science is with the reconciliation of truth value to follows the belief that is held. Science follows a belief only insofar as that belief stands up to a myriad of criticism and testation before it becomes a ‘belief,’ while also withstanding all new testable data afterward.
        (3) Finally, it is important to understand where the two practices come from:
        a. Mythology and religion are both from the same line because they come from untestable observations, which were then recited over generations and eventually written down. They are both a way in which to understand the majesty without questioning it any further.
        b. Science comes from philosophy (and a few practices like alchemy). Philosophy is aimed at looking beyond one’s self and understand actions, movement, change, and thought in a way in which is consistent with observations made by the thinker. Science has the same aim, but has a different way in which the process is carried out. Neither field ever presupposes knowledge or comes to a finality (although many Philosophers would defend their observations to the death).
        You may be surprised but my response was difficult because I am not religious, nor would I call myself a scientist, and so I tried to use language that would not offend either side. As a philosopher, that is the way I have come to understand the two, and differences in them.

      • I think you explained it very well. I think some people do see science as a belief system. I would also argue that religion is an untestable or untested belief in something that is final without any pursuit of further knowledge. For me religion is a structure of belief that can, but doesn’t always, pick up where science leaves off. Science is an objective study, like you said, using telescopes and experimental methods, leaving little room for doubt because of strong evidence. Well, I consider true religion to be a subjective study (because it all occurs internally) that answers the questions science can’t answer. Science can’t answer whether or not there is a God, but religion can, and it takes the same scientific method to do so.

        If I have a question about a principle, I research it, study it out in my mind, live it, and then ask God through prayer. This requires faith, but doesn’t every experiment to some degree? The results of this experiment are felt in the heart and mind, but for me, at least, this is every bit as real as what can be measured with lab equipment. Jesus said we can learn the truth of what he taught by doing it. That’s experimentation.

        You clarified that mythology has no concern with establishing truth from belief or assumption. If this is mythology then religion is not mythology. Religion can, and should, determine truth, and it should encourage eternal progression with learning and increasing knowledge. Some religions don’t do that, instead they are used to control or used for the profit of one individual at the top. These aren’t true religions. To me, a true religion will bring a person closer to God, improve every aspect of their life (even though it will likely require sacrifice and hard trials) and encourage the pursuit of knowledge. That’s what mine does for me anyway. I fully recognize that it is something that I have decided for myself and while I can testify and witness of it I can’t communicate it to someone else in the exact same way as a peer-reviewed journal article might. I do believe that the subjective experimental design I followed is replicatable, however, so anyone could follow it. But again, it requires the desire to believe, which some people might claim nullifies any subjective-objectivity that may exist in the process.

  3. cars, cans, bags, oil, etc do not cause pollution. People cause the degeneration of the ecosystem. Reducing the individuals impact is great but not a solution. Only a finite number or any species can inhabit this finite planet.

    Reply
  4. I like how you made the point of “green” being fashionable. It’s true that many people today bring their own reusable bags to shop. But why? Because they truly want to make a difference, or because they have been peer-pressured into it by guilt? On the occasion when I’ve forgotten my bags, I can practically feel the stares of others as I shop, and the painful stab when the bagger asks, “Paper or plastic?” I can feel judgmental eyes boring holes into the back of my head. How many have made the switch to “green” solely because of this? Granted, I’m excited when anyone makes any type of positive change, regardless of motive. But still, how much more of a difference could we make if we got people to CARE?

    I don’t want to downgrade small efforts. I salute those who reuse water bottles, who wash their laundry in cold water with less soap. Every change helps, and if we tell people their changes are useless, they might just throw up their hands and quit. Of course, we don’t want that. But it can be overwhelming. Just thinking about how much change would be required to make a real difference, it seems like a looming mountain of impossibility. I hope that soon we find a solution that will really work and that will inspire people to change. Until then, I’ll continue saluting the self-baggers and the recyclers.

    Thank you for visiting my blog!

    Reply
  5. “Even the term ‘environmentalist’ lends itself to harsh and humiliating social terms that make the practice seem unfashionable.” This, I think, is a specifically American phenomenon,just like the evangelical, fundametalist type of religion (which is, I guess, connected to it) and something to really fight against. I don’t see this here in Europe, although Europeans are also contributing a lot to the destruction of the world and don’t do enough to stop it.

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  6. “The public’s perception of environmentalists always ties into ‘liberal’ agendas” – an excellent point and typical of the way important ideas can be hijacked and forced into a space they don’t really belong in. To everybody’s detriment.

    Reply
  7. Thank you for your impassioned article. We have in the past, as a species, been able to forgo short term desire for long term goals – witness rationing during WWII. We need to cultivate not only awareness of all of us as valuable, but we also need to practice patience. That may seem counter intuitive – in the wake of such devastating data on climate change. Gandhi was able to lead with the concepts of Ahimsa and Satyagraha. Satyagraha means the Insistent Force of Truth – a term he coined. he also wrote “I have also called it love-force or soul-force. In the application of satyagraha, I discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one’s opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and compassion. For what appears to be truth to the one may appear to be error to the other. And patience means self-suffering. So the doctrine came to mean vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on oneself” in terms of patience. Ahimsa means compassionate non-violence and a striving for non-injury in all relations. Thus we can insist that we and others have the power- you are so very right – ‘the power is in our hands.’ our very own personal hands – not of blame, but of personal action. Do both – Carry your own water, and help save the water of the planet with political action. Refuse the convenience of a bottle of water if you forget your own.

    Reply
  8. Brilliant article. All humanity must realise this. MOTHER EARTH HAS SUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO SATISFY OUR NEED BUT NOT OUR GREED. Population cannot be decreased but can be controlled. Resources should be efficiently utilised.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: The Perfect Weather. | Scream and shout

  10. And you are how old? I am so impressed by your words and how you are able to get readers talking about this topic. Talking and becoming aware is step one towards action. And yes, we need to take action. Mother Earth needs our respect, our gratitude and our care in return for all the resources she has provided for us. Many people are well-intentioned but need guidance in how to move forward. I can see you as one to start the ball rolling. Kudos to you. You definitely have my support.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind words. I am 23 this week. I sincerely hope that people will start talking among each other about these problems. Some may see this type of material as empty and inane but I really believe what you said: “Talking and becoming aware is step one towards action.” Hopefully, our action can being while we still have time.

      Reply
  11. Here here! I find it troubling and confounding when people do not live like their lives matter. I don’t care how you feel or what you think – you are a PART OF this ecosystem, this population, and what you do matters. Dustin, have you read Daniel Quinn – I think you probably have. He discusses overpopulation in terms that make it really easy to understand that the planet belongs to us all. We are not Africans, Americans, Canadians, Peruvians, Chinese, Australians, et al. We are PEOPLE and we share a habitat, large as it may seem. Keep putting your message out there, man. People are listening. I believe the world is HUNGRY for this kind of information. Best, Meg

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  12. Pingback: Cloudy With a Chance of Acid-Rain: How to Turn Our Blue Planet Green | drivechangesite's Blog

  13. One of the biggest problems we have to face – particularly in the US – is the hidden subsidies being given to too many companies by not making them pay for the damage their products cause to the environment. Not only does it give them an unfair, commercial advantage in the market place, but acts as an disincentive for them to adopt environmentally-friendly practices.

    At the moment, big business is not only exporting jobs to China, but the pollution that goes with manufacturing goods for the cheapest price possible. That pollution will eventually reach us all as an unwanted, but unavoidable, import, one way or another.

    Whether it’s pollution or higher prices, ultimately, the costs will have to be borne by the consumer,

    If we don’t start paying the price for polluting the planet now, our children and grandchildren will have to pay it for us. And with interest.

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Is overpopulation a threat to the Earth? | Paul Brodie

  15. Pingback: Is overpopulation a threat to the Earth? | Dustin McMahon

  16. Dustin,

    What you are writing about the environment and people’s potential, often not utilized, for rational decisions, approaches what I am writing about in my posts on Liberty from different angles. Be sure to read back to my former post about the Sparrowhawk novels, and come back this weekend for my follow up post (in draft now) on small democracy. Keep thinking.
    Oscar

    Reply
  17. Pingback: Is overpopulation a threat to the Earth? | PaulBrodie.NET

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