I'm not certain about believing what the government tells us anymore, but I do believe in respecting the environment and returning what it gives you. Even if it's not much, I feel like I do my part by turning lights off and computers before going to bed and recycling anything recyclable that I use. Given that I love to read books and I use so much paper for art, eventually I would like to start planting trees. It's just one of those things; makes me feel better to give back.
I refuse. How long have they been telling us now that if we don't start their stupid "reduce reuse recycle" crap that life as we know it will practically cease to exist? It's been over 50 years, and WHAT do they have to show for it? I look out my window into my backyard and can hardly see the sky because of the sea of green that stretches from the underbrush to the treetops. I drove across the US and could go for hours without seeing anything but plants and wildlife.
Let me ask this question: if "global warming," or whatever environmentalist scare-fest you want to talk about, is such a complex and enormous problem, how is it possible that something as insignificant as recycling aluminum cans would have any affect on it?
You're lucky you live in such a nice place. But other places, global warming is taking it's toll. Such as the ice caps, which are melting as we speak. How about the oil spill? All those sea animals die. Oil is not meant to be in the ocean. And you can help. By using a reusable water bottle, you can save hundreds of gallons of oil a year by refilling your water bottle. By recycling, you save another can from being made using oil. Also you save space in landfills by reusing bottles, or to stop them from being burned and having co2 put into the atmosphere. The effect isn't something you see right away, it's something that happens over time.
First, ice melts all the time. It melts, refreezes, melts, and refreezes. Glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking since the last ice age hundreds of thousands of years ago, and it's only since we've had the capability to measure the ice with any accuracy that people have started freaking out about it like it's something new and somehow dangerous. Second, I agree that the oil spill was bad, but the media has a tendency to blow things wildly out of proportion. And the best way to prevent oil spills like that is to drill more on land, and less in the ocean. But the environmentalists won't let us do that, so we have probably billions of gallons of oil underground that are going unused. Third, I think that the same number of new bottles will be made, regardless of whether or not I reuse and recycle my one single bottle. And putting more CO2 in the atmosphere really is that big of a deal. Mankind could never in a million years produce enough CO2 to drastically change the makeup of the atmosphere.
But it's melting at an unnatural pace. It also can't refreeze unless it's cold enough. And what will happen if we start drilling more on land? Creatures here die. Forests are cut down to make room for drilling, and then we have a bunch of ugly pumps where there once a beautiful, thriving place. Have you ever read Toby Alone? It might help you understand the severity of our situation. Also, the companies that make bottles with notice that their sales are going down if people stop buying from them. Don't ever think that a small group of people can't change the world, because in the past, it's all that ever has. And mankind actually CAN produce that much co2. By cutting down trees to make room for that oil drilling you're speaking of, we no longer have anything to soak up the co2, and by riding airplanes we're polluting the air so high up, it can't even get to the plants on the ground. It all started going downhill with the invention of the car, and while oil is more profitable, it's hard to build your mansion with no resources.
And how on earth could anyone know what the "natural" pace is? You illustrate one of my points perfectly: we've only been measuring things that for about a century, and the earth has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. How can we possibly know what's natural, and what's abnormal? And trust me, it is cold enough to refreeze at the poles, and a warming rate of one degree per century isn't going to change that any time soon.
FYI, by far the biggest contributor to both CO2 emission is the ocean. [link]
A few people can definitely change things that are restricted to the realm of human affairs and interactions, but frankly, it's absurd to think that a "small group of people" could have a significant impact on the whole enormous planet. I'm even skeptical that the whole human race (which you could fit on the tiny Isle of Wight off the coast of England--it's not really as big as you'd think) could have much of an impact on the planet.
And let me ask you a question. Do you own a car? Do you fly on planes? Because if you do, but you seem to have such a problem with them, why don't you set the example and sacrifice these luxuries in the name of the planet? That way, it's unlikely that you'll ever get to go out into the world and actually experience the wonders of nature, but at least you'll have the comfort of knowing that they exist without having to suffer from your pollution.
We do know that the ice caps are melting, and eventually it will flood land.
The water being the biggest contributor doesn't surprise me. It's not just the water vapor, it's the pollution in it that's the problem.
Think about it, though. If the human race is that small, then we should have no problem changing it. By the way, the earth IS suffering from overpopulation every year. It's our cars, it's ours planes, like I said before. Everything we consume adds to it. Our products are DESIGNED to break so we continue throwing away and buying. Search "The Story Of Stuff" on Youtube.com.
I ride my bike places. I've only ridden on a plane once in my life, and it was for a school trip. You need money to go places, and I don't have many luxuries to begin with. The toilet in our home is really just a port-a-potty and I live in a solar powered earth ship. I happen to live on the mesa and before that in the mountains, so I am experiencing the wonders of nature, and while I would love to travel, I'm not planning on it until we fix the mess we're in, that I plan on working on throughout high school, college, and the rest of my life. Can you say the same?
Like I said, though, a warming rate of one degree per century isn't going to make things change very quickly. And actually, the earth is cooling right now. So if you are one of the people who is terrified of change, which I can't be sure about since I know nothing about you, start worrying about an ice age, not ice melting.
CO2 is not a pollutant. It's plant food.
And what you just said, "if the human race is that small, then we should have no problem changing it," is a complete oxymoron. It makes no sense. If we're small, we'll have little or no impact. If you're so worried about overpopulation, once again I say set the example and sacrifice in the name of the environment.
Yay green points for you! No, I can't say the same, but I honestly can't pretend to care either. I have flown on a plane at least twice a year to visit family since I was like 3, and since I've started going to college out of state, the number has doubled. Call me selfish. Call me a sinner. I'll have you know that there's nowhere I'd rather be than out in nature. I love our planet, and I believe that we humans should be wise stewards over the earth and it's resources. But I'm also not so full of myself that I think there's any way that I could ever possibly do anything, beyond mowing my lawn, that would change this complex, changing, and immense earth that we live on. Nice talking with you.
It's very sad you think that way, just because you don't see the effects in you're own country doesn't mean it's not happening! Just an example: The African rainforest is cut down to plant wheat and the such which is then used to feed cattle (e.g. huge concentration camp style like cattle farms in texas, those poor creatures don't see a blade of grass in their life..) mc Donalds for instance supports this.. the only problem is. field and farming in the rainforest doesn't last long, the soil isn't very furtile itself- the only reason why the rainforest is so lucsious is that it recycles it's own materials( e.g leaves and fruit that fall to the ground, go back into the earth and into other plants.. this doesn't work for wheat!.. and desertification is the result.. the rainforest is slowly turning into deset so that everyone can have their meat paddies in their burgers
Another example that hopefully makes clear to you why even "little things" can have dramatic effects: let's say you throw some metal in a bush or field instead of a garbage can or instead of recycling it... the metal will (slowly) dissovle into the ground( rain and wind, salt in winter- all that makes it rust fast and it falls apart.. the nearby plants then take those molecules into themselves, not much harm for the plant but let's say a worm eats some of that grass.. he will have a toxic metal overload which eventually leads to his death, but before he dies, a small bird eats the worm and takes in the toxic porportions of metal into himself, a bigger bird or other animal eats the smaller bird and so on until the last in the food chain is reached(usually us humans, it all comes back to us..). So that one can or even a nail lead to the death of at least 3 animals..now imagine everyone doing it -_-
A tiny bit of rust isn't going to kill anyone. What you're using is a logical fallacy called the "slippery slope," where a long chain of events COULD happen that lead to a catastrophe, but the chances of it actually happening are very small.
A note about the rainforests: Like you said, the nutrition content in the soil is extremely low. So if some farmers in Africa or somewhere chop down a few acres of trees to farm on, they can only use it for a few years before there's not enough nutrition to sustain their crops, so they move on to another part of the land. What people don't take into account, however, is what happens with the old farmland. Because the land is no longer used for farming, the trees begin to grow back. You could call it recycling the land itself. There is photographic evidence of this happening in the Amazon.
Now, I'm not saying that I think it's okay for people to blast down miles of forest whenever they feel like it. I think mankind should be wise in our use of the earth and it's resources, but me recycling my tin cans isn't going to help save rainforests in Africa or something. And neither is preaching the green gospel on deviantART.
The ecosystem of a rainforest takes that long to recover because it took that long to develop in the first place, and often times they cannot grow back at all. That and what about the rainforest animals? They are not like seeds, they are not just waiting underground to grow back again when the people move on.
Yes, but unlike the trees, the animals can simply move to another spot in the forest. All of the animals living in a certain tree don't die the moment that tree is chopped down. And for the second time, there are satellite photographs showing the deforestation and regrowth of rainforests as I have described it before. Anyway, I'm glad that there are conservation efforts to preserve ecosystems and protect animals, but recycling a plastic bottle is not going to help in any way.