- ASC presents Take 6, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Dec. 15
- Leeth named UAB School of Medicine assistant dean for strategic planning
- Coping with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
- Enjoy Christmas at the Alys Dec. 2, “The Season’s First Jingle”
- Engineering’s Ning wins ASTM International award
- Collat School of Business unveils sign at celebration
- Heudebert elected master by American College of Physicians
- Anti-aging strategies can improve more than looks
We are responsible for global warming
The Arctic ice sheet melted to a record low this year. By the time the ice sheet hit its lowest on Sunday, September 16, it covered a mere 1.32 million square miles, about 24 percent the total area of the Arctic Ocean. For comparison, when satellite monitoring of the ice sheet began in 1979, the ice sheet covered over 50 percent of the Arctic Ocean at its lowest.
The shrinking ice sheet is one of the most visible consequences of global warming. Not only are habitats destroyed for man animals, such as the polar bear, the loss of Arctic ice will exacerbate the problem of increasing temperatures.
The ice cap acts like the globe’s air conditioner, keeping cool air and water circulating during hot summer months. As the white, reflective ice melts away, it is replaced by dark, absorbent seawater. The seawater absorbs the heat that the ice would otherwise have reflected, heating up the Earth even more.
Scientists used to say that the Arctic might become ice-free by the end of the century. At this rate of melting, they say there will be an ice-free Arctic by the end of the decade.
What are we–the most influential species on the planet–doing about this disaster? Absolutely nothing.
Half of the politicians in this country, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, deny that global temperatures are skyrocketing, and that climate patterns are irreversibly changing. Other, less advanced nations, have not even grasped the concept of global warming. Forests are mercilessly cut down to make way for inefficient, pollution factories burning fossil fuels; smog is funneled from the chimneys into the atmosphere, clouding the Earth in a blanket of poisonous haze.
Even worse, greedy, capitalistic companies with no sense of stewardship are already planning to exploit this tragedy for their own gains. Previously unavailable deposits of crude oil–capped by the impenetrable ice sheet–are suddenly becoming open for drilling.
Attracted like buzzards over a carcass, oil companies are already moving into the Arctic; eager to exploit the deposits of fossil fuels. Once extracted, the use of these fuels will release even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, slowly transforming the Earth into a solar oven.
It is painfully obvious that the current state of the Earth is untenable. Yet we humans are surprisingly willing to turn a collective blind eye to the problem. Though there is not a clear solution, we simply cannot continue pretending that nothing is wrong.
As the sole species responsible for creating this problem, we absolutely must stop pillaging the Earth and attempt to contain the damages. With the destruction of the habitats of untold myriads of species crucial to the global ecosphere, Homo sapiens–along with all other species–may also face extinction.