I tell you what, I’ll pander to your pathetic pussyfooting. I’ll play your game: let’s assume that global warming is an elaborate hoax. Let’s pretend that any climate change is entirely unrelated to human actions; that the big, green bogey man is nothing but a stuffed toy to dangle from the review mirror of your diesel-downing Land Rover.
Phew. What a relief. Just like that the world is in harmony again. No more of this silly nonsense that humans are the dirty enemy. No more worrying about my carbon footprint — what a quaint little idea after all. Now we can get back to business: give me my unbridled economic growth, market expansion, imported kiwi fruit, and I’ll have another two gas-guzzlers, thank you very much.
Even if our ideas about climate change are flawed (and for the record, I don’t believe they are), we still desperately need to take action.
For one, even if fossil fuels don’t cause climate change, we’re still fools for continuing to use them. For as long as we remain so heavily reliant on fossil fuel, we are directly dependant on Opec countries, and we’ll continue to feel the burn each time the oil price rises. If we moved to more efficient cars, hybrids, or used some other technology to power our cars, South Africa would become far more independent. The same can be said for using coal to generate electricity: why continue to use a fuel with finite reserves, when there are alternatives. And the sooner we put more effort into developing those alternatives, the more viable become, and the more self-sufficient we become as a country.
Secondly, even if the world isn’t getting hotter, it’s getting a lot more crowded. And unless you are about to implement a human-culling programme, or forced contraception, it’s still going to get a lot more cramped, and we’re going to need a lot more resources as consumption levels rocket. In India alone the population rose by 150 million people last decade and 94 million people were lifted out of poverty. This signals an exponential rise in consumption as not only are more people consuming, but an additional 94 million are consuming a lot more.
According to Conservation International, a forest area the size of three hundred soccer fields is chopped down in Indonesia every hour. If this is what we are doing to fund our lifestyles today, what will we have resorted to, when there are 10 billion of us living on planet earth? The way we live today is unsustainable regardless of whether climate change is occurring or not. Ten billion people cannot live the way we do by relying on fossil fuels, forests and free-market capitalism.
I could go on, but the point is very simple: The benefits of sustainable living are not just about lowering carbon footprints. As I’ve said before, carbon emissions and climate change are just one aspect of a far larger, far more aggressive beast. Even if global warming is not anthropogenic, we are still left with ecological destruction, deforestation, over-consumption and a rapidly expanding population — and these are definitely caused by you and me.
So regardless of your desperate little hobby of denying human-generated climate change, you still need to take action today! No matter how far you have your head in the sand, you can’t possibly deny the impact we are having on the world — and that impact needs to change quickly. Moving to a world of sustainable energy and ecological awareness is the only way to go — and doing so makes sense whether you believe in climate change or not.