Are we destroying our environment?

Smoke stacks are constantly releasing harmful substances to the Earths atmosphere

Smoke stacks are constantly releasing harmful substances to the Earth’s atmosphere

Whether it is ignorance or simply a refusal to accept the facts, the constant depletion of resources and pollution of the world is leading to the destruction of our environment.

NASA’s website, Global Climate Change, is devoted to showing the realities of climate change. According to their website, 10 of the 12 hottest years since 1880 have occurred since 1980. Also, CO2 in our atmosphere has never exceeded 300 parts per million in the past 650,000 years. Currently, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is nearly 400 parts per million. Studies like NASA’s have shown that greenhouse gases, such as CO2, trap heat in the atmosphere, therefore increasing the Earth’s average temperature. According to NASA, increased global warming is resulting in rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and extreme weather patterns around the world.

Despite the statistics, a substantial amount of people continue to create excuses and justifications in order to maintain certain lifestyles. Some people deny global warming, but if one thoroughly analyzes various scientific studies, it is clear the trends show otherwise. Others remain unaware of the habits that may potentially harm or destroy various habitats, including their own.

One of the main causes for this ignorance is misleading information put out by big businesses and various oil companies to get consumers to believe their company’s byproducts and waste do not seriously damage the environment. They do this by maintaining compliancy with the EPA when in actuality,  they have lobbyists to limit the reach of the EPA and ensure that their waste and byproducts can be disposed of properly.

Another major issue that has slowed down the process of being more “green” in the U.S. is that it has become a political issue. The topic causes a lot of debate between the political parties and prevents much from getting done. Again, big business and oil companies have capitalized on Al Gore’s agenda of global warming which has attached this issue to the Democratic party. In a polarized political climate, it is unfortunate when a political issue is attached to a certain party, then the issue must be opposed by the other party. This has been the unfortunate outcome of the issue of global warming.

This is not so much a politically controlled result, but more the result of corporations which are too powerful and seek more money to have influence over the United States’ political system. These companies are experts at directing attention away from themselves which allows them to deal with business and dispose of waste the cheapest way possible. This, however, this is a small price to pay for the planet’s well-being. Environmentally friendly solutions to the disposal of waste and use of clean energy sources are more expensive and cut profits. Attaching this issue to a political party is a convenient way to continue the practice.

One example of business influence on politics occurred in 2011 with Eric Cantor, Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. Cantor had been campaigning against the EPA, arguing that EPA regulations are anti-growth and are at the cost jobs. However, the intent of the EPA is not to hurt the economic growth; it is to protect the environment. If politicians were truly interested in protecting the current job market, they would be more eager to move into new “green” markets such as: Geo-Thermal energy, electric cars, or wind and solar technology.

It is up us to inform ourselves and research various environmental issues. We need to be aware of manipulative companies who try to give us misinformation that distracts from being good stewards of the Earth. It is our responsibility to take care of our planet and pass it on to future generations.