Global warming and air polution are some of the most dominant environmental health issues the human race is currently facing. As global awareness about these problems has steadily increased over the past decades, so has the necessity to address them. Many western countries have enforced acts like the Kyoto Protocol or introduced various organizations to mitigate the negative impact associated with these issues. Though we are undeniably on the right path, every milestone is faced with fierce resistance and vulnerable to reversal as every rule inadvertently represents a disadvantage as well. To give you an example, enforcing acts such as the Kyoto Protocol will have a repressive effect on economic growth and thus leads to negative effects such as higher unemployment. Furthermore it is a conflict in itself for western countries to expect struggling economies of the developing world to intentionally mitigate their growth by adhering to acts such as pollution standards. An obvious negative effect for these countries could be more starvation on a relative basis.
Thus radical progress is unlikely happen, until something abrupt and unforeseen occurs, which is going to be either negative or positive in nature. One possibility is that global warming will accelerate at a much faster pace than predicted and allow its effects to directly impact our everyday life. The melting polar ice caps could cover entire island nations and shift the coastlines of continents. Hopefully change will come from a more positive origin. It’s plausible that at our current consumption rate of oil, its price is going to spike in the decades to come and thus incentivize companies to find creative and environmentally friendly alternatives. This might sound far fetched, but let us hope we will eventually solve our problems with the latter, as most of the damage caused by the former will be irreversible.
This rather gloomy view of our current state shouldn’t give you the impression that the problems we are currently faced with are inevitable and thus should be met with passivity. Global action on a large scale to address our environmental health issues is merely unlikely to occur without a definite trigger because our current economical incentives and societal values don’t strongly encourage change. A trend from shortsightedness to a societal desire to permanently live in equilibrium with our environment has steadily increased for the past decades. Thus our priority should clearly be to raise global awareness of these issues and with it slowly transform the values of the general population.
Most people are able to drastically improve their global footprint without having to endure many of the commonly associated disadvantages. Simply by being aware of these issues, we can significantly decrease environmentally wasteful behavior. To give you some examples, reducing pollution might be achieved by slashing carbon emissions from your vehicle. This doesn’t imply your son should miss his soccer practice, but much more calls for innovative alternatives such as the use of public transport or carpooling. Furthermore your carbon dioxide emission can be significantly lowered by responsible use of the thermostat. The utilization of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems on a high level contributes to the redistribution of contaminants within the building. Again, this in no way should imply you endure heat in summer and cold in winter, but encourage you to be aware of your carbon footprint, abstain from wasteful utilizations and sometimes put up with minor inconveniences such as offering to pick up and drive your sons team mates to soccer practice.