The future of humanity is a subject that has long been discussed and despite that, it is still shrouded in an impenetrable mist of obscurity. We see before us vague possibilities but a clear, paved road to what will happen after our time is beyond our sight. What lies in the future may be a space age brought to us by the development of technology and science, or even a destruction of our world by nuclear war between world powers or asteroid impact, we don’t know.
But one thing is clear to us: there is a barrier between the present and the future that we must overcome to ensure the continuity of human life as we know it which is global warming. Provoked by the thoughtless exploitation of the earth’s natural resources by mankind, it threatens to engulf the world into apocalypse. Such a crisis as the world is now facing calls for closer international integrity and the action of the world as one, unified piece and not as separate fragments: united we stand, divided we fall. Let us now take a look at what global warming is and how this disaster can be averted.
I will begin with some key words: floods, storms, tsunamis 100 feet high, worldwide drought, famine, plague, war, complete destruction of our civilisation. Now, you will probably be under the impression that I am referring to Hollywood disaster films like ‘2012’ and wondering why I am referring to such irrelevant and far-fetched topics. Actually, it isn’t an extract from films. Ladies and gentlemen, this doomsday scenario is what the world is facing in half a century if we do not take significant steps to prevent this disaster according to an overwhelming majority of the world’s top scientists.
If you look at the 4th Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), you will find exactly what I have mentioned earlier on though, no doubt, in milder terms. Summing up, a temperature rise of up to 6. 4 degrees Celsius and an increase in sea level of 59cm at maximum is due by the end of the century. This will bring disasters on an unprecedented scale including the complete melting of the Polar Ice Caps, an Ice Age in Europe due to the shutting down of the North Atlantic Drift, and so on.
These catastrophic changes in climate will cause a serious crisis in the world’s economy, which will, in turn, bring about conflicts between nations to seize the remaining resources of the planet and possibly cause the world to be destroyed by nuclear war. All these grim prospects are very shocking, and the mere mention of these predictions is enough to make people, including me and you, quail in fear and despair. But there is a way to solve this problem, which is why we must get a grip on ourselves and resign our hearts and our brains to the task of finding a solution to global warming.
The solution to every problem can be found in the roots of the problem. This applies to global warming, too. Why did global warming happen? Its origins date back to the 19th Century, with the discovery of coal, which sparked the Industrial Revolution. We then started consuming massive amounts of fossil fuel such as coal and petrol, which replaced wood and animal power as our main energy source. The burning of fossil fuel injects a huge amount of carbon dioxide and other gases into the earth’s atmosphere.
These gases, which are named greenhouses gases and include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane, trap infrared radiation, which is actually solar heat reflected by the earth’s surface, inside the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect. The emission of greenhouse gases during the past 150 years has increased greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, causing global warming. To summarise, it is none other than the excessive use of energy extracted from fossil fuel that has caused global warming. It is now time to take a look at possible solutions to climate change.
The easiest way that we can help minimising carbon emissions at home is to cut down on our daily use of fossil fuel. A few examples of this are using less electricity, choosing public transportation over private cars and taking cold showers instead of hot baths. These simple actions of reducing our customary extravagances could make a lot of difference in the future of our world. On a wider scale, research efforts to produce more carbon-efficient vehicles and other machines using fossil fuel, and trying to produce electricity rather by nuclear power than by fossil fuel would be very effective measures to emit less carbon dioxide.
But these suggestions may be used only as methods to put off the so-called ‘evil day’ when our world will end under the surmounting pressure of global warming. Global warming started with the use of fossil fuel as energy, and it must end with the use of another source of energy. The sole fundamental solution to this threat is but the development of environmentally friendly renewable energy to replace fossil fuel. Renewable energy sources are appropriate as an answer to global warming because the resources of energy are almost unlimited and they pose no danger to the environment.
These would include water, wind and solar power, geothermal heat, biomass and hydrogen. Only with the use of these clean energy sources will we achieve sustainable development where economic development and environmental preservation coexist and with that, the elimination of global warming, which is a major threat to our civilisation. Thus far, I have shown you the urgency of global warming and why it needs to be countered with speed. We have recklessly destroyed the earth’s environment through the most deplorable exploitation of Mother Nature’s resources.
But the planet is not a possession of a few generations of humans for their welfare. It is in the ownership of all species and all generations of the present and the future. It is our duty to ensure that the world will be inherited to our descendants in a state as we have received it from our ancestors. We stand on the very edge of a cliff to which there is no bottom. Falter but one step, and we will fall into that black precipice from which there is no rescue. It is a matter of simple choice.
We may choose to ignore the signs of peril coming from the four corners of the globe and hope that the problem will disappear or only affect our descendants. It is possible to think this, what can the minute actions of one person prevent the destruction of a world so enormous? But our unison as one whole, as I have mentioned at the beginning, will prove strong enough to change the tide of global warming that is swelling and invading the shores of humanity. Our efforts will take money, time and energy but we must make that effort if we are to avoid the greater loss of our existence.
So what will you choose, ladies and gentlemen? Will you choose to turn your head to the very storm that approaches and wish that it will pass, or will you raise your head, accept the facts as they are, hope against hope and try to solve the problem, doing your part as a citizen of the world? Think about what our children will say; that we made the right choice and passed on to them a green and healthy earth, and decide, now, which option you will take. I ask you, my audience, and further on, all mankind, what path will you choose?