Earth is warming! CO2 is bad! What should we do?
First, don’t panic. Let’s look at our behavior in order to understand where the problem comes from.
Scientists call climate change that is mostly influenced by people by a fancy name; anthropogenic forcing. All this means is that us people are the main suspect.
The reason we are all suspects is because we are holding a smoking gun. Carbon dioxide. Turns out that CO2 does a great job of trapping heat in our sky. Thanks to some scientists back in the 50s, we’ve been measuring CO2 in the air pretty continuously. Guess what? It’s going up. Turns out that it started going up back when the industrial revolution was invented. We know this because other scientists have helped push back our understanding of CO2 far back in time.
As students of behavior, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the smoking gun of CO2 is exactly that, smoking. The very day our first ancestor, Glog, nurtured a wild fire is the day climate change started. Glog learned that by nurturing a wild fire, she could use the fire to cook her meat, or warm her children, and maybe even both. Women probably had to be multi-tasking even in those days.
Through her entirely willful act, a typically natural occurrence was kept going longer than normal. That makes it ab-normal! If today’s scientists had tools that were infinitely accurate, they could tell us that day. Alas, they can’t.
But we know that day exsts, because we ultimately tamed fire. After fire, we developed tools, discovered oil, invented internal combustion engines, and all sorts of other nice toys. Today we are feeling some more of the after-affects of our decisions.
So climate change is not new, only our recognition is new. Now that we recognize the first, what do we do next? Stay tuned!