11 Public Anthropology Award Winners
the University of Kansas
in Prof. Bartholomew Dean's
ANTH 160 & 162 (Varieties of Human Experience)
Mariam Rice, Brystol Bates, Lucy Whittington, Emily Kubica, Maverick Edwards, Amanda Chamness, Garrett Cleek, Rachel Lee, Benjamin Norgaard, Drayden Wood, and Brett Sack
Read Their Letters, Please Use Your Search Function)
Directions for Students' Letters:
1. At the top of your letter list two specific ways the people you are addressing differ from your own position on climate change.
2. In writing your letter, ask yourself: (a) How might you frame your letter to draw those who differ from you on climate change to move toward a position that you both might share? (b) Might you find a common goal to collaborate on in respect to climate change despite your differences?
Coming to an Understanding
by Mariam Rice
To whom it may concern,
Although climate change has been a frequently discussed topic in recent years, this issue has been on the forefront of my mind for over a decade. The first time that I remember hearing the term “climate change” was when I was in elementary school watching a documentary by Michael Moore. I was fascinated by this concept of a swiftly changing planet, and was intrigued by the idea that there are people in the world who simply disagree about its severity or even importance as a national issue. I have come to the conclusion that despite my firm belief that climate change is a real and pressing world issue, the concerns of those who disagree are valid and deserve further research. With that in mind, there are two main points that I find to be of utmost importance when having a discussion about climate change:
1) Although we sometimes find solace in the fact that the weather is constantly fluctuating, this is not as normal when considering the Earth’s climate.
2)When considering the ~1 degree that the planet has warmed over the 20th century, even if it falls within the range of +/5 degrees in the past 3,000 years, shouldn’t the short time we have used fossil fuels in the masses be alarming?
Oftentimes when I hear people who oppose the significant influence of humans on climate change, the first argument revolves around the little impact that 1 degree can have on a planet. When you consider however the drastic changes that this 1 degree has had (the melting of glaciers, ocean rising, plant growth, etc.) they are not small changes. In addition to this, some of these changes (such as the melting of the glaciers) have irreversible consequences. For example, polar bears are losing their habitat, which could cause their extinction, which would affect a larger food chain, and ultimately entire ecosystems. Even if this 1 degree of change seems insignificant, if we can agree that humans are causing it, then we can agree that humans are contributing to irreversible consequences on our planet.
The second argument against climate change stems from the idea that the 1 degree difference falls within a range of variation that has been recorded over the past 3,000 years. However, I would encourage those who think this way to consider the length of time that humans have even been using fossil fuels. Fossil fuels were discovered in the 1800’s, which was a mere 220 years ago. When considering this value to scale, we have made a 1 degree difference (which as we have established, has catastrophic impacts on our planet) in only 220 years. The +/- 5 degree fluctuation is over a course of 3,000 years, meaning that we may not even even know the full rate that our fossil fuel use has even had; let alone to what extent it is irreversible since the commercial use of this fuel is relatively new.
Though the topic of climate change may seem straightforward, I always encourage taking an alternative perspective regardless of where you may stand. My argument is simply that though the "con" arguments have valid points, when looking deeper into the logic, there are more potential questions into their validity rather than confirmation of solid reason. Just because something may seem insignificant on our scale, does not mean that that is the scale that the Earth follows.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, and I hope I have made thought-provoking arguments!
An Open Letter To Those Who Do Not Believe People
Are the Cause of Climate Change
by Brystol Bates
To those who do not believe people are causing climate change,
I will be honest, when I was younger I would have agreed with you. The Earth goes through periods of warming and cooling, isn’t probably just time for the next rise in temperature? And if humans are to blame for climate change, then why is nothing drastic being done to stop it? While we agree that climate change is happening, we disagree on the true cause and the best steps to take to combat it. These are the two topics that we must reach a common ground on:
First, the matter of people. While I believe that the Earth does naturally go through periods of climate change, we differ in the thought that humans are not major contributors to our current climate crisis.
Second, the matter of money. Many of you might believe that even if humans are the major influencer of climate change, that effective solutions are too expensive, and require more investment than what they are worth.
Both of these topics need immediate action; however, this cannot happen without agreement, and agreement cannot occur without understanding.
Throughout the lifetime of the Earth the climate has gone through periods of rapid cooling and warming, leading to not only the Ice Age, but years of rapid diversity in life. This data can be understood from many different studies, and is a fact that most people agree upon. Unfortunately, in recent years this increase in temperature has happened at a rapid rate, causing our planet to undergo changes that we as a species have never seen. In the past 100 years, Earth’s average temperature has risen over 1 degree Fahrenheit. While this seems minuscule it has imparted large changes to Earth’s climate. These changes can be seen as floods, drought, wildfires, or hurricanes, and can impact everything from daily life to large scale agriculture.
I come from a small Missouri farming town, and in the past few years the surrounding communities that rely on farming have taken immense tolls. In the summer of 2018 Missouri was confronted with a drought, one that completely killed many of the hay fields in Missouri. This resulted in a large demand for hay, as cattle producers could not let their cattle starve. While I felt the localized impacts of this new burden, communities near the Missouri River faced production slow down as well. The weather had been so hot and dry, that the Missouri River dried up in some locations and barges ran aground. While at the time I was not concerned about the production effects, I do remember the constant news of people who had heat related illnesses. The summer is a time for people to enjoy being outside in the beautiful Midwest, and most of us spent that summer inside. So when it rained, obviously everyone was overjoyed. But when it started to rain, it didn’t stop; after this drought we were hit with flooding, and many people lost their lives. The flooding has continued into 2020, and each spring new records are set for the amount of rainfall Missouri receives.
These weather patterns are new and unprecedented, and without action it could soon continue to the rest of the country, and the world. The changes in our Earth’s climate is happening more quickly now than it ever has, and this is the direct result of human emissions. So what are we supposed to do now?
The next step is to take action. If we want to see the changes we have occurred in our lifetime reversed, we need to take extraordinary actions. And no, these changes do not have to be expensive. However, what they do need is support. If we want to take action to stop or at least slow global warming, we need to agree that it is worth trying. I believe everyone would agree that we need to find solutions to the large and unmanageable wildfires that have ravaged Australia, and the many catastrophic hurricanes that have ravaged the coasts of the U.S. in recent years. Without a change in current climate trends, we can only expect an increase in this extreme weather.
The most impactful change that can be made by the human population is the decrease in overall emissions. This is where many like to point the finger of blame, it does not matter what country emits what. An overall decrease in emissions by every country will only have positive effects! A change of this magnitude will take vigilance and responsibility. The first steps will have to be taken by citizens by imploring our government to pass the required legislation to decrease emission as a country. These changes will have the largest impact on major factories, who are burning immeasurable amounts of fossil fuels daily. This does not mean that we will regress in our advancements of production, but instead make us responsible for the future of our planet. The energy requirements needed to continue production can be met by other energy sources. Wind, hydro and solar power offers large amounts of energy that can be easily produced and sourced. This doesn’t even begin to name the many other energy sources that are being utilized by advanced technology companies across the globe. With enough support and investment these energies are well worth their opportunities.
Climate change as a whole is a daunting and an exhaustive challenge our planet faces. Unfortunately, it is also one that we have created, but it is one that is certainly in our power to fix. If we each do our part to advocate for a change, we should see the changes we seek within our time. I hope that you have understood the reasoning behind my perspectives, and believe that we can come to an agreement regarding the changes that need to be made.
Community Action Project: Letter about Climate Change
by Lucy Whittington
Dear conservative family members,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. I am writing because it has come to my attention that we disagree on fundamental beliefs about climate change. I hope that we can better understand each other’s argument and find some common ground. The two main points where we disagree are as follows:
1. You have publicly expressed your belief that climate change is not exacerbated by human activity.
2. You have claimed that we should not take steps to combat climate change because the results are uncertain and expensive.
I wanted to start by addressing your first argument that humans have nothing to do with the increase in climate change. I know that we all agree that climate change is occurring because of the evidence documented by organizations such as NASA that have proven that “Earth’s temperature has gone up about one-degree Fahrenheit in the last 100 years” (here is the website I used if you would like to verify: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-climate-change-k4.html.) We all understand that the world is getting warmer- I have heard you guys make many remarks like “it’s a lot hotter these days than when I was a kid.”
However, we disagree on why climate change is occurring. You believe that climate change is a natural occurrence, caused by fluctuation in our oceans’ currents and heat given off by the sun. You would argue that the rising temperatures we are experiencing are consistent with historical fluctuations. I believe that the majority of climate change is caused by human activities. I understand where you are coming from. Many scientists have supported the conclusion that Earth plays a natural role in climate change. Some climate change occurs naturally and has nothing to do with human activity. However, I think it is important to not dismiss humans’ effect on the environment as well. Humans play a crucial role in increasing global warming through waste consumption, consumer culture, the overuse of fossil fuels and natural resources and agricultural farming. These activities release Methane and Nitrous Oxide into the air which causes the earth’s temperature to rise proportionately higher than from CO2 emissions (https://climatechange.procon.org/.)
As far as your second argument goes, I understand the hesitation when it comes to taking measures to combat climate change. You worry that some measures may be costly and time consuming, which is a valid concern. However, I think that we need drastic measures if we are to combat climate change and help fight in the war against global warming. I am with you that I don’t want to drastically change my life and spend my money on measures that might not be effective. Although, most of the measures that would help decrease climate change are cost effective and easy to implement. Some of these measures are simply voting for policies that work to protect the environment, walking more instead of driving, paying attention to how much we consume and the amount of waste we produce.
I think that it is worth sacrificing small things if it means we could have a longer, brighter future. I think it is important to recognize that most things in life are uncertain so while it may seem like our actions will be ineffective in the short term, our future lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren are uncertain if we don’t do something.
Climate change should not be looked at as an “all or nothing” issue. Think about our family vacation to Disney Land. We tried to do every single ride and ended up tired, dehydrated and unbelievably sunburned. If we had just picked a couple rides, then we all would have had a better time. Think of climate change like Disney Land. We don’t have to stop driving, stop consuming, stop living our lives. But we can choose to get on the “walk to work instead of drive” ride and the “try to eat local meat and dairy” ride and the “be more conscience of our actions” ride. If everybody puts in a little effort, we can start to combat and control global warming (and also avoid getting cranky and sunburned.)
Don’t get me wrong, we do need drastic measures as well. We need people with money to fund initiatives to protect the environment and combat climate change. We need people to sacrifice more in order to see change. But that doesn’t have to be everybody. Solutions should not be economically or socially devastating for people. A lot of the change that needs to happen has to be on a governmental level and not on a citizen level.
I’m excited to hear from you guys and learn more about your side of the argument. I think it is important to have this dialogue.
Finding Common Ground to Fight Climate Change
by Emily Kubica
To whom it may concern,
As the dynamics of the world continue to be ever-changing, we see agreement and disagreement about almost every aspects of our lives. The topic of climate change is something that can become combative, especially with two seemingly clear-cut sides of the problem. However, today instead reverting to our combative tendencies, I would like to address some differences in the way we view climate change. These differences include:
1. The belief that humans and human activity are not the main source of climate change.
2. The belief that one’s position on climate change does not have to be political.
As I’m sure we’re all well aware now, we are living through a major historical event. A global pandemic; an event that has evoked a range of emotions from fear and anxiety to sadness and grief. While there is no doubt, that COVID-19 has brought many new challenges to our world, it has also changed our world in surprisingly positive ways. In a time when the world seems to be moving at a faster and faster pace with no sign of technology, industrialization, or even daily life slowing down, COVID-19 has completely rewritten the script. Through the midst of this pandemic, the world has seemed to slow, people staying home, the travel industry halting, as well as businesses and factories closing.
While this is not an ideal situation for our economy or for our livelihoods, it has shown us a few lessons already. With the lockdown of major cities in China, scientists found that the amount of carbon emissions fell drastically. It’s hard to imagine China as a place without smog or heavily polluted air, but that is exactly what happened. China is not the only place that has seen a reduction in carbon emissions either. Countries all around the world including the United Kingdom and the United States have seen similar trends. Besides carbon emissions, physical changes have been noticed as well. Take Venice, Italy for example. A beautiful city that often has a reputation of being very dirty. Amid this tragedy, the canals of Venice have cleared up due to the reduction in boat traffic and tourist pollution. Without the world taking a step back from their daily activities, we would have never even seen these improvements at all.
In regard to my second point, many people believe that a position on climate change has a political connotation to it. While different political parties take different positions on approaches to combat and reverse climate change, I believe that regardless of political affiliation, we must work together to find effective scientifically supported solutions and approaches to climate change. As we know, climate change affects all of us with no bias/preference for what political party one is in. Along with the physical environmental changes that we have seen lately, the pandemic has also demonstrated that it takes the work of everyone changing their routines and habits to see such physical changes in the environment.
Without the presence of humans, Earth would not see nearly as much carbon emission and natural gas being spewed into the atmosphere. Due to our impact, climate change has revved up and while it is positive to see the decline in carbon emissions, changes must continue to be made around the world to actually make a long-term impact. We must come together as one and put our differences, whether political or not, aside in order to change the course of climate change. It is with the unity and strength that we have seen our world come together during these times, that must carry over into how we approach other global problems. Like COVID-19, climate change cannot be changed by the actions of just one person, it will take all of us to overcome and to succeed.
The Climate Changes
by Maverick Edwards
I address everyone today with a very common dilemma on an issue that has basically only two paths. An issue has been discussed and argued about for years but no one has found a truthful answer. So I am here to add to the debate on climate change. First I need to clarify some facts about me. I am no scientist or or climate change expert. I have no experience in the field of studying it and I have never studied it. I study mechanical engineering so my field does not really relate to weather. However, I am a twenty year old sophomore in college who has lived through the technology and industry bloom. So I have experienced and observed a changing of the world around me.
Some people may disagree, and not think climate change is due to human activity. Other people believe that we need to pay to help change the climate from rising. I disagree with these statements.
I do think the climate is changing ever so slightly at a time, and I believe this is due to the industrialization and human behavior and needs. However, there are no expensive steps to take but there are things we can do.
As I mentioned before, I am a student in the school of engineering. Currently, I am enrolled in a thermodynamics class doing well. If you are not familiar, this is a study of energy and heat basically. I am no expert but I have learned concepts that can influence the changing of climate. Mainly, in the second fundamental law there is a thing called entropy. Now, me even being a student and learning about it, I get confused. If you look it up on google, it will not clear up what it is. It is a very confusing concept to mentally grasp. But I will give you an easy example and sum it up for you. Entropy kind of like energy and heat that escapes to a bigger state. In regards to climate change, it is not a good thing, we want to keep the entropy low otherwise it is not good for our planet. Pretend it is a gas. One that is harmful to the world, like a carbon emission. However you can not take entropy away. So, it can not be reversed. Our planets current state, our current climate, can not be reversed. Basically saying we can not decrease the amount of damage climate change has done so far. We can also not prevent it from continually getting damaged. We can only slow the process in my opinion.
Human needs continue to increase. A quick example is the power supplied to your iPhone. Ten to twenty years ago, think of the amount of people that had a cell phone? Not very many. Today, everyone from the age of eight it seems like, has an iPhone. These phones have to charge. How does it charge? It requires power which is gives off "entropy" which damages the planet. This is minuscule of course, but over time with the amount of things humans have and need varying from phones, computers, and cars. Factories that supply these things also are also added to this! Where was all this stuff fifty years ago? Humans did not have access to it yet. How was the climate of the world back then? It was a lot lower. Therefore there is a very clear correlation that as human activity went up, so did the climate and change of the world.
Overall, with the argument said above, there is no going back to how our planet was ten, twenty years ago. It is too late. There is no point in paying for or trying to reverse what humans have done. The only steps we can take, is to slow the process. I think the only step is for people to be cautious, of what they are doing and how it affects the world around them. Simple!
Thank you in advance to listening to my rant, hopefully you can see, or try to see, my point and think what you do affects the globe. Can you change it and will you? That is for you to decide, the fate of our planet rests is in all of our hands!
The Importance of Awareness
by Amanda Chamness
To whom it may concern,
Climate change has been a revolving, serious topic throughout the world for several years now. As for recently, it has become a much larger problem, which is one that I do stand with. Climate change should not be a topic of debate, but it should be a topic of team work.
1. The causes of climate change are not in fault of the United States alone, but is a worldwide issue and should be treated that way.
2. Although it is natural history for Earth to be changing constantly, it has been not until recently that these changes have become much more severe and it is time to take action.
Regarding my first point, I believe that the blame for climate change becoming such a major and sever issue is solely placed on the United States, which is totally unfair. China leads the world in most pollution of the world and I feel as if their actions are no where to be seen. I think it would be more appropriate for all nations and countries to come together in order to develop ways to eliminate these dangers together. If the United States is working on new inventories to limit pollution, then China and other major areas of pollution should also be aware of these new technologies. Generating ideas from one country to the next would be more efficient to limit possible climate change dangers, rather than the focus being entirely on the US and that we are the only ones who need to make a change in our behaviors.
Regarding my second point, I believe that the topic of climate change is widely and strongly talked about all around the world. People make it out to be this terrifying subject and that we need to change our way and we need to do this and that. All I ever see is "talk" and no "actions". I think that it is natural for Earth to constantly be changing and differing, but recently it has approached a very dangerous height and is becoming a very real thing for some people. I understand if some people do not believe in climate change being a real thing and that things need to change or we will not be okay, but it is also easy to take a step back and realize that it also is not a bad thing to help out your community and where you live every once in a while. Just because you do not believe in the cause does not mean there is nothing you can do to help that is just a 'natural' thing. For example, littering should just not be done. Simple as that.
I do understand both sides to the issue of climate change and how opinions will always differ for everyone. However, there is always something someone can do to make a simple change day by day to help the Earth. Even if you do not prefer to look at it in that way, there are plenty of other ways to look at it, such as keeping your neighborhood clean. Even if people are only doing the bare minimum, they are still doing something, and all of it counts.
Thank you for hearing me out and I hope we can come to an agreement some time! I would love to know your opinions on this issue.
An Appeal to my Comrades in the Trucking Industry
by Garrett Cleek
My Dear Comrades,
Trucking is our profession. It is a very special type of people who are drawn to this industry. Those who are brave and skilled enough to guide such immense mechanical behemoths hundreds of thousands, or millions of miles over their careers are certainly a breed apart. The talent, stamina, and focus which this job demands of its operators are as uncommon as they are incredible. These traits and the love and enthusiasm we have for our machines are what I admire about all my colleagues, and what makes us a family.
In this letter, I want to address a particular point of contentious debate which has placed me at odds with you, my industry brothers and sisters: global warming. Each of us know that the average temperature of our planet has been rising steadily each year in our living memories. This fact alone is not alarming, as we’re all aware of the natural ebb and flow of earth’s average temperature over past millennia. What is noteworthy and alarming is the noticeable correlation between the onset of the U.S. Industrial Revolution and the unprecedented concentration of greenhouse gases found in our atmosphere coinciding with average temperature increases occurring at a rate faster than any other time in earth’s existence.
I suspect that many of you are thinking it’s a logical fallacy to assume that correlation between any observations indicates a causal relationship. I am taking this opportunity to discuss this matter with you all for that reason. I hope this correspondence serves to catalyze an open and logical dialogue on this issue. And that we reach a point of greater understanding and empathy for each other’s views, ultimately agreeing upon a plan of action we will all commit to.
There are two specific points I will address: 1) The first point is that, unlike me, you do not believe that human activity is the primary, or even a major contributor to global warming. 2) The second is that you think there are no actions certain enough to undertake in response to this crisis. Further, that any possible action significant enough to impact the trajectory of climate change now would be impossible to finance and result in reversing generations of technological advancement in industry.
To address the first point, I’d like to remind you that greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) are all naturally occurring. I’d also like to remind you that they are all omnipresent byproducts of combustion engine exhaust emissions. While the concentrations of greenhouse gases fluctuated over the past 650,000 years, concentrations of carbon dioxide never met a measurement of 280ppm (parts per million) until approximately 1800, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Since 1850, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen from 280ppm to 410ppm. Preceding the Industrial Revolution, in any given 1,000- year period of the last 650,000, global carbon dioxide levels never increased by more than 30ppm. In contrast, a verified 30ppm increase has been recorded in the past 20 years (since 2000). As humanity expanded civilization, lush plant-life was removed to make room. This is important to note, because the addition of ever-increasing human sources of greenhouse gases to naturally occurring levels immediately began outpacing the earth and atmosphere’s natural abilities to convert harmful gasses into other benign compounds. For example, carbon dioxide is converted into harmless carbonates during photosynthesis. Hence the paradox: expansion of civilization has exponentially increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide – but the expansion of civilization was only made possible by removing incalculably vast quantities of vegetation which was charged with rendering the gas harmless and releasing precious oxygen. Our prosperity has effectively increased the amount of poison and decreased the available antidote.
Why is that relevant in this letter? Excess CO2 is bad for two reasons: First, carbon dioxide in great enough concentrations is poisonous and ultimately deadly to humans. Second, CO2 absorbs the sun’s rays allowing it to reach earth and if too great a concentration is present, it traps the heat in our atmosphere. For thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution, earth enjoyed relatively stable temperatures, as a balance had been achieved in greenhouse gas emission and conversion rates. The additional CO2 generated by industry has upset that balance, and the increasing temperatures steadily cause more intense seasonal and regional temperatures annually, reduction in sea ice and presence of snow leading to increased sea levels, intensified annual rainfall, and unwelcome changes in habitats and conditions for plants and animals. Ultimately, excess greenhouse gas will make the earth uninhabitable for most life as we know it.
What does this have to do with truckers? Here is my rationale: Technological innovation spawned during the Industrial Revolution enabled civilization to expand as labor and production became easier. Expansion around the globe required removal of vegetation and manipulation of the land, requiring development of means to carry-out those tasks. Prior technological innovation made engineering and mass producing these means possible. With these means available, getting them and the people who operated them to the places being developed needed to be done expeditiously. Around the turn of the twentieth century the automobile was invented. Shortly thereafter, implementation of fossil fuel burning internal combustion engines found its way into nearly all transit platforms. All the while, technology kept expanding, populations exploded, and the demand for commercial goods rocketed. In order to move the immense quantities of goods and materials, heavy duty trucks were invented. Large internal combustion engines hauling and towing extremely heavy loads consumed a lot of fuel and produced far more emissions gasses than their passenger car counterparts, as is the case today. In 1904 only 700 large trucks were on American roadways. By 1914 that number was 25,000. In 1924, there were 416,569. Today in the United States more than 15,500,000 heavy duty trucks operate every day. The number of heavy-duty trucks operating daily around the globe is impossible to approximate being that heavy trucks operate in nearly every region of every country on every continent of this planet, day and night, and that fleet sizes increase regularly. It’s my assertion that, given these facts, our industry has been, and still is a key contributor to excessive atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Therefore, since its inception, trucking always has been, currently is, and always will be a major cause of global warming unless we take action.
Tackling the second topic – is it possible to finance change and does it require going back to the dark ages to make any difference? – is less daunting than it may seem. The short answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’, respectively. But these concerns deserve elaboration. If you still ultimately deny that human activity is a key, or even major contributor to global warming, I am appealing to you to at least concede that the collective emissions generated by our industry worldwide certainly are not helpful. If you can do that, I believe that we can compromise on handling this issue.
It is undeniable that our industry does have part in contributing to excessive greenhouse gas accumulation within our atmosphere, which has been proven to be problematic for the health and well-being of our planet and all its inhabitants. Our industry operates in every place on earth delivering absolutely everything that every person wants and needs. Neither you or I, nor anyone else can change the past. But we can all make conscientious decisions to only invest our current and future maintenance and fleet replenishment dollars in resources and vehicles which are designed to minimize our contribution to the atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases.
I propose that from this point onward every one of us in this industry refuse to purchase new vehicle chassis to retrofit with rebuilt engines produced prior to the 2007/2010 EPA trucking industry emissions mandates when replenishing fleets, to only invest in units outfitted with the most modern and best performing EPA compliant diesel exhaust after-treatment systems for your business, and to consider emerging alternative energy technologies that are just on the horizon. Such as the electric semi-tractors and heavy trucks entering the market from Tesla, Daimler Trucks (Freightliner), Rivian, BYD, Chanje, Workhorse Group, and Volvo. Other than that, change nothing. We can all love, operate, and be proud of our machines and our trade exactly as we always have, knowing that we’re refusing to be part of this problem heading into the future.
I encourage and welcome responses. Let’s keep this discussion alive. Thank you for affording me the time you’ve spent reading my letter.
Thank you for your consideration. And thank you for being with me in our beloved industry.
Fighting Climate Change Together
by Rachel Lee
To whom it may concern,
The subject of climate change has been debated and discussed to a great degree between people of differing views. Here, I plan to discuss the topic of climate change in a respectable manner as it is something that I among many people are passionate about. Although we do not think the same, my hope is that you can understand the message I am giving, so that we can find a common ground to offer a mutual solution.
Here are two important points where we differ when it concerns the issue of climate change:
First, although the Earth’s temperature has changed, while I believe it has been primarily caused by human pollution, you believe that we are not a significant component of the climate change we are experiencing today.
My second point is that you believe that if we did focus on climate change, our efforts cannot be confirmed to change global warming and therefore be a waste of our money and resources. On the other hand, I do believe that using our money and resources can change the issue of climate change to give us a better future.
Regarding my first point of climate change, I understand the skepticism of human activity being the primary cause of climate change. No one can be absolutely certain of the cause of something such as climate change. It still snows, we still have cold winters, how can we be sure that human pollution is the cause of global warming? That is all true. We do experience cold weather, but that does not change the fact that the global temperature has risen. Earth’s temperature has actually risen approximately 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This may seem minuscule but it also requires a huge amount of heat activity to raise the Earth’s temperature like that. This heat activity is made up of increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions. The year 2019 was the second hottest year on record and 2.07 degrees Fahrenheit above the pre-industrial average.
The climate change we are experiencing may be unnoticeable to some, but as I thought about it, I realized how much cold weather I have been decreasingly experiencing over the course of my life. As a child, I remember enjoying how much snow we received in Kansas and how cold the winters would be. I have vivid memories of playing in massive piles of snow and enjoying days off school due to the inclement weather. Growing up, I have experienced less and less of those situations. But I understand how it can go unnoticed to some people, because we can still experience some type of cold weather to this day. My fear is that it will progress so slowly that it will not cause any worry to some until the day that the Earth is no longer able to provide cold weather at all.
Now, regarding my second point of climate change, I do understand how the money and resources it takes to tackle climate change is a huge sacrifice. I wanted to also put out there that it is a sacrifice to me. Many things that are convenient and enjoyable to me will need to be sacrificed as well. It is a battle we would all be in together and it would be something that takes time. There are so many engineers and works fighting to change the way the world works now by introducing new ways to eliminate global warming causes. This also gives people the opportunity of a job and new forms of work to make money. Instead of losing resources and money, think of substituting them instead because it is not necessarily a loss. When we lose certain resources, we work to gain new ones that are less harmful to our environment. When we spend money on building these new resources, we work to earn money from these new resources. For example, I will discuss one of the solutions that have been implemented to decrease the effects of climate change. Solar farms have been introduced to relieve the number of emissions being put into the atmosphere and to replace fossil fuels. It is estimated to reduce 36.9 gigatons of CO2 by the year 2050. You might ask about the cost as well, but solar farms are actually cheaper than the normal fossil-fuel alternatives. Not only solar farms, but electric cars, solar roof panels, and silvopasture have been done to fight off climate change. There are so many undiscovered changes to be made that ultimately will not hurt society. Some changes do require sacrifice, but not all of them do.
I think what is most important is that we can work together to create a common goal with respect to climate change. I strongly believe that this is not an issue that should divide people, but should bring people together to find solutions. Ultimately, we all want a better future for the world and we’re all looking for the best way to do so. I think we can find better solutions and substitutions to fossil-fuels that can be used to enhance our day to day lives while also being better for the environment. Many issues have come with climate change, such as droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, hurricanes, and more. These are effects of climate change that can affect anyone and everyone regardless of your viewpoint. Together, we can find a solution that can prevent these natural disasters and protect the world and the people living in it.
Thank you for taking the time to hear what I had to say about climate change and I would love to hear your views as well. At the end of this, what I hope is for us to come to an agreement together to fight for a better future.
by Benjamin Norgaard
Over the past several years, the debate about climate change has grown. I think both sides can agree that climate has definitely increased over the past decade or so, that is undeniable. In my opinion, after doing extensive research and deciding for myself, humans have had the largest effect on the earth's temperature rising almost two degrees.
1. I know that you have collected your own data, and determined that human activity has not had a large effect on the earth's climate, if any effect.
2. Keeping this first disagreement in mind, you think even if human activity is a major part of climate change, the price would be too much and the time would take too long. Which are valid points, but if we truly want to fix climate change we would make an effective effort to try.
I first want to start out by saying, I am no scientist and have only come to my conclusion from the data I have available, and the facts provided. That being said, I hope by the end of my letter we can both understand each other's sides and find some common ground.
The first point made is very hard to determine a true cause of global warming. There are so many opinions that point to either side being right. I would agree that we do not know the full cause of why our planet's temperature is rising. I will just start with the facts though. Over the past 100 years the earth's temperature has raised 7 degrees. Yes, this does not necessarily mean humans were the main cause but I would definitely say that our impact helped increase the temperature.
I live in the Chicago land area and my extended family has lived here for over 80 years. In my experience, even though I am only 20 years old, the climate around me has changed severely. The normal weather patterns I saw growing up seem to never happen anymore. The huge snowstorms have seemed to stop and when it does snow it will usually melt within a week. My grandparents, who are very old fashioned, would tell me stories of how when it snowed, the snow would not melt all winter. The summers have changed greatly too. They start much earlier than they have in the past and end much later. The temperature is reaching record highs, and it is not a shock when “highest temperature for that date” is broken.
Responding to the second argument, yes, it would cost a lot but we would be saving our planet. Fossil fuels are a key resource for everyone's daily lives, that is not an argument. We fly planes, drive cars and boats that are all powered by gasoline or other fossil fuels, but we can change this and figure out another solution. There are cars that use zero gasoline, we could potentially make planes and boats powered by electricity as well. This would be just the start. If we could acquire the resources and the money the opportunities would be endless! We do not need anymore natural disasters that are killing innocent people and costing, maybe even more than fixing global warming, to repair every place getting hit with a natural disaster.
We can help each other out by simply asking questions.
I would love to be able to have the opportunity to sit down and have a rational debate that does not lead to an argument. Just both sides getting to understand where each other is coming from.
Thank you for reading my letter! I hope we can talk soon and I wish this was helpful from seeing it from my point of view.
A Letter on Climate Change
by Drayden Wood
To Whom It May Concern,
Though the existence of climate change is mostly agreeable, estimating around three quarters of the American population believing in the issue’s existence, the causation is still a heated controversy. Many people, myself included, believe that increased CO2 gas emissions created by humans have resulted in global warming, and that it is our responsibility to change our way of life to protect the earth. Others, however, would argue the following:
The earth undergoes natural climate change, and the present rise in temperature is nothing out of the ordinary compared to historical climate variance.
The financial cost of shifting human activity into more environmentally conscious practice would be far more devastating than the effects of combating climate change.
While these points are absolutely valid, I believe we should consider counterpoints that might give a more inclusive, overall view of the topic of climate change so together, we can make an informed decision. It is true that the earth’s climate has always fluctuated; The big concern is not simply that the earth is warming up, but rather it is heating at an alarming rate in conjunction with an increase in CO2 emissions. Studies show that the total amount of emissions humans create - through deforestation and the burning of oil, gas, and coal - are not fully absorbed by forests and oceans, and the remaining carbon gases pollute our atmosphere. This results in the greenhouse effect, allowing heat to enter the earth’s atmosphere without being able to release it through the buildup of gases. Humans are the biggest producers of carbon dioxide on earth, so it is our responsibility to alter our actions in order to reverse this effect.
Changing our ways does not have to result in an economic downfall. For those of us that live in urban areas, simply riding a bike to work instead of driving a car would be a step in the right direction. Small things add up! Turning electronics off/unplugging them when not in use, taking shorter showers, or using reusable appliances in place of disposable ones are all uncostly practices that can make a difference. Of course, there are larger entities that have a stronger impact on the economy, however there are always other ways of making and spending money. Global warming already impacts communities in highly negative ways, and we have to remember the worth of human lives when thinking about the less important economic impact.
The earth has already suffered wildfires in Australia and North America, lethal hurricanes in North and South America, and melting ice caps in Antarctica. Millions of human lives have been lost to these environmental tragedies, in addition to the extinction and endangerment of thousands of animal species that humans barely have the resources to protect. Global warming knows no skin color, political affiliation, or sexual orientation; everyone is affected by it equally, and it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part in any way they can to protect our home.
Thank you for your consideration!
Letter To Group
by Brett Sack
How the group I'm addressing differs from my own position on climate change:
1. The group believes that human activity is not a major portion of climate change OR the group believes that climate change is not happening.
2. The group believes that the planet is capable of absorbing these increases in CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases.
Before I go into this, I would just like to say that I don't claim to know everything there is to know about climate change, or anything for that matter, but I do believe that the claims against climate change being related to human activity are coming from a place of not wanting to be personally associated with the problem, and I understand that. It's hard to accept that you are contributing to a problem, not even just climate change, but I think it's important that people are as aware of the situation as they can be.
First off, the association between humans and climate change. I will admit here, before I go into it, that it is 100% possible that climate change is not primarily caused by humans. I mean, it was once certain that the earth was flat, but that was ultimately disproven. The same could be happening here. However, I could not say that it doesn't exist at all as some people claim. Now, as to why I believe that climate change is at least largely contributed to by human activity. The current evidence shows that human-made pollution has greatly increased ever since the industrial revolution and increases in greenhouse gases are tied to increased temperatures through heat retention in the atmosphere and decreases in the ozone layer. While the contribution towards these gas levels from the environment has been hotly debated, it is no doubt that we have at least created a portion of the current levels. Just how much we've contributed can be shown by looking at the ppm (parts per million) of CO2 from the past hundreds of thousands of years to today. When looking at the data, it is shown that the highest previous atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 300ppm about 340,000 years ago. Compared to the 408ppm of today's atmosphere (mostly rising in the past 50 years), it should become obvious that we've at least contributed to increase greenhouse gas concentrations to higher levels in a quicker time frame than ever before.
Secondly, the belief that the earth can absorb the increases in greenhouse gases. Now with this one, I can understand more clearly why people would believe it, and in fact it's probably true. The problem I have with believing this is that absorbing the greenhouse gases does not mean everything will be fine. Even if the oceans and plants can absorb all of the extra gases that we produce, it will take time, and once it is absorbed, there are still problems that arise. Carbon dioxide that combines with water (which is what half of the CO2 in the atmosphere does) creates carbonic acid, lowering the pH of the water and resulting in serious health detriments to many species that inhabit the oceans. But this doesn't just affect aquatic creatures: fishes are a very important food source for many cultures.
So, in a short conclusion, I believe it is entirely possible that climate change isn't a big problem, but current evidence suggests that it is. I won't deny that the environment plays a large role in climate (we are due for a period of increased CO2, after all), but to deny that humans contribute to it is beyond my capabilites.