The Gravity of Global Warming

Antarctica is melting faster than you can say “global warming is fake,” and despite an abundance of scientific proof, many are still denying it even in the face of impending disaster.

Joseph Rivas, Columnist

Antarctica melting sounds like to plot to a big-budget film that portrays a world where the oceans have risen to catastrophical heights. It sounds fictitious but, unfortunately, it’s not far off from what may happen in the next century if things continue the way they are. The truth is, the Antarctic is beginning to melt faster than it ever has before. The sea water is getting warmer, and coastal winds blow those heated currents around the continent’s coasts, melting the ice from below. This is leading to massive ice chunks having no underneath support and breaking off to melt off-coast.

The areas that are most at risk have an average melting rate of 60 cubic kilometers a year and when they melt they’re are estimated to remap the earth’s coasts completely. The water will drive many coastal communities further inland in flatter areas, like Bangladesh, to already overpopulated areas.

Global warming has been, for generations now, the subject of controversy, debate, and innumerable political bumper decals, but it’s never been more pertinent than now. The international governmental and scientific community tends to agree as many countries are holding conferences to find alternative solutions that may just be our saving grace. Regardless, the United States still lags behind.

In the face of overwhelming evidence, the mere existence of global warming is still being debated in the United States, and this has shocked many around the world. Despite the reaction, it is not uncharacteristic of the United States, a country largely motivated by the accruement and use of fossil fuels. To the rest of the world, the American “Denier” has become a type of macabre joke, a farce on America’s seemingly ignorant outward appearance. Not only is this debate hurting our international relations, it’s also going to deeply impact the environment for the worse.

The fact that places feeling the direct effects of global warming, such as Texas, have a population that majoritively denies the existence of global warming is appalling and a good snapshot of just how unfortunate the entire situation is. To make a mass realize they’re wrong would take an event that brings the reality to light for everyone else. In the case of global warming, it won’t be pretty. Even in places in the U.S. where the population believes global warming is a problem, the American way of life is so deeply entwined with actions that are harmful to the environment, such as industrial pollution and fuel consumption, that there is a profound irony in acknowledging the problem while simultaneously perpetuating it that is distinctly American.

Apart from the situation in America, many countries in Europe are actually attempting to make changes. France recently held a solutions summit that was met with protests with many stating that the proposed solutions were either disingenuous or not good enough. The protests were met with violence from authorities as they were in violation of the temporary protest and assembly ban following the Paris attacks. Despite the attempt to make changes, the scientific community remains doubtful. These changes won’t be immediate and are almost always long-term; the amount of change needed to slow down the situation with Antarctica is humanly impossible. Scientists are saying that Antarctica will melt and little can be done. At this point, the only thing we can do is look past it and focus on avoiding similar predicaments.

As for the deniers and their arguments, most of them are either false or misinterpreted fact, such as the increase in ocean ice meaning that global warming is a lie. It is true there has been an increase in ocean ice but this means almost nothing because ocean ice is water that melts and refreezes due to weather; the continent is still losing ice and that doesn’t disprove global warming. Worse yet, the single biggest discrediting fact about the deniers and their supporting organizations is that most are funded by companies who profit from non-sustainable fuels and crude oils, it’s in their best interest to deny its existence because acknowledging it would hurt their bottom line.

Along with their rigidly written scripts and zealous parroting of rhetoric “Big Green” as the new buzzword, it’s a cheap play on “Big Oil” which very much exists but unlike “Big Oil,” it’s almost entirely fabricated. Yes there will be companies who benefit from green energy, but they are not doing it in an environmentally harmful way, unlike their competitors who benefit from the loss of everyone else. It all comes down to the fact that green energy has way less of a harmful impact on the planet and humanity. Other claims like “wind turbines kill birds” are farcical and come off like a poor comedy bit, but without the self awareness that would make it funny.

As much as I hate to be the one to say there’s nothing we can do about this, it’s really all I can say. Unfortunately, there is practically nothing we can do to stop what’s already occurring. Generations upon generations of pollution, ignorance, and, at times, blatant stupidity has lead to this and it’s not like we didn’t know something bad would come of it. We had ample warnings but our vices seem to have gotten the best of us. Looking forward, we can hopefully take this as a global slap on the wrist and make the changes we should have made in the first place, but damage has already been done. When we finally decided enough is enough is genuinely up to us, all of us, no matter how old or young you are, you are the decision maker in this. I strongly recommend taking a long look at your life and what you do and ask yourself if all of it is really worth it, because for me personally no luxury or unnecessary amenity is worth destroying the only home we have.