Congratulate yourself for wanting to learn more about the main cause of global warming. Not only does our species create huge problems that are beyond the ability of other animals to create, but we have the fortunate ability to analyze them and work to bring an end to their consequences. You are now actively engaged in that process!
Humans cause global warming with our unique ability to capture and use energy from stored energy sources. No other animal can start fires or build gasoline engines.
Consider your home and the environment in which it is situated. The very fact that you live in one place, something that was quite uncommon before the discovery of stored energy sources like fossil fuels, speaks to how your life is facilitated by these unique energy sources.
Even your basic needs are dependent on fossil fuels. Your water, food, and fuel for heating and cooking likely travel hundreds if not thousands of miles to your home.
This pattern couldn’t be sustained if humans didn’t have the ability to exploit dense energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. However, their discovery transformed the face of the earth and the nature of humans.
The effects on earth are dangerous. In the last 150 years, the human population has grown by more than five times and the average person uses more energy than ever. This energy comes largely from fossil fuels, the use of which is a direct and important cause of global warming.
Global Warming is a Growing Problem
The growth of the human population and the growth of consumption adds up to an ever-escalating carbon output. You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about global warming, but if we want to decrease global warming, then the amount of carbon released each year by humans must be drastically reduced.
Human Consumption or Human Population?
Two factors are acting as catalysts of increased carbon levels in our atmosphere:
- Increasing consumption among the wealthy (that means you!)
- Increasing population among the poor
You may wonder which is the primary culprit. The answer is clear – both! Consider the following:
- Americans consume 300 – 600 times as much as people in very poor nations, in some cases.
- 70 million people are added to the world’s population each year, many of whom aspire to live “better” lives, to consume like wealthy people.
From this it becomes clear why humans are the main cause of global warming. However, it is even more important for you to understand that you have the power to help prevent global warming from getting worse — live The Green Life.
Image Credit: AZRainman
I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud