Aren’t we all guilty of this? Not my problem! When we see something that doesn’t affect us personally, we don’t really care. When we know something has adverse effects globally, we sit, talk, discuss and feel bad about it. And then we forget about it! Sometimes we can’t. When we are asked what sociology is? We reply with sociology is a study of society, its salient components & their interdependent relationship. However, this society would not even exist if there was no earth, no land to live on. In this century, we are faced with enormous global issue, Climate change! While I am writing this, my brain is telling me to stop writing about this controversial issue. However, Why? “Why is it not evident to everyone that climate is changing?” Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and average temperatures are rising by unusual levels and what not.
We are partly responsible for this environmental change. It is our responsibility to use our resources sustain-ably. The 2007 report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that sea levels and ocean temperatures are rising. Like all social scientific approaches, political economy research concedes that climate change is not purely rooted in planetary physical systems. Sociologists who are studying environmental changes have used different theoretical and methodical strategies to understand the relationship between humans and the natural environment they live in. These two are interdependent of each other.
As noted by NSF Climate Change Workshop, Sociological Perspective on Global Climate Change, one of the most important factor affecting climate change by sociological perspective is political economy. In the modern industrial societies, empirical research methods have been used to analyze how industrialization and urbanization are affecting environment. The emission of greenhouse gases in the natural environment is a deadly result of ever-increasing industrialization. These studies also conclude how social factors affect excessive production and consumption which has outcome of high-waste economies. Climate change is a global threat. Environmental sociologists are determining how human ecology is one of the threats. The attitude of people, organization and policy makers has been an unwanted obstacle in process of finding solutions. The wastage of resources and the “taken for granted” attitude needs to change. Couple of months ago, while discussing climate change with some friends, one of my friend reacted, “Oh! So we may run out of water in 100 years? Good! We won’t be there to see that.” This dialogue shook me to the core. How can we be so irresponsible?
It’s not just about how we are one of the elements responsible for climate change. It is also important to consider that how climate change is affecting us. In the diverse socio-economic world, the inequality will be a major factor in determining who will be affected the most. Population will vary depending on the availability of resources at certain places. People living in poverty will be impacted the most as they will not have sufficient financial resources to obtain necessities to cope with these changes. For the people from different age groups, especially children and senior citizens, it will be more difficult to cope up. Important social factors like human health, security, disaster management will take a major hit as a result. International relationships between countries will pummel as there will be disputes regarding all of these issues. Below is the chart which shows how everything in the society and its natural environment is affected by each other.
This topic is more important and elaborate to be just discussed here. This issue needs macro and micro level analyzing. It’s important that media shows the ongoing changes in demographic and geographic conditions are a result of climate change. They need to strongly express how important it is that each and every person can make a difference just by changing small habits which are harmful to the environment which in turn could help resolve this issue.
Policy makers should make policies in the benefit of environment and not just an economy. When we realize that we are partly responsible for this situation, then the real resolution will begin. And to answer the question of my friend; Yes! We won’t be there when world runs out of water, but we will be remembered for being irresponsible at not taking steps to curb it. So we should stop saying that “It’s not my problem” and understand that ‘Global Warming’ is not just a global issue but a local problem…something that can have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives, today and in the future.
Below is the video which changed my perspective towards how fast the world is changing.
IPCC website, NSF Climate Change Workshop, Sociological Perspective on Global Climate Change, http://www.asanet.org/research/NSFClimateChangeWorkshop_120109.pdf