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The Last Polar Bear

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Introduction

The last two centuries are characterized by industrial growth and rapid developments in various fields. The scope of these developments and achievements is quite vast and nearly every discipline in surroundings has benefited a considerable amount from these developments. All around us one can see scientific inventions and products that have made life easy in a large number of ways. Ranging from roads, to offices and vehicles on roads, and four walls of the house, everything is dominated and depicts the progress. The modern science and technology has benefited the human life in many ways, and has enabled achieving all those elements which were merely dreams until the last few decades. However, not all grass is green; rather these developments have created a threat and disturbance in a form of imbalance in the percentage of gases and other constituents which are necessary to be kept in balance.

The impact of global warming is quite severe and it has its venomous wings spread to various disciplines of life and society.

The irony of the matter is, these threats are created by inhabitants of the planet earth themselves, they cannot blame the nature or any external force for it, rather  they have themselves to blame for what is at hand and the possible dark days that might be faced due to this menace. The more bitter fact about this wrong doing is that the future generations would inherit this disease without any contribution to it, just because their predecessors have contributed towards the imbalance of global equation.

A single discipline or region cannot be blamed for this destruction; rather efforts and contributions are equally donated by various players in a form of countries and industries. Having mentioned the role and accomplishments that have been made possible through science and technology, the darker side of science, rapid growth and industrialization must be addressed, as well.

The human life in modern times might be termed as far more comfortable as it was a couple of centuries ago, however, these comforts do not come without a price. The price has been the damage to the environment of human beings. This is in a form of the global warming. Global warming is a phenomenon that is looming over the world as a dark cloud and it can have serious negative repercussions on the entire world. These impacts are not just limited to the modern day generation, rather they will have further dire consequences in the future and the speed at which the disaster and damage are generated, more and more aspects of the society and the human life are bound to get affected.

Scientists and environmentalists are looking at these proceedings with a careful eye and believe that this is the ripe time to stop the damage and take counter measures which would help overcoming dark clouds and troubles that could be faced through global warming. Large amount of research is being conducted to investigate reasons and elements that are contributing towards this menace, and astoundingly, it has been reported that last decade, eleven to twelve years (to be more precise) have been recorded as the warmest in the last century (Kazlowski & Roosevelt, 2008). A clear indication of the sources and events that have resulted in this unwelcoming news. It is an alarm due to the activities that are being conducted in these ten to twelve years. If the environmentalists are to find a solution to the ever fast rising of the environmental temperature, they have to look into these last ten years and identify the reasons that have made these years the warmest.  These ten years can serve as wakeup call through the identification of elements that have contributed to making them the most dangerous and unfriendly in the last century.

Cause and Effect

The global warming serves for a perfect example of cause and effect. The cause and effect phenomenon operates in the pair where one entity influences and damages, or affects the other in a direct manner. The same is in case with the planet earth and its inhabitants.  Human beings’ activities and functions are coming in the way of environment friendly activities which have created a rift. Increase in the polluting activities will directly increase the damage to the environment, since two entities involved in the cause and effect, affect each other in a direct manner, the global warming and its constituents are no exception. The global warming activities will hit the environment directly.

The realization has been slow yet there, and recent years have exposed weaknesses that have roused due to these global warming activities. Especially, the last few decades and era after the mid-20th century can be characterized by massive global warming activities. Few of these activities include the following:

Industrialization

The 20th century can be termed as the century which fully nurtured industrial advances. These advances have made the human life considerably comfortable and less hectic, yet byproducts of these industries and processes are far more dangerous and they outweigh benefits that are provided by them. These industries have created a large amount of jobs, have given people many things, yet the down side of these industries is the amount of wastes generated into the atmosphere.  These wastes are generated in various forms, they are not just the atmospheric pollutants, rather elements like plastic bags, and various other industries that are fragile in nature, such as the nuclear industry, pose threats to the environment in other ways (Singer & Avery, 2007).

Industries are a part of nearly every country and every city. These industries have given people jobs and survival options, yet they have damaged the environment in larger ways than many other factors. Industries are associated with emission of all kinds of wastes into the atmosphere. Which are either dumped into seas and lands, or go directly as carbon dioxide and black smoke into surroundings which in directly go into our lungs and cause various diseases. More often, industries tend to produce products which involve the usage of chemicals and other toxic materials. Their emission and release into the atmosphere and fields have a negative impact on harvests and crops that serve as the purpose of food for the common man.

The bitter fact is that global warming is not just affecting human beings, animals and sea life. They are affecting all living beings in the form of trees, plants, animals, and human beings, and above all their environment.

The circle of damage is not confined to areas, where human races have stepped in, rather the North Pole and Antarctica is equally suffering the heat. Polar ice is melting at ever fast pace and sea life, and other characteristic features of that area are rapidly diminishing due to the menace of global warming.  Arctic Ocean is equally at treat and the polluting activities of human beings have even sent the whisper down the area, where there is only a wild life and water, and snow. Research and a study conducted in this regard reveal that the pace at which the global warming is being carried out, if events unfolded at the current pace, the Arctic ocean would get to see a summer that is void of snowfall as early as 2040 (Saunders & Maxwell, 2005). Other parts of the world that are notable for their wild life and extreme cold weathers have also felt the heat, and if things continued the way they are, chances are of depletion in those zones, as well.

It is the mechanism and relation of human activities to their environment that are creating the global warming. Human activities are creating an imbalance between amounts of excretion of various kinds that the atmosphere can absorb to the ratio of excreted amount through these activities.

Green House Gases Imbalance

The atmosphere around is constituted of the number of gases which presence is quite crucial for the proper working and creating of balance amongst various gases. These gases mainly include carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and traces of various other gases. All these gases need to be present in a certain fixed amount, in order to maintain a balance.

The ozone layer stops the extra amount of rays from hitting the surface of the earth, the increase in the amount of heat that hits the surface of the earth, the ozone layer is ultimately being depleted with time and, hence, allows more number of rays to enter the surface of the earth. The gifts are in the form of increasing sea levels, health diseases, extreme weathers, melting glaciers and certain other undesirable events and activities.

The impact has been an equal one towards the human health. Various skin diseases are part of the society and the human body, which were never known by the people before; it’s all because of the increase in the percentage of the heat and radiations, due to imbalance in the ozone layer and green house effect.

 Slight imbalance in the percentage of either of these would result in direct disturbance of the atmosphere. This is termed as the green house imbalance. During recent times, there has been seen an imbalance in the form of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is being generated through various forms into the atmosphere which is creating an imbalance and disturbance in the percentage of gases that are in the environment. The ozone layer is at the direct mercy of the heat and carbon dioxide emitted. The ozone layer is being constantly damaged, due to the carbon dioxide emission. Hence, this is one of the factors along with many others that are contributing towards the global warming. Sources of carbon dioxide are many and range from individuals sources, to industrial sources, to governmental sources.

Nuclear Submarines

Though, nuclear submarines can be termed as environmentally friendly, when it comes to carbon dioxide emission, and they do not pose any headache in this regard, however they are more dangerous in various aspects. Such as the coral reef damage, the sea life itself and the water being polluted. Many events have shown that nuclear submarines are highly risky, and failure can result in massive damaging of the marine life. Water gets contaminated, and it makes it to taps of domestic systems and goes into our body through in-direct means. Fuels emitted from nuclear submarines have last negative impact on the water in the sea and oceans.

De-forestation

De-forestation is another factor which is considered to be the reason of the global warming; this de-forestation process is an integrated process where the de-forestation caused at one place results in the destruction in other parts of the world.  Number of ways contributes towards the de-forestation. In modern times, where the wood has been used extensively for commercial purposes, de-forestation has been in practice. Soil erosion is a natural process yet ignited by human beings’ activities, result in deforestation. Consequences of de-forestation are farfetched and they result in more floods and less fertile land. Forests and trees serve the purpose of stopping the rain water and enriching the land, with deforestation, there would be no entity that would save lands from floods and rains. Hence, this is one of reasons of  extinction in recent times, and mankind is responsible for it (Brown & Pearce, 1994).

Rising Sea levels

The subsequent effect of global warming is increasing sea levels, with melting of ice all over poles, both at the North Pole and the South Pole; the increase in water percentage in rivers is a natural phenomenon that is bound to hit oceans and rivers. This factor has been noticed remarkably in the recent century and more predominantly in the last few decades. As a result of this, countries that are lying on the bed of waters and oceans are at greater threat from this source of the global warming. Islands like Maldives and Sri-lanka are at ever higher risks from floods and other water catastrophes. Numbers of tsunamis have hit various parts of the world, first, The Arabian Sea, and later the Japanese Peninsula. Caribbean Islands, one of the most beautiful places on the planet earth and a series of chain of islands, are bound to suffer from impacts of increasing global warming and their subsequent gifts in the form of rising sea levels. Tornados, Twisters, Hurricanes are quite common terms in these times and United States of America has undergone these phenomena and their destructions multiple times in the recent past. These all can be attributed to the increase in the sea level.

Nuclear Energy as Source of Alternate Energy

While conventional sources of energy are becoming scarce, nuclear energy has been the target for power generation and automobile transportation, increase in orientation over the usage is expected in upcoming days. It is seen as a positive sign that would nurture the field of nuclear sciences, however, environmental safety is a string attached to its usage and application. The disposition of the nuclear waste and the extra material is a serious question and more often than not, the material becomes reactive many years after it has been used. Since the nuclear technology entails the usage of nuclear material and isotopes, for this purpose, its handling is a serious debate and proper preventive measures need to be in place, which ensure its proper discarding. The international governing bodies, namely IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association) take into account all these factors before allowing the usage of nuclear plants for the purpose of power generation and other civilian usage. Large number of nuclear power plants has been activated across the world, where energy is being generated through the nuclear sources; however, the proper care is advised in their usage, since their leakages and failures can be more fatal than any of the energy generation sources.

Coral Reef

Coral reef, which is the essential part of the aquatic wild life, is also threatened by the global warming and human activities. Many researches and studies have shown that the coral reef beds under the deep sea waters have been affected and their percentage existence has been reduced by a considerable amount, due to various activities of human beings. Some of the diminishing is the direct contribution of nuclear submarines and other dangerous industrial wastes that are not just a threat to the coral reef, rather the rest of sea life.

International Agreements

Realizing the fact that global warming is one of serious threats faced by human races in modern times, international bodies have come into action for the sole reason of mitigating effects of global warming. An effective and notable entity in this regard is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C), which specializes in looking into all those factors which stand against the human well-being along with environmentally friendly and opposing elements. The aim of this organization is to promote environmentally friendly activities, this by identification of areas where improvements are sought, and are possible. IPCC is under the direct control of United Nations Organization (U.N.O) and to some extent, under the influence and control of World Metrological Organization which obviously as the name implies is the direct body which deals with the metrological affairs of various regions across the world.

Kyoto Protocol

Having identified some of the sources that are adding to the global warming, internationally number of organizations and parent bodies have been made active to take into account all these factors and ensure that no more damage is suffered by the atmosphere or measures are introduced which would enable reducing impacts of the global warming .

Kyoto protocol is one of steps towards the mitigation of the threats and challenges posed in the form of global warming. This body has been made effective in last few years and was brought into existence in the early 21st century when it was seen that the situation is going out of hand. For this purpose, the Kyoto protocol formulates certain set of rules and do’s and don’ts which are made for the purpose of making the environment more human friendly and greener. The aim has been to put a bar on the number of industries and governments in terms of exports and their industries, and set a threshold value which would entail the percentage of pollution emitted by various sources. Though, there is a need for making this platform relatively more effective and certain differences do exist at various levels between more developed nations who largely rely on these industries for their exports, imports and, hence, economy (Victor, 2004). Efforts need to be made to strengthen hands of this protocol and regardless of the strength of any nation; Kyoto protocol and various other protocols and regulations that are working for the benefit and salvage of the environment should be encouraged.

Conclusion

Having identified causes of global warming and threats faced through them, it is the high time to create counter strategies which would stop this destruction.  The current generation is responsible for upcoming days and their efforts now can make the world a pleasant place or make it a dry land that is urban and deserted of natural flavors. Each person needs to work on the individual level towards the cleaning of environment and making it more human friendly. Eco-friendly activities should be practiced and the use of all those factors and activities which do not add any value to the health of the environment should be stopped immediately because the damage done is already immense. The famous saying of “stitch in time saves nine” (Jordan & Sketchley, 2009), perfectly applies to the global warming. Not everything is deserted and even now, if attention is paid, the ambiance can be improved.

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