With every passing season the threats that climate change presents become more evident. The Baruch community itself experienced the devastating effects of climate change when Hurricane Sandy ripped through the streets of New York. Hurricane Sandy left hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes and amounted to an estimated death toll claiming over one-hundred and eighty lives. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations-sponsored committee that informs the government on the latest developments in climate change, warned that unless appropriate measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide, irreversible climate change could occur in a matter of decades. The consensus amongst scientists is that the safe amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is 350 ppm. A report by the Scripps CO2 Program at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, advised that as of September 2013 the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 393 ppm. The consequences of the erratic weather patterns that accompany climate change, don’t just stop at a loss in comfort – they have the potential to manifest into survival threats in the form of drought, flood, and heat waves, that have the ability to impact our food and water supply, and consequently our well-being. Accompanying the New York Times article below by Justin Gillis, about the IPCC’s latest report on climate change, is Vicki Arroyo’s captivating proclamation on the need for action to address climate change; both pieces paint a telling picture about the severity of the situation.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, 26 percent of the world’s ice-free land is utilized for livestock grazing, and 33 percent of its pastures are used for the production of livestock feed. Consistent with the narrative portrayed in the “Tragedy of the Commons,” progressively as a result of the increased concentration of animals per area, 20 percent of the aforementioned 33 percent of grasslands are ruined. In addition to its adverse effects on croplands, the intensification in the production of livestock for feed depletes water resources, damages soil fertility, and negatively impacts biodiversity, climate change, and animal health; which in turn, can adversely affect our health as well. Multiple sources, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, site livestock as a top contributor to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, and maintain that the greenhouse gas emissions of all forms of transportation combined, don’t equate to the greenhouse gas emissions of raising livestock for feed. Living sustainably can take on a multitude of shapes and sizes, could vegetarianism be your contribution to the environment? Read Kathy Freston’s witty and succinctly informative take on the matter in the article below.
While many may construe our burgeoning population as a huge sustainability issue, Erle C. Ellis argues that there is no limit to our resources and that we need not worry about overpopulation and the planets’ carrying capacity; advancements in social strategies and technological systems will help provide us with the resources we need. What kind of societal and technological advances might he be suggesting and will they help, or hurt the environment even more?
The world population is estimated to be at 7.2 billion and forecasted by the Food and Agriculture Organization to exceed nine billion by 2050. There is only one earth, and many inhabitants utilizing its resources. What happens when the demand for our resources exceeds their availability?
Read his thought-provoking argument in the article below.
Over-population is a major environmental issue we face as a species. Currently with a global population of over 6 billion people we are using one and a half times the resources the Earth can renew sustainably.Whether those living on the planet will have the needed water and food resources is a serious question as the planet’s population continues to grow at an exponential rate. How can we sustain a global population that continues to grow on a planet where the resources are finite and starting to dwindle? The radio segment in the link below asks two people what their family planning decisions were and whether global planetary population growth influences their decisions.