Recently, the United Nations held the first summit on the climate change crisis. Scientists warned that high temperatures, rising sea levels, and numerous chemicals in the air cause an imbalance in nature. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded world leaders that they promised to help save the environment a decade ago. But they have failed to step up their efforts.
Guterres said that diseases like HIV, Ebola, and viral infections continue to spread due to the influences of the following?
- Climate change
- Food production
He also warned that as many as one million species face extinction.
“Humanity is waging war on nature. And we need to rebuild our relationship with it. Degradation of nature is not purely an environmental issue–it spans economics, health, social justice, and human rights.”
He urged the heads of state who were turning in via video link or in-person to stop the assault on the environment to save the Earth. He reminded them that they committed themselves to save the Earth decades ago but did nothing. A number of other world leaders echoed Guterres’s words, saying that 2021 should be their year of action to save the Earth’s environment.
Another well-known proponent of conservation, Sir David Attenborough, an English broadcaster and natural historian, is also outspoken about the need to save the environment. He recently suggested earmarking $500 billion for the earth’s conservation every year due to its serious needs.
Climate change concerns continue to rise.
Attenborough has definitely become a celebrity. He recently went on Instagram to share his concerns, and after six days of being on social media, he had five million followers.
He said that years ago, he sensed that global warming was occurring in the 70s. According to Attenborough, he knew that it was a life and death issue when he saw a dead coral reef on the Barrier Reef in the 1970s.
Sir David suggests that it’s very simple to solve the world’s environmental problem. “I think there are two things you could do: One, it’s perfectly simple, don’t waste. Don’t waste power, don’t waste paper, don’t waste food, don’t waste time,” said Attenborough. “The second thing is, convince the man or woman who represents you politically of what you’re concerned about in whatever political system you live in.”
Producer, Alastair Fothergill, agrees with Sir David Attenborough that saving the Earth is a simple fix. He said, “It really depends on your lifestyle, and this is the difficulty in talking about the solutions; we have to always talk about what the human race needs to do as a whole because everyone’s lifestyles are different. You know you could already be vegetarian or maybe you walk to work.”
Alastair’s newest film about the environment, “A Life On Our Planet,” came out in theaters in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Australia, and New Zealand. You can watch it on Netflix.
A film that serves as a wake-up call
The film “A Life On Our Planet” depicts the growing environmental destruction through the decades in the eyes and career of Sir David Attenborough. The film’s goal was to help people relate to the topic, so it was less abstract or disconnected from real life. Attenborough warns that as wildlife declines, our own destruction isn’t far behind. He addresses each decade of his life, explaining how the natural world’s decline is near and any vestiges of wildlife face certain doom. It’s a scary film. But most reviewers were infatuated with Attenborough calling him much loved and respected. In his native United Kingdom, he is, indeed, a national treasure.
The film has gotten high reviews for the emotional appeal and somber mood. Many people who believe the film’s claims wonder if the much loved and respected Attenborough’s urgent appeal is enough to make the changes needed.
Interestingly enough, in an interview in 2018, Sir David Attenborough suggested that giving dire warnings about devastating environmental issues was a “turn off.” He said that emphasizing this type of warnings about the planet would be acting like an “alarmist” and would be like “proselytizing.”
It would seem from watching “A Life On Our Planet,” that he’s changed his mind on being an alarmist. Most who watch the film said the film is horrifying until the last 30 minutes when Attenborough offers a glimmer of hope only if everyone on the planet completely changes the way they live.
Interestingly enough, there are no disagreements with Attenborough and his film’s assessment of the earth’s condition. Typically, on controversial issues, there are many opinions. But on this issue, if there are opposing sides, they are either quiet or not allowed to share their disagreement.
The climate change controversy
Today, one of the most polarizing scientific debates related to the environment is climate change. It’s as controversial for the public and for scientists as well. Although there are a growing number of people who adamantly disagree with climate change, you don’t hear about it very much. For the most part, the public believes most scientists support the idea that climate change is human-made. The public also hears messaging that a catastrophe on the earth is shortly due to climate change.
But like other scientific debates, an oversimplification occurs. People begin to mistrust science so that people either decide that climate change is an absolute real problem or they decide it’s a complete hoax. In reality, scientists rarely agree on any scientific issue.
Geoffrey C Kabat, in his scientific article, “Taking Distrust of Science Seriously,” said the following:
“To overcome public distrust in science, scientists need to stop pretending that there is a scientific consensus on controversial issues when there is not.”
Telling the public that 97% of scientists believe something is a political and confuses the public. Many people have far less, if any, scientific knowledge. These scare tactics emphasize catastrophic situations. Scientists call those who view things in this nuanced way deniers of the truth. The fact is that climate change is very untestable and very complex. There are many missing pieces of the puzzle.
Scientists have few controlled studies on climate change. They have measurements of temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels. The idea of greenhouse gas isn’t new; researchers discovered it over a hundred years ago. Scientists have some specific points of disagreement about climate change. What they know and what remains unknown puzzles most. Regardless, the public is led to believe that scientists understand everything about climate change.
This oversimplifying or politicizing the climate change issue for research funding or career gain puts scientific studies on climate change at risk. Science is rarely as neat and tidy as politicians or media would suggest.
You must decide how you can help the environment. Of course, it’s unrealistic to believe that everyone on the planet will contribute to the cause of saving the environment. But for those who take these issues seriously, they will make the necessary life changes. Regardless of the warning signs, many people wonder if the earth is in such a decline as the United Nations warns.
So far, it’s hard to find anyone who denies that we are polluting the planet. Some controversial scientific debates continue over climate change–that’s how science evolves. You must attempt to understand both arguments before making a judgment call. And we must each do our part to save the planet.