Are you Truly Saving our Environment?

“And how do you like it?” drifting on an extremely small piece of ice that even cannot burden a weight of a little bug, a polar bear is asking a human being, who drifting on the earth-like globe half-sunk in the water. On the top of this image, sun, which has tagged on “climate” is shining to melt the ice of polar bear, leading to one tragic ending that Earth, human and polar bear will be submerged by the water eventually. “He has not noticed yet,” a little matchstick man on the bottom says. This is one of the famous ironic comic pictures found on the internet, which represent tons of similar satirical cartoon about climate change. On one side, there is an undoubtable fact that our climate is changing, whether it’s going to a good end or bad one. However, on the other side, we are doing thousands of environmentally friendly things to protect our environment. Then it raises a question that if what we do is helpful to our planet or it’s just simply not enough.

Since the end of Cold War, more and more attentions are led to the field of sustainability and environment. Spending millions of buckets on climate research and environmental protection, a few of countries truly want to face the problem. However, none of country denies the truth that our climate is going worse, and it leads to the accomplishment of Paris Agreement, which is signed by 200 countries throughout the world to deal with greenhouse gas emission mitigation and adaption. The agreement reveals one fact that climate cannot be change by one country and it also cannot be saved by one country. With the effort from all countries, Paris agreement aims to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C.

Behind the loud applause and cheers for Paris Agreement, we almost forgot one thing: do we really help our environment by those so-called environmental protection methods? American ecologist as well as author Aldo Leopold spent most of his life seeking for the ultimate solution for human to deal with the relationship with nature. Demonstrating and critiquing the environmental protection method, Aldo Leopold wrote the essay “Think like a mountain (2)” to teach the public what is right things to do for our planet. However, his essay does not look like an essay at first. With clear storyline and a few polished words like “writhe”, “tumble” and “wagging tails”, readers, with no doubt, would think what they are reading is a novel.

The novel-like style does not weaken the credibility of argument. Instead, fictionalized evidence attracts the readers’ attention and makes the essay more entertained. “Such a mountain looks as if someone had given god a new pruning shears, and forbidden him all other exercise (2),” is the conclusion that Aldo thinks killing too much wolves would lead to. Revealing his purpose, Aldo points out sometimes seeking for “too much safety” to save environment would “yield only dangers in long run.” With this beautiful and intriguing story among wolves, deer and hunters, Aldo shows us that if you are willing to protect the mountain, you must “think like a mountain.” Which means the first thing we concerned is the biological continuity and biodiversity of the environment when we are trying to protect it.

It raises the following question: what are the methods that concerns biological continuity? If you search for it, there will be tons of information and thousands of experts to teach you the “right thing” to do. However, whether those experts are all right and their methods are all helpful?

The answer is partially given by C Stuart Hardwick, an Award-Winning Science fiction Author. He reflects on the credibility of authority in his essay “Why Should We Believe Scientists That Say Global Warming Is Real?” “We all must rely on experts, but unfortunately, the experts aren’t always right, and they aren’t always honest, and they aren’t always even experts.” Says Stuart. He begins his essay by questioning about so-called experts and their authority. Explaining the reason people will easily mistrust authority and overestimate their own knowledge, Stuart used the phrase “Dangerous thinking” to describe part of human nature, which means we always “underestimate the complexity of nearly everything nearly all the time.”

In the essay Stuart presents us what’s the common features of those “self-proclaimed experts” and how do we detect them. Writing this essay and explaining the fakeness behind the authority, Hardwick does not claim that global warming or climate change is not real, or those scientists are telling a lie to us. Instead, he wants his readers being critical to all the information that can be easily got. Regardless of how loud those experts’ voice, we always should keep a careful mind to understand and deal with the climate issue.

Although it’s too sophisticated for us to fully understand those scientific terminologies and truly detect the credibility of authority as normal people, we can approach the truth closer than we thought, Hardwick claims. However, “the trouble with this is that we are none of us good judges of our own expertise,” he adds. The biggest enemy for us is ourselves. Repeating the similar idea as Leopold, Hardwick indicates that people are always too confidence about ourselves and our environmental protection method. The similar story as the one of wolves, deer and hunters may just happens every day around us. If we can recognize how foolish we may be and identify the things that we’re doing are actually harmful, we can really save our environment. 

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