The meaning of global warming is quite literal; it is the real rise in general temperatures of the globe. Based on the trends that are now visible in the world climate, drastic changes with negative implications have been witnessed. In fact, it is easy to understand the meaning of global warming when it is defined as a general increase in the temperatures of the earth.
The changes recorded in the world’s climate are mainly due to human activities (Houghton, 2004). Man’s efforts to industrialize have been at the forefront in causing the undesirable changes on the climate (Maslin, 2007). In fact, the negative implications of these activities have resulted in most of the effects associated with the global warming trends as seen in the world today. People are mainly looking at the issue of global warming with varied opinions. Environmental scientists from various quarters have developed their theories about the topic. In consideration of the different cause and effects trends, the problem of global warming can be solved if all nations devote their efforts and resources wholly.
Different viewpoints and conceptions exist on the subject of global warming. Gore (1992) and Maslin (2007) recognize that global warming is not meant for a particular country; it affects every nation. The negative impacts of global warming are experienced by all people. This is in fact one of the reasons that has led to the widespread debates concerning the issue. Nevertheless, for the world to be freed from global warming it is imperative that governments and other bodies combine efforts towards some useful activities such as creation of awareness and development of appropriate measures for control (Gore, 1992). Over the years, several changes have been experienced with regard to global warming.
Due to the widespread discussion and debate about the subject of global warming, people have tended to dismiss it. Different personalities have been in the front line towards addressing the issue of global warming. There are those who have tried to write material that is seen useful for the understanding of the people about the issue of global warming. For instance, Gore (1992) has written useful material that relates to the topic of global warming. He explains the degradation of beaches as being a consequence of global warming. This has had far-reaching effects on marine life with some of the species being on the verge of extinction (Houghton, 2004). The effects of global warming have also led to the diminishing of the polar region (Gore, 1992). The polar region plays a significant role in the global climate system. When the hot Himalayan winds pass over the region, they gather moisture and become humid resulting in rainfall in the adjacent regions. Furthermore, the world’s greatest rivers have their source in the polar region.
The degradation of the polar region will have devastating effects on the world’s eco system. The decline in the number of polar bears is attributed to the melting of ice glaciers as this affects their life pattern. Winter is shortened and therefore the polar bears find themselves being forced out of hibernation earlier than usual. They are then forced to swim over long distances before reaching increasingly drying land due to the melting of ice. This is a long and dangerous journey whose chances of survival are marginal especially due to the numerous predators they encounter along the route of migration.
The developed nations are the main contributors to the process of global warming as they engage in massive industrialization in order to sustain their consumer driven economies. Nevertheless, the effects of this phenomenon are hardly felt by developing nations, which are increasingly faced by prolonged drought, thereby leading to food insecurity. Currently, nearly half of the population in Sub Saharan Africa is faced with starvation where people are surviving on wild fruits. Their lands are very fertile but they lack water to sustain agricultural activities. Surrounding rivers and streams have dried up and the weather patterns are no longer predictable; there are uninterrupted periods of drought followed by heavy rainfall referred to as El Nino.
In spite of the threat posed by their activities, developed nations are not doing enough to mitigate the effects of global warming. The United States, which leads the pack as the leading emitter of green house gases, is yet to ratify the Kyoto protocol, which has been imposed on the developing nations. The main argument behind their adamancy is that the protocol, as it is, will lead to a significant decline in its industrial activities thereby giving other developed nations an edge over it economically. This is, indeed, a self-serving argument aimed at individual preservation at the expense of the entire universe. As Gore (1992) observes, half of America’s waters are already polluted as result of industrial activities.
The need for world leaders to come up with an amicable solution as related to global warming cannot be overemphasized. This is long overdue and the more they procrastinate this very crucial matter, the more the world is exposed to the threat of total destruction. The survival of future generation may as well be a myth. It is upon the current generation to hand them a lifeline just as the preceding generations have done. The subject of global warming and climate change must therefore be accorded urgent and uttermost attention for this and other key factors (Gore, 1992).
To begin with, the developed nations must work towards reducing their carbon emissions to those stipulated by the Kyoto Protocol and other environmental treaties drafted by international organizations. In this regard, one of the most innovative concepts developed in a bid to stem global warming and the resulting climate change is that of carbon trading. Under this program, countries that are successful in regulating their carbon emissions are awarded carbon credits, which can be sold, to other nations that fail to do so.
In order to achieve this goal, the developed nations’ main focus should be on their manufacturing sectors whose practices are blamed for the change in climate patterns. Most of the carbon emissions come from industries as they engage in various manufacturing activities (Maslin, 2007). Industries are being forced to adapt what are referred to as green strategies fronted by the architects of the green campaign (Houghton, 2004). This is where corporations are commended based on their ability to enforce environmentally friendly practices, which is reflected in the products. For instance, German vehicle manufacturer, Daimler Chrysler, which makes the Mercedes Benz limousines, has received various accolades at the international motor show for their efforts in developing environmentally friendly vehicles (Maslin, 2007).
Fighting the effects of climate change is a collaborative effort, which should be undertaken by the respective governments and the citizenry. It is the obligation of the governments through their various institutions to create awareness on the importance of environmental conservation among the members of public. In addition, Maslin, (2007) believes that national governments bear the greatest responsibility in promoting environmentally friendly practices among their populations. In this regard, they should be at the forefront in developing programs aimed at enhancing environmentally safe waste management practices (Houghton, 2004). A good example of this is the categorization of waste at the point of disposal to make recycling easier. People should also store plastic bags that are to be used every time they go for shopping instead of getting new ones from the grocery shop after they make their purchases.
Based on the above discussions on the negative effects of global warming, an observation can be made that if no action is taken, restoring the global eco system will be a monumental task (Houghton, 2004). Global warming is not a single country’s challenge; rather it is an issue affecting the world in its entirety. America produces more waste than other nations yet the impacts are experienced even in those nations that have almost zero percent waste emission (Gore, 1992). Proper enforcement of international environmental policies by all the stakeholders will go a long way in addressing the issue of global warming. This may only be realized through in-depth understanding of the causes and implications of climate by all people irrespective of their race, creed, age and social status. Simply put, all nations have a role to play in the fight against global warming and climate change.
Gore, A. (1992). Earth in the balance: Ecology and the human spirit, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company
Houghton, J. T. (2004). Global warming: The complete briefing, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Maslin, M. (2007). Global warming: Causes, effects, and the future, Minneapolis: Voyageur Press