Today we don’t only fight for the survival of Virunga: we fight for our planet, for our children and future generations. We are against climate change denial, we believe in a fair and just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, for the benefit of nature and communities across the world.
We Can Change The World!
Our lovely blue planet, the Earth, is the only home we know. Venus is too hot. Mars is too cold. But the Earth is just right, a heaven for humans. After all, we evolved here. But our congenial climate may be unstable. We are perturbing our poor planet in serious and contradictory ways. Is there any danger of driving the environment of the Earth toward the planetary Hell of Venus or the global ice age of Mars? The simple answer is that nobody knows.
The study of the global climate, the comparison of the Earth with other worlds, are subjects in their earliest stages of development. They are fields that are poorly and grudgingly funded. In our ignorance, we continue to push and pull, to pollute the atmosphere and brighten the land, oblivious of the fact that the long-term consequences are largely unknown. A few million years ago, when human beings first evolved on Earth, it was already a middle-aged world, 4.6 billion years along from the catastrophes and impetuosities of its youth. But we humans now represent a new and perhaps decisive factor.
Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate. How will we use this power? Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family?
Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth? Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet?
The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished.
Copyright © 1980 by Carl Sagan Productions, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC.
Want to know more about climate change deniers and what are the “Ideological Roots of Climate Change Denial“. Read the study “Resistance to change, acceptance of inequality, or both” by Kirsti Maria Jylhä.
Humans have a long history of utilizing natural resources and altering the environment. Consequently, our lifestyle has been causing global environmental changes for centuries (Lewis & Maslin, 2015). Practices such as agri- culture, forestry, and the burning of fossil fuels have strongly affected the climate, vegetation, and animal populations, and some of these effects have been negative. One of the most important environmental issues of our time is that of anthropogenic (i.e., human-induced) climate change (Intergovern- mental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2014). According to climate scientists, the progression of anthropogenic climate change cannot be stopped or reversed any more at this point, but it can be mitigated by reducing green- house gas emissions. Such reductions are vital, because without sufficient mitigation efforts, humans may not be able to adapt to the long-term nega- tive consequences of climate change (IPCC, 2014).
Majority of climate scientists agree that the climate is changing due to human influence and that mitigation efforts are needed (Anderegg, Prall, Harold, & Schneider, 2010; Cook et al., 2016; Doran & Zimmerman, 2009; IPCC, 2014; Oreskes, 2004). However, despite the extensive supporting scientific evidence, some individuals deny the seriousness or even the exist- ence of human-induced climate change (e.g., Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser- Renouf, Feinberg, & Howe, 2013). Cumulative empirical evidence shows that climate change denial correlates with right-wing/conservative sociopo- litical ideology (e.g., McCright, Dunlap, & Marquart-Pyatt, 2016). This thesis aims to more systematically examine this relation.
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