Why do we care?


        The Kyoto Protocol is an attempt to control and limit the amount of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, entering the atmosphere.  As you can see in this table, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been increasing in the atmosphere for quite some time.  A greenhouse gas is one that traps heat into the atmosphere around the Earth.  This heat then reflects back down to the Earth instead of harmlessly going off into space.  This process is called the Greenhouse Effect and has been predicted to cause something called "Global Climate Change."
        Global Climate Change affects everyone on the planet.  If global temperatures rise, as they are predicted to do, temperate zones will become warmer, tropical zones will become unbearable, arctic zones will melt, ocean levels will rise, the ocean current could stop - plunging Europe into an ice age, storms will increase and intensify, food will become scarce, and people will die.  This scenario, as "doomsday"-scare-tactic as it sounds, is a distinct possibility for the future.
        The future, whatever it turns out to be like, must include a way to live sustainabily on the Earth and with each other.  We must overcome the differences of opinion of what is important and realize that we are all trying to reach the same goal: a healthy and happy life.
        Our future and that of our planet are not one in the same.  Human beings cannot exist without the Earth but the Earth itself can exist quite well without humans.  The question of how soon the Earth could recover without additional pollution is still unanswered.  The recooperative powers of the planet are amazing, but not instantaneous.  This is why we need to try to help our planet remain hospitable to our race.  As anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss once said, "The world began without man, and it will complete itself without him."



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