We're Getting Warmer: Calling for a New Look at Global Warming Policy in the United States
Rathert, Adrienne Rae
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Since the early 1980's, society has been experiencing increasingly strange weather patterns around the globe. Flooding in Bangladesh, fires in Canadian forests, ice and snowstorms in Texas these are all recent weather oddities. (Gelbspan 1998, 19, 21, 24). In the past twenty years weather records set as far back as the seventeenth century have been broken. The nine hottest years of the twentieth century have occurred since 1980 (Watson in Bender and Leone 1997, 19). These trends are only going to continue. Climate scientists predict that the global average temperature will rise between 6 -8°F in the next century (Gelbspan 1998, 17). These trends, along with other changing weather patterns, can be linked to human-induced global warming. If these predictions come true, we are approaching a world even more inflicted with weather-related disease, death, and squalid living conditions than today. Allowing the Earth to deteriorate is unfair to the rest the Earth's species. It is up to humankind to discover innovative solutions to the problems we ourselves have created. Effective global warming policy is necessary to avoid a premature end to life on Earth, or at least to avoid unpleasant living conditions for all of Earth's inhabitants. In order to sustain a more hospitable environment, it is necessary to consider the well being of other species and the Earth. Our philosophy needs to change from one centered on humans, known as anthropocentrism, to one balanced on all of the Earth's inhabitants, known as ecocentrism. With ecocentric philosophy behind the United States's legislative decisions, we could reverse the effects of global warming. To establish effective global warming policy in the United States, an ecocentric attitude must correspond with the politics of the modern world. To gain a better understanding of this, three things must be accomplished: 1. Compare ecocentric and anthropocentric theories. 2. Explore the human centered nature of the attempts at global warming policies. The two main problems preventing effective global warming policy are the influence of big businesses on policy makers and the lack of international cooperation. 3. Propose a strategy for implementing ecologically based policies. This will require a pragmatic approach for applying an ecocentric theory to modern life. These three steps will determine whether ecocentric-based policies will actually be effective. The problems of human induced global warming cry out for new solutions to this environmental problem.