When viewing climate change, there are many influences driving the changes happening to our planet and connection between humans and climate change. As of today, atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases are greater than ever, and a majority of the reasons point to humans. Cultural Consumption is a major reason for this because of the fact that humans now belong to a manufactured “consumer class”. Characterized by diets of highly processed food, desire for bigger houses, bigger and better cars, higher levels of debt, and lifestyles devoted to the accumulation of non-essential goods which has led humans to become a major contributor to the overuse of our planet’s energy and resources.
In a recent study, 94 of the world’s biggest cities released a report estimating how much consumption habits drive the current climate crisis. The results were shocking: In those nearly 100 cities, where a combined 700 million people live, the consumption of goods and services “including food, clothing, aviation, electronics, construction and vehicles” is responsible for 10 percent of global greenhouse gases, which is nearly double the emissions from every building in the entire world. The dramatic rise of the worlds “consumer class” has led the human population to be using, and emitting more resources then currently available, quickly leading to a dying earth. Although the culture of consumerism is not always recognized as the leading polluter to the planet, it is concealed by being a form of entertainment to millions around the world. Freud argued that the driver of consumer culture was a frustrated search for wholeness, that the price of civilization was alienation and existential discomfort. Buried behind our common molds around comfort and accessibility, growth and decline, wealth and poverty, lies an undisputed set of principles that are destroying the future.
If this path of self-destruction continues, the world will not exist for much longer. Climate change has already had major effects on the environment and the animals that inhabit it. Scientists overwhelmingly agree that people are causing climate change through the exponential increase of greenhouse gas emissions over the years. Global emissions are still rising, and the last four years have been the hottest since records began. Thousand-year-old glaciers in the Arctic have melted completely, ice on bodies of water are breaking apart earlier and quicker, trees are now budding far sooner, and species have now redistributed. Climate change is producing higher temperatures and numerous, lengthier heat waves. Droughts at one-point, lasted weeks long, now, they extend for months. These rising changes in the atmosphere are causing extreme weather, leading to a rise in deaths due to the scorching heat throughout the world. Rising oceanic surface temperatures have intensified wind speeds of hurricanes and tropical storms, delivering more damage and an increase in loss of life throughout coastal communities. The dramatic increase in the occurrence of infectious diseases is also largely due to human-made global warming causing climate change. The rising temperature of the world due to the emission of greenhouse gases provides the opportunity for the distribution and breeding of the primary path for many vector-borne diseases, mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes and other biting insects transmit many of the most important, devastating and neglected human infectious diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya and West Nile virus. Economic development and cooler temperatures have largely kept mosquito-borne diseases out of wealthier Northern Hemisphere countries, but climate change promises to tip the scales in the other direction. Like vector-borne diseases, water-borne infectious diseases are also largely affected by planets climate. During times of drought, water shortage leads to poor sanitation, sometimes due to humans’ own actions - like poor disposal of sewage waste, which can cause much of population to be exposed to potentially contaminated water. The transference and distribution of infectious agents is largely influenced by rainfall, while the spread and survival are linked to temperature. The water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the weather that occurs are all being threatened by the current climate crisis caused by humans.
Humans need to open their eyes and realize that climate change is real and has been rapidly increasing throughout the past 4 years. Without the acknowledgement so desperately needed, the world will continue to quickly deteriorate. Denialism plays a large factor in the ignorance of many people when it comes to proof about climate change. Climate science denial is defined as the rejection of the scientific consensus on the existence of global warming, the role of humanity in causing global warming, or the impacts of climate change on society and the environment. Society believes that the true way of life is to indulge in material consumption, and that limiting usage of certain items is not the correct way to live a happy life. This is what is causing the planet to weaken 10 times faster. Egging on this belief that climate change isn’t actually occurring are political figures like George W. Bush and Donald Trump. In 2001 a journalist questioned George W. Bush on whether lifestyle changes need to be made in order to aid in energy challenges, his response was short, and not so sweet “That’s a big no” Donald Trump has tweeted hundreds of times regarding his beliefs that climate change is a “hoax”.
Actions like these have given society the option to believe in human driven climate change. In a study conducted by YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project polling 23 countries, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States all polled above 10% stating that the climate is changing “but human activity is not responsible at all”. Without the change in mentality from society, global warming will remain a global problem impossible to resolve without the full involvement of all countries, including developing countries.