Climate Change is Titicaca
April 02, 2017
Climate change is not a topic to bring up in mixed company (tree-huggers/tree-choppers, coal miners/solar installers, and so on). It can also be a difficult subject to explore for a layperson, because there are so many conflicting articles and studies, it’s hard to know what to believe. Surprisingly, a recent article about Lake Titicaca in Peru, without a drop about the weather, helped me sum up how I feel about the human impact on climate change. Please don’t have a meltdown.
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America. It is located on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Once a pure and majestic lake, sacred to the Incas and a popular tourist destination, the area is now polluted with waste and toxic chemicals.
The pollution is coming from factories, mining operations, trash and raw sewage that get dumped into the many rivers that feed the lake. The people upstream probably know that putting waste into the river is not good for the environment or for those living downstream, but it solves a problem and it’s the way they have been doing it for years.
That is how I see the world today. Humankind pollutes the Earth with our factories, vehicles, waste and whatnot. We’ve been doing it for a long time, and by now we know it is not good for us or the planet. We use fossil fuels, because that is what has worked for us in the past, and changing to renewable energy will be difficult and costly.
What we must remember is that the actions we take today, are upstream to the many generations that will follow. What will flow from our timeline into theirs, is whatever we put into it. And right now, that’s a bunch of garbage. We are the generation that fully understands our trash might end up on someone else’s bank, but we toss it in the river anyway. Often using the rationalization that the lake is so big, it won’t make a difference.
I'm not pointing the finger at anyone. After I climb down from this lofty perch, I might drive 20 miles in my diesel truck, to get a fat steak to throw on a charcoal grill. All I am suggesting, is that it is a moot point to ask if humans are responsible for climate change. To be true to ourselves, the question should be--when will we stop polluting the environment?
I believe the answer to that question is--when renewable energy technology allows us to do the same things we do now, at a comparable cost. Getting there will be tough, but it is the right thing to do for future generations. The sooner the better.
Article by Jack Hanson
Lake Titicaca image from Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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