Climate Change (Term Paper)

4277 Words Sep 27th, 1999 18 Pages
Summary: This paper looks at the controversial issue of climatic change. In particular, it develops the question of if and why earth's climate is changing? The roles of man, naturally occurring trends, and earth's cycles are considered, and an outlook for what can be expected in the near and distant future is given.

‘The uneasiness of modern man arises from a rupture between himself and nature that leaves him homeless within the universe...' William Barrett Introduction Over the past years most individuals have become acutely aware that the intensity of human and economic development enjoyed over the 20th century cannot be sustained. Material consumption and ever increasing populations are already stressing
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The point here is not to provide an evaluation of Malthus, and one might well argue that he was wrong in many of his predictions; but rather to highlight the posit that man has long been living beyond his means. Sooner or later, this will have its consequences. As a species, our success has certainly been impressive, but it has come by turning a blind-eye to our surroundings. "A prime reason for our success is our flexibility as a switcher predator and scavenger. We are consummately adaptable, able to switch form one resource base—grasslands, forests or estuaries—to another, as each is exploited to its maximum tolerance or use up. Like other successful species we have learned to adapt ourselves to new environments. But, unlike other animals, we made a jump from being successful to being a runaway success. We have made this jump because of our ability to adapt environments for our own uses in ways that no other animal can match." Whether or not man can continue to adapt to the emerging environment, however, is a difficult question. In a (literally) rapidly changing world, it is difficult to look back on past or present to divine the future. But, using Malthus' line of reasoning, one way or another mother nature will surely ‘take care of us'. "Lack of resources, environmental degradation, famine and disease will in the painful fashion known by our ancestors cut our species back. AIDS is the obvious example of a way in which to do

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