Global warming still growing

By Jennifer Greenup

U-Wire Columnist The News Record University of Cincinnati

There is still heated debate today over global warming, if it exists, if it doesn’t and humanity’s effect upon the process. Yet telltale signs of its existence are all around us.

The signs we see and hear the most are the catastrophic weather events occurring worldwide, such as hurricanes, violent winter storms and mudslides. In these cases, we know what was lost, yet we cannot prove the true cause. Some consider these events to be natural cycles, while others believe they were created by years of human intervention and pollution.

The subtler, slowly occurring effects of global warming are everyone’s problem, even Ohioans, and it’s difficult to estimate its magnitude.

The New York Times reported Sunday that this is the first year anyone can recall that there was no ice on the Great Lakes.

Two years ago, Ohioans were holding bonfires on the ice and driving across the lake to Canada.

This year, many small businesses that depend on the ice for their livelihood are hurting.

The lackof ice has devastated the economy of these communities. In China, some scientists are concerned that global warming will cause rare medicinal plants that grow on cold mountaintops to become extinct, according to a recent NPR report.

Asian medicine, and perhaps human lives, depend upon many of these plants. Their loss could be devastating to their economies.

But these scientists cannot even prove the plant loss is occurring. They can only predict what may happen in the future. Because of this, critics can argue that these are natural cycles, not something created or accelerated by humans. If scientists cannot agree on global warming, how can we expect our leaders to work together on a comprehensive solution to the problem?

I believe global warming is a real cycle that the earth goes through. However, is humankind contributing to this natural process?

If there is even a slight chance that our behavior is causing the global warming to accelerate, we must rethink our actions. The talk right now is on oil, our dependence on it and its effect on the environment. We need cleaner energy sources and more fuel-efficient cars.

We have that. Hybrid cars are available for not much more than other new cars.

Granted, not everyone can go out right away and buy a new car, but there are many people who, instead of buying expensive SUVs, could make better choices for the environment.We also have significant advances in wind-powered electricity. All that is needed now is financial backing.

And the list goes on, if it was only so easy.

After the devastation in New Orleans, everyone heard talk about restoring the coastal wetland that could of protected the city.

Yet talk is cheap and not everyone is willing to make the hard choices to protect the environment.

Right now there is a case before the Supreme Court that argues property owners have the right to develop the protected wetlands they own.

Will the court agree?

Our leaders are not going to get tough on protecting the environment until we do.

Environmental issues are too numerous and complicated, and we tend to separate them into individual pieces in order to understand them.

But something gets lost in this process. The issues somehow no longer seem connected.

Our nation needs to change the way it views environmental issues. The little things matter just as much as the big and actions will certainly speak louder than words.