Millions of years ago Denver, Colorado, the site which is now the mile high city, was a mile underwater. The Great Salt Lake of Utah is the last remnant of a vast inland sea which covered most of Western Utah and parts of Nevada and Idaho thousands of years ago. Ten thousand years ago Canada and most of Europe were entirely covered with vast continental ice sheets.
Geologically speaking, which means adopting a perspective on global climate spanning tens of thousands of years, rather than a few hundred years or even the ten thousand years of recorded history, global warming is not an anomaly. Evidence suggests that periods of time have existed when the Arctic Ocean was ice-free, and other times when the Earth was entirely encased in ice. These extremes are the product of climatic fluctuations induced by migration of the continents interfering with and altering wind and ocean currents, changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, the moon’s orbit around the earth and possibly the sun’s orbit through the galaxy, variations in solar output, large meteor impacts and volcanism including the eruption of so-called super volcanoes. The presence of ice sheets tends to result in further ice formation by reflecting solar energy back into space, and the presence of high concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere tends to inhibit or reduce ice formation leading to increased global temperatures.
The concerns of scientists and environmentalists are primarily focused on the changes in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane as a product of modern human activity. There is evidence that human activity over the last 8,000 years may have significantly contributed to the concentration of green house gases since the last glacial period ended 10,000 years ago.
This is not a new problem.
The magnitude of the impact of atmospheric change on human and other life on this planet, as illustrated by the documented acceleration of the effects of green house gases by unprecedented human activity within the last one hundred years, is the question posed by some of the best minds on the planet. Computer models exist of best and worst case scenarios. Few certainties exist as to the short-term geologic future of this planet. There is agreement however on the fact of global warming through atmospheric change and that this impact is something that man can influence irrespective of any other contributive factors.
Mitigating the acceleration of global warming by limiting those practices known to overload the equation is just good stewardship. Certainly, technology exists to tighten up sloppy ecological practices and lead to better control of industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. More humane animal husbandry in American super farms will not only curb methane emissions but improve the quality of life of domesticated animals.
Green house gas emissions by developing countries throwing off the mantle of long term economic suppression as is occurring in China, India and South America is problematic. Primitive means of clear cutting huge tracts of forests, unregulated industrial output, and infrastructure not geared to the conservation of resources are all contributing a massive load to the atmospheric biome.
Industrial leaders such as the United States waving a cautionary finger at under-developed, highly populated countries such as China seems hypocritical at best. Industrial leaders rely on the production facilitated by the wholesale conversion of the natural resources in those countries to consumable products, all of which involves high emission of green house gases.
The problem of global warming best illustrates that sloppy stewardship of the planet is as much an economic concern as an environmental one. The promise of personal prosperity is the fuel that ignites unregulated development which in turn leads to environmental damage which is now global in scope.
Re-educating an entire planetary population on the real “valuables” of life on this planet, and redefining wealth, reintroducing craftsmanship, promoting the concept that quality is senior to quantity are all necessary to sustaining a livable environment on this planet. Perhaps the solution to global warming lies in a reexamination of the economics of life on the planet and an enforcement of practices which will allow countries to maintain a standard of living based on sound economic practices rather than rampant consumption of resources. It makes good sense to do so.
So what can using electric vehicles such as electric bikes or electric cars do to help slow global warming? Well, when we start using fewer nonrenewable resources and start using more sustainable modes of transportation, we will stop polluting our atmosphere and this will help to slow global warming. Let’s just hope that we start using EVs before it is too late!