CA is Knocking Out Global Warming
Everyone has been long aware of global warming and its dangerous repercussions. However, now scientists has come up with rough estimate of how much for the Earth is left and it is around one hundred years and then the planet becomes less suitable for habitation. Therefore, now the issue becomes even more urgent: what should be done to prevent radical climate change that can render the planet less habitable. The US state of California takes this warning seriously and attempts to contribute to the solution of global warming by arranging Sustainability Weeks and other environmental projects, bringing about ballot initiatives, and introducing sustainable programs such as recycling. Although people on personal and local levels also attempt to do their share to impact climate change, the gravity of the world’s ecological situations requires a joint action of government and corporate players.
Scholars, scientists, and journalist offer different solutions to climate change but, seeing that very little changes, some suggest people to try a different approach to this issue. In “Climate Revelations,” Auden Schedler argues that the environmental awareness can become a subject that can capture people’s attention and actually can make people’s life meaningful, just like religion. In fact, religious organizations have started to include environmental issues into their agenda. The point is that “the universal human need for a sense of meaning in our lives” can be realized through taking care of the planet on the large and small scales and getting back from it the sense of “grace, dignity, redemption, and compassion”. Those who decline a suggestion to make a ‘religion’ out of anything can be favorable to a shift of focus in the environmentalist perspective. In the environmental documentary This Changes Everything, Avi Lewis suggests another narrative – to reshape people’s lives in order to live in a sustainable way. People are very reluctant to change their everyday habits such as having fact cars, warm houses, and urban places. Not everyone wants to live in a wooden cabin in the forest and tend to a vegetable garden, as it is an epitome of sustainable living. Lewis suggests, “Bold shifts can increase our quality of life and with no sacrifices” arguing that if a focus is shifted from a personal input to communal action, then people will see that it works and will join it (Lewis). This paradigm requires an active position on many environmental issues and requires people to hold government and big players accountable for the damage their did to the environment.
Now when people are more aware of their own possibilities and opportunities, they see their responsibility in creating awareness about the problem in society. This month, Santa Monica College held Sustainability Week where participants and visitors could learn more about climate change and what each can do to reduce it. Workshops and activities were organized in such a way that people could learn how each personally can pitch in solving separate issues of global warming. For example, visitors could attend a workshop to learn how to compost and grow your own food. Booklets and leaflets were distributed with information on bad habits such as releasing balloons, because they are dangerous for marine life, failing to clean after domestic animals, because their feces may get on the beach by the drain, failing to collect garbage so it ends up in the gutter and then in the bay and so on. Also people were suggested to correctly sort waste and see that is hazardous and should be correctly utilized, what is organic and can be turned into compost, what can be recycled and what can be thrown away (with effective recycling hardly anything ends up end up on the landfill). Naturally people could donate their money because environmental awareness requires financing. However, there are many projects and initiatives where people can participate without paying a cent. Additionally, the Santa Monica College has Sustainable Technologies Program and recycling is one of the main points on the agenda. Such a wide range of environmental projects shows that people are not only aware of the issue, but they also actively participate and do what is possible.
However, apart from personal involvement with the cause, these initiatives should be supported by legislation too so that the government was able to implement necessary measures on a large scale. With this intent each state has a right to submit petitions on a regular basis and the most successful ones, those which get the necessary amount of signatures, are brought about for a vote. There can be different amounts of election days per year. The nearest one for California is November 8, 2016, and concerning the subject f environment the issue of plastic bag will be voted. Proposition 65, Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund, serves as a means to gradually come to a complete plastic bag ban by allocating 10 cent from each carryout bag purchase to the fund that will redistribute the money for various environmental projects. Another local initiative concerns air pollution. At Sustainability Week, there was a stand of the Sierra Club’s local Clean Air Campaign. Clean Air Campaign is initiated to exert pressure on the South Coast Air Quality Management District that does little to address the problem of bad air in California. In fact, Southern California has never reached world standards for air quality (The Times Editorial Board). Therefore, this issue can be addressed at hearing at Sierra Club’s Clean Air Campaign.
In order for environmental programs and projects to be efficient, all participants of pollution should join in in their efforts to change the damage that is threatening to become irreparable. The largest pollutants are industrial corporations and big factories. They should be first who adopt clean energy technologies, recycle their waste and dispose trash correctly. However, despite the encouragement from the government and the general awareness of the problem, many large companies still make near-sighted decisions. In 2012, the city of Oakland began rebuilding a military base into a bulk terminal for “alfalfa, grain, potash, wind turbine parts and other products” (The Times Editorial Board). However, only in 2015 it became known that coal was intended to be handled there as well. Amidst the joint action to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used in the industry, Oakland companies decide to allocate a new territory for coal storage and shipment. One of the reasons that invokes indignation is that the coal to Oakland is shipped from Utah in uncovered hoppers and it will accompanied with “more than 600 pounds of coal dust per rail car [being spread] over the course of a 400-mile trip” (The Times Editorial Board). Another detail that the public should be frowned upon is that the city of Oakland will contribute to the world’s fossil fuels consumption. Climate change affects the whole world and there is no point to make one country clean whereas the rest of the world wears masks against thick smog. While the US states jointly try to reduce fossil fuel dependency and thus affect the world’s pollution, Oakland attempts to shift pollution to other countries. In the article “Is Humanity Suicidal?” E. O. Wilson explains that “this myopic fog” can be explained from the evolutionary viewpoint because “a premium was placed on close attention to the near future and early reproduction, and little else”. Therefore, modern corporation owners and high officials who permit their actions act according to the evolutionary law inside of us. However, as homo sapience they could get hold of their mental activity and explain to themselves that the time for dilly dallying is up and they entered the period when they can witness the ruinous effects of their economic activity.
The main point that everyone should realize is that the unity is a guarantee that global warming can be overcome. If only a small amount of people live in a sustainable way, it will not work on a large scale. The Oakland case illustrates that even if the whole state does its part of sustainability, the corporations are not environmentally aware enough to realize that they cause damage to the world’s ecology with their methods of money making. Getting rid of fossil fuels in the US but shipping the American coal to China or India will anyway contribute to the greenhouse effect and pollute the planet. Such relapses are very discouraging because common people read about it in the news and then think, Why we should make an effort and correctly dispose car oil and clean our driveways with a broom rather than with a hose, Why should be make an effort at all if it makes no change on the larger scale? Even though there are conscious people who do not release balloons so that seagulls would not get hurt by them, overall such good actions turn out inefficient on a larger scale if it is not buttressed by a large number of people doing the same. And large corporations take themselves out of this equation of good deeds and reduce other people’s efforts to zero. However, this setback only points out that there is a lot of work to be done and people can be real power. So each should join in and make a difference in the issue of climate change.