Listen to the related audio clips. How do you feel about them. Do they convince you?
These audio clips appeal to our values and our feelings. They help bring about an important change in attitude. But we also need hard facts and reasoning. Two persons who have been able to combine facts and feeling are Rachel Carson and Al Gore.
Rachel Carson - Silent Spring
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction,” wrote Rachel Carson in 1954. Her book, Silent Spring (1962), and other books about the environmental dangers of uncontrolled use of pesticides inspired the modern movement to act against environmental threats.
In the 1970s, these books were important contributors to protest movements and environmentalist actions that led to tough law-making to protect the environment in the US. In 1972 the pesticide DDT was banned, and laws to prevent air and water pollution were enacted.
Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth
A generation later another book stirs our conscience. It is An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, former Vice President of the USA. He documents the imminent danger of global warming - which will lead to drastic changes in weather and in our world's ability to uphold its populations. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his tireless effort to create awareness about the threat which has led him to campaign all over the world.
His message was that we needed to act NOW! Even though some of his documented evidence has proven to be not completely accurate, there is still plenty of evidence to suggest that we really need to take global warming seriously and change our ways of living accordingly.
Global warming is most likely a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Small carbon particles create a shield around the world - much like a sweater. Other air pollutants also contribute to the warming of the earth - like burning of waste, wood and vegetation. The burning of the rain forests in South East Asia or Brazil is devastating to the earth's ability to breathe freely. Not only does it create soot and dust particles - adding to the greenhouse effect that creates global warming - but it also diminishes the earth’s capacity to produce oxygen and contain CO2.
Our Attitudes Need to Change
Our consumption of both products and fuels must be reduced, not least because more and more people all over the world have access to airplanes, cars and various products. In the USA there is a shift towards a more environmentally friendly thinking in Christian Conservative circles. Along with a new environmental drive in the White House with Barrack Obama, this may be just what we need to bring US science and innovation onboard the train for environmental change that matters!
Tasks and Activities
There are many small environmental choices we need to make in our everyday lives. Watch the video below and discuss in pairs what you are already doing or what you are willing to start doing for the environment.
We can do anything from improving insulation of houses and looking to alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, to replacing old refrigerators and electrical equipment with energy efficient products. We can use public transportation more often, turn lights off, put litter in trash cans, recycle plastics, paper, glass, bottles, batteries, cans and more. We may also reduce air travel, buy fewer cheap, dispensable products and pay green taxes.
When you discuss try to use phrases like
- As I recall . . .
- The video in question . . .
- As I understand it . . .
- In my opinion the video clip . . .
- Watching this video I feel that . . .