Why creating a greener world is harder than we believe
The biggest goal of 21st century engineers has been to achieve a greener Earth where our net emissions are lowered allowing us to reduce the speed at which the greenhouse effect is happening. However, the goal of making a green world has become a blame game between the main emitters and the customers. If you ask the average person who they believe is responsible for the most emissions, they will say that the large firms and the rich are responsible. On the other hand, if you ask a large firm who is responsible, they will say the customers who in their large quantity, would cumulatively add up to a large net emission. It suggests that no one wants to take ownership for the issue and what’s worse, it results in neither of the parties making changes to reduce the number of emissions. If i asked you: ‘what do you do on a daily basis to reduce your carbon footprint?’, how many things could you realistically bring up? Close to none right? This exposes how little we seem to make changes although we claim to care about the issue. The longer this blame game continues, the less change that is going to upon until it’s too late. Both parties need to understand that they are equally as responsible: firms are responsible for distributing products that can cause large emissions while the consumers are responsible by using up energy wastefully and inefficiently. Therefore, rather than either party expecting one or the other to start making changes, it seems more appropriate that both start to make changes rather than relying on engineers alone to make the changes for them. The blame game is driven by the laziness of both parties not wanting to take action themselves into solving this problem but until people become willing to take some action, global warming is only going to get worse .
Moreover, there seems to be an inherent stigma towards those who take it upon themselves to make changes. This isn’t seen on the firm side of the argument as eco-friendly products have been a USP for many products and have caused larger sales for certain firms. However, the average person tends to have a stigma against people who work to make an eco-friendly world. The most obvious example of this would be cyclists who get berated for causing traffic and making obstructions when they are the very people trying to help save the planet. People contributing to emissions in cars are also the people who are swift to complain about cyclists extending their travel times. Therefore, this puts off many cyclists from actually travelling by bicycle because of the incessant abuse they receive on the roads. As a result, this unprovoked hatred on the roads is increasing the emissions. Other examples of this are vegans and global warming educators.
In combination to all that, the prevalence of technology has been rising every year, paired with the rising global population, this means the consumption per capita is going to rise. Technology can’t simply be switched off as humanity has now got ourselves into a checkmate where switching off all power and therefore emissions would immediately declare our species as obsolete and eventually we would have wars in between ourselves fighting for basic food, water and shelter. We humans have become addicted to technology and simply taking all that technology is no longer viable. It would seem like the end of the world to many people if simply phones were taken out of their lives so taking away everything including lights and hot water would simply be unreasonable. Engineers also can’t manufacture energy efficient/ green products at a fast enough rate that emissions won’t pass the breaking point which is forecasted in 9 years. After this breaking point, global warming will reach an unrecoverable point and the extinction of humans will have become ascertained.
So what do we do? The main take away I want people to take away from this is that we are all responsible in our own ways to solve this global warming issue. It is fascinating how much urgency we have put on reducing the transmission of the coronavirus yet in under a year while having done something similar to that scale for global warming which we’ve known about for over 20 years now. Simply not being able to easily physically witness the effects that global warming is having on our daily lives has lead many to believe that it won’t effect them or doesn’t even exist while the effects of coronavirus can be seen which makes people more concerned about it. Therefore, humans need to place more urgency on global warming and understand that everyone has a role to play(similar to during lockdown with every having their role of staying at home and reducing the R rate) and so if we take our new responsibilities to reduce emissions, cumulatively over billions of people, this would drastically reduce the amount of emissions humans are currently pumping out and potentially this could save humans from getting ourselves extinct in the process. However, until people have come to that realisation, we are only making it harder for this to happen and so are putting ourselves into a path where emissions are only going to get worse.