The earth has had changes in its climate many times over its existence. These changes have happened naturally, or because of major disasters, such as meteor impacts (Smith, 2012). Over the past century, however, climate change has been happening with increasing speed. Humans have begun to have a major impact on the environment, and their actions have increased the rate at which the climate is changing drastically. If humans do not stop what they are doing, the speed at which the climate is changing will not slow. The impact of global warming on the Earth and the life that inhabits it will be drastic. Given this fact, the United states needs to do more than it is doing currently to stop carbon emissions and change people’s behavior. In order to make the necessary changes, people need to become more aware of the importance of global warming than they are now, which will require a change in the way media presents images of global warming and in the politicized manner in which the issue is currently treated.
In a book written by the Committee on Ecological Impact of Climate Change (2008), the authors detail how climate change has effected ecosystems on Earth in the past, and what will happen if current behaviors regarding global warming continue. Given the fact that everything within an ecosystem is dependent on everything else, a change to the ecosystem will impact all of its components. The authors note that while the Earth’s climate changes naturally over time, the changes are not usually as rapid or large as is happening currently (Committee on Ecological Impact of Climate Change, 2008). The over-all effect of these changes is that species cannot adapt to the new climates in which they find themselves. Some are able to migrate to new areas which better fit their environmental needs, but others become extinct because for one reason or another they cannot move. If the trend continues, many of the species currently living on Earth will die within the next century (Committee on Ecological Impact of Climate Change, 2008). Because humans are as effected as everyone else by climate change, they should do what they can to stop the behaviors that are causing such a rapid change in climate.
Though this fact has entered public awareness over the past few decades, the over-all importance of the topic has come under some debate. As Smith and Lieserowitz (2012) note, people’s perception of the importance of the topic depends on several factors, such as the awareness the person has of the severe climatic and meteorological events which have happened arguably as a result of climate change, and their political leaning. Smith & Lieserowitz (2012) discovered that for the American people, the climate issue is as much about politics as the environment. Debates about the importance of the topic become overwhelmed by the political wrangling such issues spark.
To find relevant articles for this topic, a search was done of databases using keywords such as climate change, global warming, impact of global warming, affect of global warming, and global warming United States.
This review found that the United States should be a key player in the fight against Global Warming, because it is the largest contributor per capita to the problem (Smith and Lieserowitz, 2012). Global warming will have an increasingly negative impact on the environment, and needs to be considered of upmost importance by American policy makers. Instead, the way the issue is portrayed in the media (Smith & Lieserowitz, 2012) and its use as a political platform have mired it in rhetoric. This has made it difficult for those pushing for climate change to do the work they need to do.
- Committee On Ecological Impact of Climate Change (2008). Ecological Impacts of Climate Change. Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.
- Smith, N, & Lieserowitz, A. (2012). The Rise of Global Warming Scepticism: Exploring Effective Image Associations in the United States over Time. Risk Analysis 32(6): 1021-1032. Doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01801.x.