Just now I saw a news post on the website of one of the Netherland`s biggest news papers. Apparently, we`re heading towards record-breaking heat, with temperatures reaching up to 38 degrees Celcius. For an almost Scandinavian country, that`s insane. Most of us Dutch people don`t do well with this kind of heat. (I am one of those people.)
But this news report made me think again, about how the earth is noticeably changing.
I`ve always stuck to the idea that the earth is not so much heating up or cooling down, as actually getting more extreme. Winters are colder and harsher, summers are hotter and more gruelling. Spring and fall are turning into periods of extreme storms. And all seasons are later than usual.
I`m a big advocate of changing the official dates that the seasons start on. I think it`s obvious by now that winter no longer starts in December, but in January or even February. All seasons have moved along a month or two; it would only be logical if we adapt alongside the seasons. We humans have a strange dependency and stubbornness when it comes to our calendars and time management, but that`s a different topic for a different day.
I do honestly think though, that human kind is not to blame for this obvious climate shift. I just can`t believe that we, in these measly what, 200 years? of intensive industrialism, could have had so much influence on a system that has existed perfectly fine without us for millennia.
In fact, there is growing evidence that climate shifts like the current one happen all the time. On a small scale, there`s the shift from el Niño to la Niña. They shift anywhere between every couple of months to periods of up to 10 years. This is a natural occurrence, but one with huge climatic influences all over the Pacific Ocean.
On a much larger scale, there`s also the very obvious facts of the ice age, plus there was a miniature ice age right after a warm period in the medieval period. I really don`t think we can blame the greenhouse effect for those, so why should we now?
There could be more volcanic activity. All the earthquakes we`ve been having the last years might have something to do with the change, I don`t know.
We can even look outside of our own planet: changes in solar activity have a direct influence on us, too, and the sun has been going into some hotter phases, too. Triggers for climate shift are abundant, and there could very well be several at play at the same time.
Humans might have had a small influence on the climate shift, yes. It`s undeniable that our use of coals, all the gasses coming from our cars and factories and more importantly: the cows we keep for meat and milk and everything that comes with processing all of that, all of those factors are bound to have an influence. But that doesn`t take away the fact that there`s a huge, complicated system at work that has been changing for millions and millions of years. We shouldn`t be taking all the blame for the current changes, nor should we feel entirely responsible.
That doesn`t mean I think we should just go ahead and pump all the gasses into our air that we want. There`s no denying that it`s bad for our own health. Even in the city that I live in, green as it may be, the air quality is horrible and causes a lot of respiratory problems and even deaths every year.
All in all, I guess what I`m trying to say is that yes, climate shift is real. No, humans are not to blame. But yes, we do still need to stop pumping gasses into the air and using up all our ground resources and randomly throwing around plastic like it`s confetti on a global parade. Do we need to do that to save the earth? No, because let`s be honest: earth will be perfectly fine without us. Do we need to do that to save ourselves? Yes.