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Invoking a change in the world involves more than advancements in technology. It means appealing to not only the physical and logical aspects of a problem like environmental change but also the emotional and mental aspects of it. The mindset of the people is very influential when calling for worldwide change. Challenging people to think again about concepts that they have stubbornly accepted for generations can be difficult but it is a necessary evil. A new world view is required to survive the modern challenges of climate change because the root of the problem must be dealt with before the repercussions.
In The Revenge of Gaia, Lovelock proposes a theory of Gaia. Gaia is the representation of the living form of the Earth. Lovelock proposes this theory to combat the scientists that define Earth as purely the biosphere where life exists on the surface. He believes that the Earth is more than this, claiming that “Gaia is a thin spherical shell of matter that surrounds the incandescent interior; it begins where the crustal rocks meet the magma of the Earth’s hot interior” (Lovelock 15). This definition of Earth includes both everything on the surface of the planet and everything through the core of the planet. By defining Earth in this way, Lovelock hopes to produce a different view in scientific circles, one that portrays the Earth as a living, breathing being rather than a lifeless rock. Lovelock hopes to change the minds of the global community by changing the way that people look at the Earth so that people would focus on helping the Earth return to a healthy state. He claims to speak as “a planetary physician whose patient, the living Earth, complains of fever” and that “[he] see[s] the Earth’s declining health as our most important concern, our very lives depending upon a healthy Earth” (1). He laments the fact that due to the way people view the Earth, there is little people are doing to fix it. Gaia, he claims, is now taking back her health but reminds us that “when the Earth was young and strong, it resisted adverse change and the failure of its own temperature regulation; now it may be elderly and less resilient” (2) showing that Gaia restore herself on her own; she needs humanity’s help. Technological advances are great but they will not become a reality if people do not realize the severity of this problem and take action to prevent it from happening.
In Enough is Plenty, Ryan proposes that humanity adapt an ‘enough’ mindset in which they only use what they need and nothing more. Throughout the work, she defines ‘enough’ in many ways but focuses on it being “a concept that is intrinsically moral, intrinsically ecological and intrinsically healthy,” (Ryan 3) suggesting that the theory could “help us to think in ways that are useful for our time about what is food for human and planetary flourishing, how should one live as individuals and with other people and communities, and what constitutes progress for the human race” (12). Similarly to Lovelock’s work, Ryan attempts to make a change in world view by appealing to the people. Unlike Lovelock’s work, she appeals directly to the people and works more towards having them realize their own flaws in their individual ways of life rather than rallying them around a finite cause. In addition to her cry of change for the sake of the environment, Ryan uses her theory of ‘enough’ to address social problems in the world. Through ‘enough’, Ryan claims that the wealthy would use less, leaving more resources available to the poor, unlike how in today’s society “‘standards of living’ rise for the materially wealthy, they fail to rise for the less well off” (2). On top of this social benefit of closing the material gap between the have and have-nots, ‘enough’ would also bring a greater sense of community to humanity. By figuring out what ‘enough’ means to each individual, that individual would find a way to “get some peace of mind and capacity to deal with hectic daily activities” (3) in addition to putting it into practice which would “allow us to get what is needed from the world to sustain human flourishing, but without taking too much from individuals, or from social and natural systems” (3). Essentially, it would allow us to grow as a human family, help those in need, and solve the problem of climate change all in one swing. It all depends on the critical factor of people deciding how much the Earth really means to them.
In This Changes Everything, Klein leads the reader on a personal journey concerning climate change. She describes her firsthand experience on the subject: the denial she felt in the beginning, the understanding she worked to get, and her actions towards educating others. In her eyes, denial seems like a reasonable first step. However, one cannot stop at this step but must move on to the next stage: understanding and acceptance. Once people accept that climate change is an issue and understand what that means and how it relates to their lives, they can move on to taking action in order to protect the planet.
Many scientists have given their input on the highly debated subject of climate change. All sorts of solutions have been proposed. However, people are still at a loss to conclude which is the best. There are still people that deny all possibility of climate change, even though there have been several studies done on the subject. At this point, the global community needs to accept the fact that humanity’s ancestors made bad decisions and if they hope for a better fate for their descendants, one must strive to build a brighter future. Among all the proposed solutions for these environmental issues, there will be a true fix that one can use to save the planet. This can only be if people accept their responsibilities and adapt an open attitude concerning climate change.
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