Although uncertainties lie in the realm of global warming, and despite the notion that warm spells have occurred many times throughout the life of our planet, increasing temperatures pose a problem whose most harm will be felt by future generations. By now everyone is aware of the predicament; production (be it microwaves or assembly lines) begets greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which in turn prevents heat from radiating off the earth’s surface and back into the atmosphere. That much we do know.
But the connection of human activity and warmer climates is not being bought by the public; many find it hard to concern themselves with a threat that may be hundreds of years away from showing any bite. Recent surveys posted in the New York Times show the environment as being far down on the list of national worries behind the economy, terrorism, health care, poverty, education, and President Bush. There is a major difference, however, between the warming experienced in earlier times than that of today; higher effected population. If ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland rise the several feet by 2100 as some experts are predicting, shorelines will be flooded. Approximately 80 percent of the world’s population lives “on the coast” and rising waters could turn disastrous. Federal insurance and government subsidies might no longer be a good idea for encouraging coastal development.
Whether or not the wellbeing of future generations is the responsibility of today or not is an individual decision, but policy needs to be considerate of problems we are all aware of. Perhaps a recent strong push for more efficient forms of energy will be the saving grace needed to prevent drastic damage to the environment and its people. Locally, UCCS is trying to do its part by implementing a new recycling program and striving for energy efficiency by adhering to the LEED policy that promotes more environment friendly practices during construction of the new science and engineering building.