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Global Climate, What Should We Belive

Global warming is a topical issue at the moment, with debates happening all over the world and students going on strikes from school. We analyzed the two sides of the argument; Is climate change a real threat, or not?

Why do people not believe climate change exists?

Religion still has a major hold on society today. More and more people are turning to science to explain global warming, but those who believe that God or other spiritual or religious figures created the universe and everything in it simply can not accept the information science is providing. These religious people believe that, if God created all, and if God still controlled all, then He simply would not allow for this to happen, or that it simply is not possible. Those who have these religious beliefs and views on the world often do not accept the theory of evolution, and their inability to consider science as truth and fact also inhibits them from regarding Climate change as a real phenomenon or threat to the world and the future of our planet. 

People also doubt in the existence and the supposed severity of climate change because they personally have not experienced, seen or been affected by global warming. Those who live in areas such as the American Midwest argue that they still experience snowy winters and freezing temperatures, the same as they always had. Similarly, those who reside in my own home city of Melbourne might comment on how the winters are only getting colder, with one of the longest snow seasons we’ve seen in ten years occuring in the Victorian Alps in 2018. When people have their own personal experiences and see things with their own eyes that directly contradicts what scientists have been saying on such a widely debated topic, it’s easy for people to lean towards the doubtful side. 

“Climate changes has happened before”. The climate is always changing. There has been periods where alligators had been found in Spitsbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now.

On the other hand, if we look at the facts, the world’s climate is constantly changing, and it has been throughout history. The late 19th century is viewed as the point at which human activity started influencing the climate. This is well documented. 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change. 

The biggest cause of climate change is the pollution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide mostly comes from transport. When everyone drives their car alone, back and forth to work every day, it will affect the climate sooner or later. Nature creates solutions to repair itself, so the gas that cars emissions, carbon dioxide, is normally absorbed by trees and plants. However, when the release of greenhouse gases is as high as this one, and we constantly cut down more and more trees to build for example residential areas, the gas rises to the atmosphere and creates a thick layer. This layer captures the harmful gasses inside the atmosphere and creates what we call the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is what increases the global temperature, which our biggest global issue. 

Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes are breaking up earlier, accelerated sea-level rise, plant, and animal ranges have shifted, the trees are flowering sooner and we have more intense heat waves. Scientists are sure that the global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, mostly due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities as mentioned earlier. 

People are getting worried about global warming. Greta Thunberg is one of them. She first became known for her activism in 2018, at age 15, for spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to demand action on global warming. Her biggest concern is how climate change is destroying numerous ecosystems, including ours. For example, is plastic pollution a huge problem for underwater life. Fish and other animals eat the plastic, thinking it is food. The big problem with this is that they do not have strong enough enzymes in their stomach acid to digest the plastic. Therefore the plastic is left behind in the stomach, taking up the space so there is no room for more food, without them getting any protein out of it. This develops bad meat, which we eat.

 Her actions have inspired teenagers all around the globe. In Noway, 40 000 students strike for the climate, the 22 of March 2019, and demanded immediate action.

DOES FACEBOOK HAVE TOO MUCH POWER

Facebook is the world’s biggest social network, with over 2.5 billion monthly active users (Clement, 2020). The social network was established in 2004, from the college dorm room of Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has now grown from an online directory for colleges to one of the largest and most influential companies in the entire world. Facebook allows the public to make free profiles, to connect with friends, family, colleagues etc. online. Users can share pictures, articles, videos and other things they show interest in with however many people they would like.

However, Facebook have access to a lot of personal data. Facebook Product Manager (2011-2013) Antonio García Martínez stated:

“The reality is, like yeah, Facebook has a lot of personal data – your chat with your girlfriend or boyfriend, your drunk party photos from college, etc. The reality is that none of that is actually valuable to any marketer. They want commercially interesting data. You know, what products did you take off the shelf at Best Buy? What did you buy in your last grocery run? Did it include diapers? Do you have kids? Are you a head of household? Right? It’s things like that, things that exist in the outside world that just do not exist inside Facebook at all”.

Sheryl Sandberg was employed by Mark Zuckerberg, to make Facebook a big advertising business. Sandberg’s team started developing new ways to collect personal data from users wherever they went on the internet, and when they weren’t on the internet at all.

The extent of Facebook’s data collection was mostly a secret until a law student from Austria sent an email to Facebook saying he wanted a copy off all his data. What he got from Facebook was about 1,200 pages, which included personal messages he had deleted from Facebook (Jacoby, 2018).

Facebook have entered partnership with more than 150 companies, among them are Amazon and Apple. They have partnered up with Facebook for access to personal information from their hundreds of millions of users. Facebook gave information to these companies after they had stopped sharing data with most third-party developers (e.g. companies that build games and apps for the company), after substantial critique. In early 2019, Facebook was under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors examining its data-sharing deals with other major technology companies, according to the New York Times (Wong, 2019).

To conclude, Facebook do have a lot of power. They have access to people’s private information and can reshare that information with different companies for financial benefits. Facebook should be more aware of their duty to protect the people who uses their services.

Bibliography

Clement, J. (2020, January 30). Facebook: number of monthly active users worldwide 2008-2019 . Retrieved from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

Jacoby, J. (Director). ( 2018). Frontline: The Facebook Dilemma (part 1) [Motion Picture].

Wong, J. C. (2019, March 14). Facebook under criminal investigation over data sharing with tech firms – report . Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/13/facebook-data-sharing-investigation

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