The unpredictability of the weather is slowly ebbing away. This is pretty much the general consensus, as Filipinos find themselves cowering from the scorching midday sun more than they did years before, and claiming every day that passes as seeming to be the hottest day of the year. Although we are still living in a country with hot summers and horrific typhoon seasons, one thing has become clear: the summers are getting hotter, and the typhoons are getting stronger. This, therefore, is what leads to a safe prediction that whatever the weather may be, it will get stronger, and consequently more worrisome.
The debate on who went on to confirm the global warming phenomenon should no longer be given that much attention. The question of whether or not climate change is a myth has become dated, and is now a moot point of discussion. At this point, focus must be given on the dilemma of what to do with the information that has been gathered, and how to stop the near-inevitable.
It is with this notion that former US Vice President Al Gore made the entire world finally listen.
Awareness: The How and Now
Part of the growing concerns of most countries these days is global warming; an issue frequently argued upon yet rarely thoroughly understood. If we are to tick off the things that we scientifically know to be correct about global warming, we’ll sadly dwindle to one: the big ice caps up in the Arctic mountains are melting, and fast.
This little yet significant piece of information stays relevant today, as small amounts of light have been shed on the root cause of, and the actual date when the entire “overheating” process began. Beyond all the hysteria of the world nearing its end, it’s quite fundamental to know that natural global warming is not as destructive as we all thought it was. In fact, it is a cycle that’s been taking its course for thousands of years now.
However, what set the alarm ringing for experts nowadays is the evident revolutionizing of the process. To date, global warming is still happening, but for an entirely different reason and at a faster, much distressing, evidently unnatural rate. Studies hypothesize that the prospective reason for such an occurrence is the increase in carbon dioxide emission produced by the Earth’s inhabitants. This process was sparked upon the birth of the industrial revolution. From then on, there has been a continuous increase in carbon emissions, and its effect has become prominent, taking the form of climate change.
The sudden gush of cold winds during untimely seasons, and the unbearable searing summer heat during the summer are consequences of global warming. The volatile change in the planet’s temperature in over half a million years has been the most unforgiving example of its effects.
And now, man stands at the brink of a global catastrophe, facing what scientists and politicians have labeled the two-degree threshold: the Earth has become so overheated, that a 2-degree Celsius increase above the pre-industrial age temperature would mean doom. Cross that threshold, and there’s no going back, no matter how hard we try.
Al Gore’s cause
As the issue of climate change settled for a back seat in global awareness and advocacy, someone by the name of Al Gore aimed to raise the awareness regarding the issue – and raised it to magnanimous levels. Back in 2006, Gore’s award winning documentary film An Inconvenient Truth got the world’s full attention, and got us all thinking and nodding in agreement.
Al Gore became the banner man for the “Green Movement” – something that had actually been around ages ago. In fact, it can be traced a long way down to year 1789. Back then, scientists and intellectuals began to raise flags about the impending issue: Robert Malthus published an essay the Principle of Population; George Perkins Marsh’s discourse known as Man and Nature followed in 1864. The first Earth Day was believed to have had its first recognition during 1970. The list goes on, but as we know, they failed to be enough.
Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth had its own story of origin. Al Gore would probably credit his Harvard days for arousing his interest in the environment that initially led him to creating his1992 book Earth in the Balance which was patronized by a lot of readers, putting it on the bestseller list.
During his time as Vice President, Gore pushed for the application of carbon tax, in order to encourage energy efficiency and branch out the fuel choices which greatly reflected the true environmental cost of energy use. In 1997, Gore took part in the brokering of the Kyoto Protocol, a cross country treaty intended to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. However, this was not implemented in the United States after a 95 to 0 vote in the country’s senate.
Al Gore also supported the funding of the ill-fated satellite Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) Project, formerly known as Triana, which was responsible for forecasting a 24-hour image of the Earth over the Internet by acting as a barometer gauging global warming activity.
It was after his dramatic loss in 2000 when Gore started channeling his energy and focusing his mind on his environmental advocacy – something that he believed was a greater cause. He pushed through with a new campaign: tackling the climate crisis. He traveled from one place to another, ensuring his physical presence despite being under the media radar, to enforce sheer door-to-door perseverance in talking to the public about the emergence of not just his concern, but a problem to the rest of the world as well.
Recognition for Mr. Gore’s efforts finally reached its pinnacle in 2007, in the form of a Nobel Peace Prize.
Our Earth: How to save it
Years had gone but the Earth’s condition has been thrown to a deeper, more chilling threat of greater destruction, and it gets frustrating how despite earlier warnings, the conditions Gore pointed out remains to be seen as “inconvenient”- the problems are just too big, and the reforms too radical.
Despite this, some groups have been mobilized, one being the Inconvenient Youth, a group of young individuals who seek to expand Al Gore’s climate project. Others include the creators of the 20-minute animation “The Story of Stuff” which focused on the problems of waste disposal; the founders of Blackle.com, the pro-Earth version of Google; altogether, these groups found their simple, unique way of telling people that there are wiser ways to utilize energy.
Proud to say, the Philippines has its own little ways of participating; for instance, Las Piñas City, also referred to as the “Green Movement Pioneer”, initiated a movement through livelihood projects, proper waste disposal and other cleanup activities.
There is also the remarkable creation of the Bangui Bay Wind Farm, featuring the Bangui Windmills, in Ilocos Norte – a notable Philippine venture to help reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions by optimizing wind power.
How simple is it to switch to a reusable eco bag? Or to join volunteer programs? Or perhaps, to not throw our garbage just about anywhere? Every movement, and every person starts somewhere. Al Gore did. And if he can, through collaborative effort and utmost determination instigate change, the results are not far off.
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