“I challenge anyone to look at this image and not see the full impact we make on our planet.”
Taken by the International Space Station, this beautiful picture of the United Kingdom at night filled me with a sense of wonder and awe at what humans have achieved.
This picture speaks a thousand words, and I think you will agree that it best shows the extent of our domination on the environment around us. Even the most hardened climate skeptics cannot deny the impact on display here.
What is so scary about this image is that it’s taken at night, when most of us will be asleep in bed, so what it shows is the economy just ticking over with minimum emissions into the atmosphere. The next dawn will bring the economy into a fully working speed again, revving up the levels of pollutants and greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
This relentless cycle is happening on a worldwide scale and is now encroaching into once rural areas. The consumption of oil, gas and coal alongside the continued felling of trees and forests, which act as the planet’s air filters, is accelerating global heating, causing the effects we are all now beginning to see-a more arid, water-starved and climatically hostile world.
We are only now beginning to see the effects as the parts per million of CO2 relentlessly rises in the atmosphere, trapping solar heat, which affects the water cycle throughout the world. Half the world’s countries are experiencing drought, water shortages and the disappearance of life-giving glaciers for many of the planets river systems.
This affects both our food supplies, and also the natural world which we depend on to exist.
Having had this discussion with many of my peers, the one thing that comes up time and time again is the question; if we are quickly running out of oil supplies, then surely this will solve the global warming problem?
If only life were that simple. The inconvenient truth is that if we don’t reduce our reliance on fossil fuels now, while we have the advantage of plentiful oil supplies, then later on down the timeline, as oil shortages take hold, most countries will have no choice but to revert to coal, which is far more destructive to the atmosphere and our survival chances.
Our species currently stand at a window of opportunity. We can continue pumping out obscene amounts of emissions and wait around for the food and water shortages to come, or we can begin a transformation, house by house and business by business, using and taking advantage of the low carbon technologies which are already available, such as solar panels and heat pumps.
There really is no excuse, with the generous government incentives currently available, called the feed-in tariffs. Those who can afford these technologies should take advantage.
Have no illusions of the predicament the human race faces. A quick transition away from our traditional energy sources has to be a priority now, while we still have spare capacity of oil supplies left, rather than waiting before it is too late for both the atmosphere and the last dregs of the earth’s oil resources.
"Feel the pride."
Stuart Lovatt on
Founder of Heat My Home.