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Will we find a solution for climate change? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about climate change?

Will we find a solution for climate change? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about climate change?

Will we find a solution for climate change? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about climate change?There are three vital signs show that climate change is a problem. Since the Industrial Revolution, the atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased. Based on the data provided by NASA, the carbon dioxide level never exceeded 300 parts per million in the past 650,000 years; however, after the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere passed 300 parts per million in 1950. In 2014, the atmospheric carbon dioxide level was nearly 400 parts per million.  The concentration of carbon dioxide has increased nearly 100 parts per million. Next, climate change is clearly a problem if we take a look at the sea level. “Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last (100 years) century. The rate in the last (10 years) decade is nearly double that of the last century” (NASA). Additionally, according to NASA, the five-year average variation of global surface temperatures from 1884 to 2014 had increased about 35.6 Fahrenheit (2 Celsius). Climate change was a problem. It is still a problem now. Although Vice President Al Gore and President Obama have plans to solve climate change and although NASA claims that mitigation and adaptation, government resources, and energy innovations are the solutions, there is no solution to climate change because people are future oriented and we are unconscious of the present environmental issues; Therefore, there is no reason for optimism even though Larry Brilliant suggests that people have successfully overcome disasters in the past.

NASA seems to have “solutions” to climate change, but their solutions do not actually solve the problem of climate change. Climate change will continue to be a problem to us even if we reduce emissions of and stabilize the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. NASA claims to have solutions to climate change; however, when we take a close look at the solutions—mitigation and adaptation— provided by NASA, we will quickly learn that these “solutions” are unable to stop climate change. Mitigation is reducing climate change. To clarify, NASA is telling us to burn fossil fuels for electricity and heat as little as possible. Furthermore, energy innovations — solar, wind, and biofuels energies — are replacements for fossil fuels. In fact, nobody is willing to spend more money on solar, wind, and biofuels energies if they can produce electricity and heat with the sustained low prices of fossil fuels. Secondly, adaptation is another “solution,” which NASA suggests to solve climate change. Adaptation is conforming to actual and future climate (NASA). According to NASA, they state that people and societies are capable of adjusting to life in a changing climate because people have adapted to changes in climate and extremes with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, people will be forced to adapt to climate change because carbon dioxide level, global temperature, and sea level are increasing as the clock ticks. Mitigation and adaptation are not solutions to climate change; they are merely plans or ideas that act to make climate change less severe. For a long time, scientists and politicians have tried to seek solutions to fight against climate change; sadly, nobody can find a solution to climate change.

While the purpose of NASA is not to make climate policy or come up with solutions to climate change, its goal is to provide robust scientific data to help government organizations to understand, evaluate, and combat climate change. To combat climate change, the U.S. Energy Department supports research on making fossil energy technologies cleaner and less harmful to the people and the environment (energy.gov). For many years, the former U.S. Vice President Al Gore provides ideas to address climate change or planetary emergency as he called it. Although Al Gore called people to acts together to fight the issue of climate change in 2006 on Ted Talks, climate change did not get any better even though government resources addressed climate change. In June 2014, President Obama established the Clean Power Plan; and, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed that the U.S. is “on the path toward a 30 percent reduction in carbon pollution from the power sector by 2030.” It is great that government organizations have plans to respond to climate change, but we still do not have a solution to combat climate change. In other words, climate change is an unfixed problem that people have tried to fix.

According to NASA, 97% of climate scientists and most leading scientific organizations worldwide agree that climate change is due to human activities. Unfortunately, we will not find a solution to climate change because it is an inevitable consequence due to human activities. Moreover, humans are the root of the problem of climate change. According to the article, “The Values Americans Live By,” Robert Kohls states that one of the American values is future orientation. The value of future orientation critiques the Americans’ lifestyle because it suggests that people are unconscious of the present world, which they live in; people are only “looking toward the future and what it will bring” (Kohls 4). Future orientation is not only a value that Americans live by, but it also is a value most people in the world live by; Thus, climate change is an inevitable consequence because people did not focus on and think about the future environmental issues but their own selfish desires.

Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Larry Brilliant gave a talk on TED Talks in 2006, “The case for Optimism,” regarding climate change. He claims to be optimistic about the increasing trend of carbon dioxide concentration, global temperature, and sea level in the world because of what he saw in his personal history. Brilliant lived in a Himalayan Monastery and he studied with a wise teacher. One day, his wise teacher commanded him to work for the World Health Organization Smallpox Program. Brilliant states, “it should make you optimistic that smallpox no longer exist because smallpox was the worst disease in history.” According to Brilliant’s data shown in his presentation on TED Talks, smallpox causes the most deaths of any infectious disease. Smallpox killed nearly 500 million in the 20th century. Because of smallpox, nearly 2 million people died in 1967. Surprisingly, smallpox was eradicated in 1979. Brilliant is optimistic because of the eradication of smallpox. He argues that if we can overcome smallpox, how can we not be optimistic about climate change? Brilliant is putting his faith in human knowledge. He is trusting man’s ability to change the world.

It is great to be optimistic during difficulties, but we need to realize the problem as it is rather than something it is not. Climate change is a very different problem than smallpox. First of all, there is no reason at all for us to be optimistic because climate change is not getting any better and we do not have a solution to completely solve the problem of climate change. Even Larry Brilliant himself states “CO2 concentration, global temperature, and sea level will continue to rise long after emissions are reduced.” People have tried to fight against climate change, but it is not going away. We cannot compare climate change with smallpox because it is caused by human activities. Since humans are the root of the problem of climate change, we would have to disappear from earth to solve the issue of climate change. Climate change is not like an infectious disease in the human body, but it is like a cancer in the heart of the earth.

In summary, I do not have enough faith to be optimistic when it comes to climate change. Mitigation and adaptation, government resources, and energy innovations seem like solutions to climate change, but they are not. I do not have enough faith to believe that human can find a solution to overcome climate change because we are the problem and because we are future oriented. To close the presentation, we should learn from our own mistakes and do the best we can to live selfless lives to mitigate climate change for the next generation.

 

 

References

Brilliant, Larry. “The case for Optimism.” TED. N.p., Jan. 2007. Web. 20 July 2015.

 

“Climate Change.” ENERGY.GOV. U.S. Department of Energy, n.d. Web. 20 July 2015.

<http%3A%2F%2Fwww.energy.gov%2Fscience-innovation%2Fclimate-change>

 

Gore, Al. “Averting the Climate Crisis.” TED. N.P., Feb. 2006. Web. 20 July 2015.

 

“President Obama’s Plan to Fight Climate Change.” The White House. The White House, n.d.

Web. 20 July 2015. <https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change>.

 

”Vital Signs: Carbon Dioxide.” Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Ed. Holly Shaftel and Laura Tenenbaum. NASA, n.d. Web. 20 July 2015. < http://climate.nasa.gov/>.

Surviving Progress Response

The movie, “Surviving Progress,” is released on April 6, 2012. The directors are Harold Crooks and Mathieu Roy. In the film, director Crooks and Roy identity the distinction between good and bad progress. Progress in the human society is change, improvements, and moving forwards toward a better life. Even though people have difference meanings of the word: progress, there are enough evidences such as overpopulation, pollution, and national debts to prove that there are good and bad progress.

The progress traps, according to the directors, are “improvements, which leads to disasters.” The speaker states that progress traps are bad progress, which result in unseen failures in the future and is influenced by human behaviors. Who would’ve thought that the outcome of too much improvements, too much progress, or too much changes are just “short term successes.” For example, the population in the world is increasing year after year. According to the film, the population in the world is around 6-7 billion. The speaker suggests that if everyone lives comfortably in the world, ideally, the population should be around 3-4 billion. Surprisingly enough, as the speaker indicates, “we are overpopulated.” We are making too much progress in term of the world population. Next, natural capital is another example to demonstrate the what progress trap is. We are consuming more than the natural is able to produce. If we continue to do what we are doing now, the world is going to die faster because natural resources are running out quicker. Lastly, the global financial system reveals financial crisis in the world. Since the invention of credit cards, more and more people have “debts that are more than they can pay.” Even most countries are in a huge debt including the U.S.

The world is running toward disaster because of too much progress, Day by day, the natural resources is decreasing, Year by year, people have more debts to pay. Can we take control of our on destiny? Can we prove that the nature is wrong? Can we take care of our on civilization? Interestingly enough, the speaker has faith in the human brain, which he calls it the “planetary brain.” The speaker is optimistic because he believes that  the human brain contains unique knowledge and is capable of solving problem to change the world.

Global Crisis Presentation: Introduction

Larry Brilliant gave a talk on TED in 2006, “The case for Optimism,” regarding to global warming. He claims to be optimistic about the increasing trend of co2 concentration, temperature, and sea level in the world because he saw in his personal history. Brilliant lived in a Himalayan Monastery and studied with a wise teacher. One day, his wise teacher command him to work for the WHO Smallpox Program. Brilliant states, “it should make you optimistic that smallpox no longer exist because smallpox was the worst disease in history.” According to Brilliant’s data shown in his presentation on TED, smallpox causes the most deaths of any infectious disease. Smallpox killed nearly 500 million in the 20th century. Because of smallpox, nearly 2 million people died in 1967. Surprisingly, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1979. The eradication of smallpox is one of the greatest reason that shows why Brilliant is optimistic. It is great to be optimistic during difficulties, but can we solve the problem of global warming in the near future? Even thought eh former U.S. Vice President Al Gore provides solutions for global warming or planetary emergency as he calls it. But, we continue to see the rise in CO2 concentration, temperature, and sea level. Although President Al Gore provides so called solutions for global warming, the problems does not seem to ease. Thus, we do not have any solution to solve the problem of global warming. In other words, we cannot stop global warming; we can only prolong the issue of global warming.  Are we going to be optimistic or pessimistic when we know that the CO2 concentration, temperature, and sea level will continue to rise even though people start to reduce emissions all over the world? Is there hope for the future of mankind? Do we have faith to believe that the future is glorious?

The American Ideology of Work

What is Calvinism? How does it relate to the idea of the American work ethic?

Calvinism is a set of ideas under Protestant theological system, which emphasis justification by faith alone, the grace of God, and the doctrine of predestination. The American work ethic can be simply put as work without rest. Clearly, the American work ethic is influenced by Calvinism, which states that God likes hard work and dislike time off. 

According to Weber, how might Calvinism shape our relationship to work today?

According to Weber, God likes hard work and dislike time off.  In relation to today’s society, if calvinism would dictate our belief system or worldview, we would work super hard and never take time off of work.

What does Weeks mean when she refers to an American ideology of work?

According to Weeks, the American ideology of work is a work ethic, which “teaches us that work is the highest calling, moral duty, and ethical practice.”

How does she discuss coercion and consent?

The balance within the work system. In American, people work long hour without out any rest.

So, she rises up the question, “Why does people willing to work long hours without any rest? Why do company want their employees to work none stop? And What make us willing to work so hard.”

What are some of the problems she is identifying?

Weeks identifies the problem of a lot of work with no vacation time for the employees. Also, she thinks that work became elevated. Lastly, she identifies the problem of feminism, which women are working as hard as or even harder than men do.

Why are these things problems to her?

These things are problems to Weeks because she thinks that a society that works none stop every day is a society that lacks of imagination. She thinks that work working long hours like men do is a problem because she values family. In other words, she believes that family is as important as work.

What alternatives interest her?

There are some alternatives that interest her. First, she introduces the three 8s’ idea, which divide people’s time into three major sections. The three 8s are 8 hours of work, 8 hours for the family, and 8 hours to do whatever we will and desire. She is interested in shorter working time and basic income for everyone. Also, she thinks that wealth should be spread because the Americans “[we] have tremendous wealth.” Through her ideas and interests, she emphasis on the importance of political imagination, which she believes is the system that will develop a better world for everyone.

Blog Post #3: “The Collapse of Western Civilization”

The condition of the environment in the world is not going to get better but worse. The article, “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future,” by Naomi Orestes and Erik Conway, delivers a sad but truthful message to the readers. I agree with Orestes’ and Conway’s view on the future of Western Civilization, which they claim that the Penumbra falls today and will continue to fall for years, decades, and even centuries to come. Unfortunately, not only the future of Western Civilization is going to face disaster after disasters, but all civilizations are going to fall politically, economically, and environmentally. Even though the government was to take actions to cease global warming, but darkness will continue to fall over people and the world. Unfortunately, the world we live in is dying faster than ever because nobody wants to take responsibility and act upon what they knew about their own environment.

Through the lens of the scientists, we see that the cost to fix the problem of climate change and global warming is “nearly all costs” (45). Surprisingly, from 1751 to 2012, 365 billion tons of carbon had been emitted into the atmosphere (45). Orestes and Conway states that more than half of these emissions occurred after the mid-1970s; total carbon dioxide emission increased by 38% between 1992 and 2012 (45). These staggering facts rise up a question: who releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? According to Orestes and Conway, wealthy nations have the most amount of carbon dioxide emissions because they increased their production of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the wealthiest nations do the most damage to the environment. Since the most wealthy countries have the most power in the world, who can tell them what to do? If the wealthy countries stop and begin to address the issue of climate change and global warming, soon the developing countries will take over their place. Therefore, developed countries and developing countries will continue to produce whatever they need to maintain or gain power even if it means to risk individuals’ health.

Government does play an important role in environment issues, but they are not going to help the people to produce a better and healthier environment.  It does not matter what kind of government we have, every single government is going to seek power and wealth. Thus, the issue of climate change and global warming seems to be life threatening, but it will never be on the government’s priority list. If government decide to solve the problem of global warming and climate change, they are not able to solve the problem because the problem is inevitable.

If we look at the world through the lens of a historian, we know that the environment of the world did not get better but worse. For specifically, the issue of global warming and climate change are great examples to demonstrate the environment in the world in a historical perspective. We know that carbon dioxide and water vapor absorb heat in the planetary atmosphere (41). Since the scientists discovery of carbon dioxide to the late 1980s, “concentration of carbon dioxide another greenhouse gases were having discernible effects on planetary climate, ocean chemistry, and biological systems, threatening grave consequences” (41). Merely, 20 years or so since scientists discovered carbon dioxide, the world is in threat of high concentration of carbon dioxide. According to Oreskes’ and Conway’s article, climate change was intensified in 2010. As a result of climate change, 50,000 people in Russia were killed and over $15 billion were in damages. In 2012, a massive flood affected the lives of more than 250,000 people in Australia (42). In addition, the “year without a winter” hits the United States in 2012. Due to the drought, it takes away 500,000 lives worldwide and costs $500 billion in losses due to fires, crop failure, and the death of livestock and companion animals (43). Through the lens of a historian, we see one disaster causes after a greater disaster. Disaster does not cease to occur since the existence of mankind.

Through the perspective of historians and scientists, the issue of climate change and global warming are bad and are continuing to get worse. Although there are people who take responsibility and actions on what they knew about the environment, the world is still heading the direction of death because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the quality of matters and energy become progressively worse over time.

Blog Post #2: También la lluvia (Even the Rain)

The movie, También la lluvia (Even the Rain), directed by Icíar Bollaín reveals an important aspect of a contemporary environmental issues. Water is life. People cannot live without water. On the surface, the cause of the “water wars” is lack of water in Bolivia in 2000. However, if we investigate the cause of these “water wars,” we will understand the causes of these wars. Human beings are the cause of “water wars” in Bolivia in 2000 because we love money and power.

People can live without a house. People can live without cloth. People can live without family. But people cannot live without water. Water is essential to human existence. If the Bolivia’s leading public water companies take all the water supplies from the Bolivians and force the people to pay more money for their water. In other words, these companies are literally stealing from the Bolivians and force them to buy it. There is one scene in the movie, which is still vivid in my mind. In this scene, the Bolivian polices and workers from the leading water companies are knocking down the locks and stealing their citizen’s wells. Many Bolivian women running out of their house to the wells and beg the policemen not to take away their water. Powerlessly fighting against policemen, these women push and jump toward the well. One of the policemen says that they are just doing their job. By the well, the tears of confusion, fear, and anger are in every woman’s eyes. This scene shows that the cause of any kind of environmental issue is mankind. Because of human beings, there are wars.  Because of human beings in this world, there is poverty. Because of human beings, slavery exists.

There is another scene in the movie, which relates to power and money. Costa is one of my favorite characters in the movie because he decided to save Belen in the end of the movie. Costa’s character is very different from all the other characters in the movie. He seems to have faith. There is one place in the movie, Costa says, “money always work,” when the hospital doctor question his ability to go through the guards in Bolivia. In addition, Costa and Sebastian used money to bribe the jail chief to get Daniel out of the prison for their film.  It seems like money is powerful. It seems like money will give people whatever they want. However, the ending of the story of Costa’s life is not clear. Why does the director leave an unclear ending to the audiences, if money can give people whatever they want? In other words, why can’t Costa buy his way out of the dangerous situation? Money is not all-powerful.

When I pay more attention to the details of the movie, I noticed repetitions. Money shows up repeatedly. Perhaps, the director wants the audiences to put a red flag on money. Why does the director wants to put a red flag on money? Perhaps, money is the source, which controls and motivates every human beings to strive in life. Ironically, people want more money because of pleasure and safety. As a result, money leads to wars and chaos.

Blog Post #1: Neoliberalism and American Ideals

Question: For this blog post I want you to discuss how the ideals described in reading #2 above relate to the definition of neoliberalism offered by your speaker. Select 2-3 ideals discussed in the reading and connect them to specifics of your assigned speaker’s definition.

Answer:

Some of the 5 ideals in Reading #2, “Chater 2: Refining and Debating America’s Founding Ideals,” may have connection to Sealing Cheng’s definition of neoliberalism. In the video, “What is Neoliberalism?” Cheng relates neoliberalism to gender sexuality.  She believes that neoliberalism is very private and individual. She thinks that the key strategy of neoliberalism is to balance heterosexual unions in society. There are two ideals that have connection to Sealing Cheng’s definition of neoliberalism. First, the ideal of liberty is close related to Cheng’s definition of neoliberalism because she believes in the liberty of gender sexuality. Second, the ideal of opportunity is another one, which connects to Cheng’s definition of neoliberalism because sexuality is every man’s dream. In other words, people should have the opportunity to pursuit sexuality since it is a man’s innate desire.

David Stannard Response Exercise

In the book, American Holocaust, David Stannard responds to the American identity in a historical perspective. By looking back in the history of before Columbus, American, and the rest of the World, we might be curious to ask the questions that Standard asks, “Who were these people? Where had they come from? When had they come? How did they get where they were? Were there others like them elsewhere in this recently stumbled-upon New World?” (Stannard 8). Furthermore, Standard thinks that the most important question should not be “can it happen again?” But, it should be “can it be stopped?” (Prologue xiii). When Standard talks about “it,” he refers to the indigenous people who are “not openly been acknowledge, and become embarrassingly unwelcome trespassers whose legacy of past and ongoing persecution by the celebrants might spoil the festivities’ moral tone” (15). Thus, the issue that the author reflect on is how to stop holocaust.

 

In order to respond to the question, how to stop holocaust, Stannard provides historical facts for readers to understand his arguments. Although we only read the prologue and the first 15 pages of the book, we see that the author is responding to the most important question, how to stop holocaust. In other words, the author puts his facts and evidences on the table in the first 15 pages, then, he will make his arguments later in the book. Therefore, we see that he is providing a lot of historical information for the readers. Slowly, he is giving readers facts to understand where his view points are coming from. Thus, the author is interested in introducing the history of America. Mainly, in these 15 pages, Stannard answers the question that he proposed on page 8.

They Say I Say – Exercise 1

Upon finding an article for this exercise, I found a few articles relate to sport.  First article caught my eyes is titled, “Steph Curry, Tom Brady, Serena Williams and others celebrate Father’s Day.” This article comes to my attention because today is Father’s Day. Also, I am interested in this article because the Golden States Warriors won the NBA Championship in 2015.  In this particular article by Cindy Boren, she knows that a lot of Golden State Warrior fans care about every single movement of Steph Curry. Therefore, it does not matter if the answer to “so what?” is valid or not, there are people who care about Steph Curry because he is a MVP basketball player. The first sentence in Boren’s article might be the answer to the “so what?” question. Boren states, “Plenty of athletes shared Father’s Day messages and wishes Sunday, but, to no one’s great surprise, the best may have come from Stephen Curry.” The writer specifically point out that Stephen Curry is a unique person in comparison to many other athletes.  Seemingly, the writer illustrates that Curry is not only a fantastic athlete but also an amazing father.  The strategy of using other people or things to compare the people or things that we want to exalt is a great way to answer the “so what” question. The titile of the second article that I found The Washinton Post is called, “LeBron James on NBA Finals loss: ‘I’m still in a little Funk.’” Even though the writer, Cindy Boren, does not answer the “so what?” question, we know that a lot of people, especially, people who live in Cleveland care about how the CAVS did in the NBA finals and LeBron James.

 

Here are the links to the articles:

“LeBron James on NBA Finals loss: ‘I’m still in a little Funk.’”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/21/lebron-james-on-nba-finals-loss-im-still-in-a-little-funk/?tid=hpModule_a4df998e-86a7-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394&hpid=z10

“Steph Curry, Tom Brady, Serena Williams and others celebrate Father’s Day.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/21/steph-curry-tom-brady-russell-wilson-and-others-celebrate-fathers-day/?tid=hpModule_c7c1f590-868f-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394

Response to Bobbie Harro’s Cycle of Socialization

In Bobbie Harro’s article “The Cycle of Socialization,” she uses a diagram called, Cycle of Socialization, to reflect on how people think about themselves and how people relate to others. Furthermore, she claims that the way people see themselves and the way people relate to others are influenced by their experiences and environment. The way people relate to others and view themselves may or may not be true; thus, we should get out of our comfort zone or the core to challenge the facts that we think is true about ourselves and others. 

I agree with Harro that we should not be too dependent on our parents or those raising us, and we haven’t yet developed the ability to think for ourselves” (Harro 17). Even though our parents and those who raise us have good intentions but it does not mean that their worldview is correct or whatever they say is right.  Since we are capable to think for ourselves as adults and college students, we should investigate and do research to find the truth.

Bobbie Harro states in her article, “We need education for critical consciousness for all group. We need to take a stand… and begin a critical transformation that can break down this cycle of socialization and start a new cycle” (Harro 21). Obviously, we need a standard or a guideline to help us to determine the way we see think about ourselves and how we relate to others. To determine how people think about themselves and how people relate to others, they should match their knowledge with the reality.