Our ancient forbearers were masters of survival, splendid examples of Darwinism at its best. Endowed with a tremendous edge over its furry competitors, prehistoric man was able to fashion the tools of survival, form small communities and fend off rival ones to insure the survival and improvement of the human gene pool. The radius of what an automobile can travel in an hour was a universe to prehistoric man, and thus early man had no inking of anything as abstract as a “global concept.” Today, modern man still hunts – metaphorically speaking– still forms small communities, now called “social circles,” and still has no real notion of a “global concept.” Unfortunately for the survival of our species, the global concept is not stamped in our genes and it is not intricately linked to our behavior. Our species simply has not had time enough to evolve an innate sense of an interdependent world community; however, this awareness has now become crucial to ensure our lasting existence. The global concept exists only in our intellect –and only in the consciousness of the few –it is certainly not embedded into our very instincts. This genetic flaw now has dire ramifications that are wrecking havoc on our fragile planet, of which we are the pathetic guardians. And for the first time in human history, what we do at one corner of our planet affects every other part of our precious sphere. Our global interdependence is particularly significant in relation to global warming.
Unfortunately, many today do not accept global warming as a matter of scientific fact, choosing instead to brush the issue aside as a mere case of liberal paranoia rather than be confronted with the immediate necessity of having to make significant lifestyle changes. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reached the conclusion that there is at least a 90% chance that global warming can be attributed to human causes. In fact, the overwhelming consensus of the world scientific community is that global warming is the result of human activities. This stark reality cannot be denied or ignored, considering its ominous long-term consequences. So, why are the three largest contributors of heat-trapping, greenhouse gases: China, the United States, and India, completely non-committal in the holy quest to eventually reduce these deleterious emissions to pre-industrial levels? It is because industrial giants, such as the U.S., are reluctant to make the necessary short-term sacrifices and adaptations that are associated with a major infrastructural overhaul. And this is why the Copenhagen conference, which aspired to get a commitment out of all nations of the world to reduce greenhouse gases, concluded in a dismal failure.
Rather than wait for dilatory governments to make the necessary changes, for the first time in human history, each individual inhabitant of this planet has the power to save our civilization from eventual disaster by making ecological friendly decisions. Here is just a few things that each one of us can do:
- Purchase an alternative fuel vehicle (buy electric), or at the very least trade in those gas guzzlers for fuel efficient vehicles and/or drive fewer miles each week.
- Become vegetarian or vegan, or at least eat less meat from cows, because the cattle industry accounts for 80% of the deforestation in the tropical rainforest, which not only absorbs a great deal of CO2, but produces 20% of the planet’s oxygen.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which are much more energy efficient than conventional light bulbs. If everyone did this, it would circumvent tens of billions of CO2 gases from being released into the atmosphere.
- Recycle, especially plastic, because fossil fuels (a leading cause of C02 gases) are used to create new plastic products.
- Raise the thermostat a mere two degrees in the summer and lower it two degrees in the winter, and properly insulate your home.
- Buy solar panels and embrace other forms of eco-friendly energy. (Nuclear power is neither a clean nor safe alternative.)
More than any other time in human history, we must not only consider our immediate gene pool, but that of future generations, far removed from our transitory and humble place in the cosmic time span. This form of altruistic foresight is not easy for humans to achieve, given our inherent genetic flaw of focusing on our immediate gratification, but if ever there was a time when human reason needs to triumph, it is now.