As we go into the new millennium, global environmental pollution and the related climate change remain one of the most challenge to the world. Global environment which is the single most challenge facing the world will continue to deteriorate unless urgent measures are taken into consideration. Historical and social background The first instance of global environmental challenge was raised back in late 19th century. However this was not taken seriously not until the1950s when serious effects of environmental challenge were first noted with various changes in the global climate and Polar Regions.
The first incidences of global environmental challenge were noted with the changes in the polar region. Scientist raised concern that the polar ice was meeting at a very high rate and the world was losing a precious water reserves (Ruddiman, 2005). Apart from losing the polar ice, it was also noted that there as increased incidence of diseases and pest in the world. These were the earlier evidence which were coming up in the 1960s which showed that there was changing environmental challenges.
The raped rate of change of deterioration of the environmental changes clearly indicated that there were radical changes that were taking place in the environment (Viotto and Kauppi, 2009). However the most critical changes that turned the attention of the world the issue of environmental changes was the change in global temperature. One of the challenges that are posed by global warming to the human race is global warming. Edouard and Frank (2006, p. 2) assert that for the last one hundred years, the average global temperature has increased by 0. 74± 0. 18 from 1995 to 2005.
According to Kanautkhove (2001, p. 42) the main cause of global warming is increased emission of green house gases including carbon dioxide, methane, and others. Increased emission of these gases has led to a rise in their concentration in the atmosphere which has brought about the green house gas effect. However this has also been contributed by some of the natural phenomena like the solar pattern and it variations, and volcanoes activities which have been taking place in the world for a long time could also have contributed to the increase in global temperature.
Climate change is perhaps the most important sign that his being used to evidence the effect of global warming. Everyone in the world has observed that the climate patterns have changed sometimes having prolonged drought while at other times we are experiencing heavy rainfall. Compared to the early years of the last century, our contemporary climate patterns are more unpredictable. No one knows how long the winter or summer will last. Changing climate pattern is a danger to the human race considering the number of people we have lost in prolonged droughts or in floods.
Still the world does not know what the future holds. We have evidence of climate change in all parts of the world which have affected us in a way or another. To give the most recent example, Harvey (2005) stress that Katrina is one the most devastating experiences in the world. Katrina hurricane claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed property worth millions of dollars. All over the world, we have seen a picture of people dying from prolonged droughts or from floods. Notably, changing climatic pattern has long term effects on agriculture and food chain cycle especially in the developing nations.
Climate change, due to global warming effects poses a particular danger to the existence of the human race. These changes have long been attributed to the global warming effect caused by human and natural activities. What is global warming? Global warming is the increase of the temperature of the world. This increase in temperature is recorded near-surface air and in oceans. The increase in temperature has been recorded since the middle of the 20th century. Why is global warming a concern to the whole world? Our lives are supported by the environment and anything that is a danger to the environment also poses a danger to our existences.
To quote the words of UN secretary General Ban Kimoon “the situation is grim and urgent action is needed. ” (Gutierrez, 2008) Global warming remains the single most challenge that the human race is facing if an urgent action is not take to alleviate the situation. The world should take concerted effort to deal with global warming otherwise we might soon reach a tipping point heading to oblivion. Another challenge posed to the human race by global warming is the increased loss of diversity which is threatening stability of natural cycles.
Due to the effect of global warming, it has been shown changing nature of habitants may lead to extinction of more than 25% of the world biodiversity by the year 2050. According to Dyurgerov and Meier (2005, p. 7) global warming effect has led to increased incidents of the ocean and other water bodies which threatens marine life which is a major source of food for human race. The increased loss of ice in the polar region has threatened the existence of the animals like polar bear and others. The global warming effect has in a way allowed some of the species to expand in their range brining about competition with other species.
This justifiable competition has led to disruption of the natural cycle which has also seen increase effect like diseases and others. AS the water table goes down in major part of the word, more species are threatened. According to Dyurgerov and Meier (2005, p. 7) the loss of our biodiversity is not only limited to the living organism but manmade features as well. For example, melting ice in polar region has led to see the sea level. This has posed a danger to many cities build by the sea side. The city of London is given as an example of those facing submersion to the water bodies.
For a long time now London has been protected by water gates from occasional floods. There is a fear of uncertainty in the future going by the record of what we have experienced in the recent past in terms of climate changes (Viotto and Kauppi, 2009). The loss of biodiversity has more pronounced effect on the lives of the human race as there is no one who is certain of the future changes. Today extinction may be attributed to only these animals but who knows if tomorrow it will be human race. Different conceptual perspectives approach to environmental challenge
Pragmatism Pragmatism is an ideology which belief the ones ideals are responsible for searching for solutions. In searching for a solution, one searches not only in the backyard but beyond the usual horizons which can provide solutions to the problems. If there is no solution that is found with one ideal, an individual is likely to search for more solutions or come up with new ideals that are likely to provide solutions for the problem. Therefore, pragmatism calls for choosing solutions that are likely to work to deal with the problem.
However this solution must be based on ideologies. In view of the environmental problem that the world is facing pragmatist are likely to apply the solutions that have been show to work in order to resolve the problem. At the same they are likely to continue searching for new solutions that the world is facing. Pragmatism view of the environment are not likely to give up but they will continue searching for solutions to the problem, Pragmatist will therefore look at the solutions that have been applied in the past and continue working on the theme in order to improve them.
Realism Realism is a belief that whatever that we believe in is just an approximation of the reality. It believes that every new observation that we make only brings us close to understanding the reality that we are face with. Realism tends to view things as they are and how they are likely to b become in the future. It is one of the most important ideological perspectives that can be used to explain the issue of the global environment. Currently the world is locked with realism about the environment.
While the first proposition about the environmental changes brought about resistance and denial, the events that have taken place since the 1970s has brought the world closer to understanding the real situation that we are in. It has brought us to a close understanding of the situation and how we can deal with it. The increase global warming and the accompanying climate changes like Hurricane Katrina, prolonged droughts and others brings the world to reality of the situation. (Harvey, 2005) Realists will continue to view the environment problem along that line.
There will be more changes in the environment which will reveal to the world the extent of the problem. Realist will therefore continue to portray a clear view of the global environmental as it unfolds in the environment. Anti-realism Anti-realism on the other hand describes a position of denial of reality of the situation as it stands. Therefore anti-realism is opposite to the realism principle denying all the logical realities of a situation. Anti-realism represents a world view on the environment that has persisted for a long time since 1890s when the first claim on the environmental degradation of the environment.
Not until the 1950s when scientists first raised up the issue concerning environmental pollution, the world has lived in denial of the situation. Stilt there are individual who today believe that the global environmental changes are not a serious challenge to the environmental problem that we are facing. There are anti-realist individual who believe that the global environment problem that we are facing. They still view the current environmental problem as normal cycle in the environment which can be easily solved through the natural life cycle. Why the global environmental will continue.
Global environmental problem will not go away soon. The world has created a problem that will eventually consume it. There have been many arguments that the world culture is amusing itself to death. Scientist have laid down the bare facts which shows that human activities can be entirely held responsible for continued degradation of the environment (International, 2005). As the population grows beyond the capacity of the earth, there are serious issues that have come up regarding the maintenance of a balance between environment growth and the needs of the population (Michaels, 1998).
As early as 18th century, there were already suggestions that the world population was growing at a very rapid rate compared to the regeneration of the resource. As the population hits 6 billion people and the same resource available deteriorating instead of expanding, it is very clear that there are serious negative impacts on the environment as people try to meet their basic needs. It has become difficult for the world to meet the growing needs of its population. The skewed distribution of resources in the world is one of the factors that could result to increased deterioration of the environment.
Without a situation at hand that would ensure fair distribution of resources, there will be continued strive of resources which would see more destruction of the environment. For example, there is continued encroachment of water catchments areas and important ecologies in our environment that has continuously threatened the cohesive existence of resources. Unless we have a strategy in sight that will save the environment, the global environment will continue to deteriorate. Since1980s when the global environment because an evident challenge, there were several efforts by different countries to save the environment.
There was constant lobbying by pro-environmental bodies to come with variable solution that will mitigate the solution. One of the amicable solutions that came of the world efforts was the Kyoto Protocol that came up with a mechanism through which the major countries that were leading in emission of green house gases on a certain proposition. The world sighed with relief to the protocol as it was evident that there would be a substantial reduction in green house gases that would change the environment. However this was not to be. The Kyoto protocol was not abiding as the world had thought it to be.
The ratification process was slow and even leading emitters of industrial green house gases like the United States failed to ratify to the protocol citing that the protocol would interfere with their economy. The world was cast in another dark moments and hopes that had been raised by the progress that would have been made by the protocol were fast eroded (Kanautkhove, 2001). The failure for the Kyoto protocol ratification showed that the world that the major players in the global environment were not ready to sacrifice their success for the cause of the global environmental challenge.
Kyoto protocol would have led to a reduction in the amount of green house gases emission. As the major players continued to point fingers on each other for this failure, the changing environment was already taking toll claiming lives especially in the third world where hundreds died from extreme hunger while others died from flood havocs. Since the failure of the Kyoto protocol there have been several other attempts to come up with an agreement that is abiding and that would lead to reduction of emission of green house gases.
This is in the realization that unless the world puts in place strong measures that will reduced human activities that lead to environmental pollution, the global environment will continue to be a major challenge that will ruin millions of lives (Michaels, 1998). At the same time it has become difficult for the countries which ratified to the protocol to achieve the targets in emission reduction as had been set in the protocol to the integration of the world economy.
It has become a struggle between retaining the competitiveness of their economy and achieving their moral obligation towards the environment as set out in the protocol. However it is worth noting that there has been some progress made in the EU region and some countries have made real progress in addressing their environmental concern. Others have lagged behind in their emission reduction efforts but with environmental initiatives from EU, there is no doubt that there will be some progress that will be registered in these countries. Onelanck and Fisher, 2005) The global environment challenge is multifaceted and unless we come up with measures to address these specific challenges, there is no doubt that the environment will continue to deteriorate (Reuters, 2007). Effort by a few countries or few individual will not mitigate the situation. There is an urgent need to take up macro and micro level solutions to tackle the global environment challenge. This means that there should be an effort from the governments and individuals to deal with the issue.
For example while the government takes steps to address industrial emission, individual can make their own contribution through reducing their emission through driving, supporting green economy and other measure. However global environment challenge will remain a problem in the world. (Salls, 2005) Conclusion Since the mid last century, the issue of the global environment became important due to the changes that were taking place in the environment. Human activities especially the continued use of fossil fuel and others emitted green house gases which brought about the global warming effect.
Global warming effect came with climatic changes with extreme climatic experiences like prolonged drought and floods. The Kyoto protocol was one of the earliest efforts by the world to reduce the level of emission to the environment. However the major leading emitters of green house gases like the United States failed to ratify to the protocol. Although there are efforts to address global environment challenges, there is no doubt that it will remain a major problem in the world.