The everlasting argument over climate change seems to uncover two different groups of people: those that acknowledge the presence of global warming and choose to accept it and those who refuse to remain silent as we continue to pollute and destroy the planet. The article, Environmental Activists Take to Local Protests for Global Results by John Schwartz, appeared in the New York Times earlier this month and calls attention to the action people are taking in order to prohibit the expansion of facilities that have a detrimental impact on the environment. The protesters’ response comes as a result of the growing concern over climate change and how it is affecting earth’s ecosystems and patterns. Unfortunately, the protesters’ efforts have been met by the force of the authorities, as many have been arrested following local protests concerning the drilling of natural gas pipelines. Those on the opposing side argue that the use of natural gas reduces dependence on dirty fossil fuels and therefore find the argument of the protesters to be somewhat ironic. As the issue of climate change continues to become more prominent in society’s discussions, it is important to understand the side effects associated with proposed solutions and take into account whether they alleviate or intensify the situation.
Natural gas pipelines are thought to be a better alternative to other fossil fuels.
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Schwartz’s article was published by the New York Times, a longstanding and reputable newspaper. Being published on such a large platform emphasizes the severity of the climate change issue and maximizes the number of people Schwartz is able to reach. The author, John Schwartz, is an environmental science writer who focuses on the topic of global warming. His background in this field allows him to be a credible source that readers can rely on to deliver appropriate and accurate information. To further establish credibility and gain the respect and support of readers, the author relies on several sources including Bill McKibben, a climate evangelist, Donald F. Santa, chief executive of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Phil West of Spectra Energy, Patrick Robbins, co-director of the Sane Energy Project, and Michael A. Levi, an energy expert at the Council of Foreign Relations. The work and background of these sources are consistent with the topic of the article, providing readers with the satisfaction that what they are reading is bias in no way and correct. In addition, these sources offer further insight into the overall issue of climate change and allow for expert opinions that help to mold readers’ perceptions.
With a topic as popular as climate change, there are of variety of passionate opinions. Those that believe in and fear climate change are often very invested in the issue, much like the protesters showcased in the article. Therefore, it is not uncommon for emotional appeals to be used in order to convince the public that the destruction of our environment could be near. Schwartz appeals to readers by including a quote from a local math teacher in North Carolina, Greg Yost. Following the protesting of the construction of natural gas pipelines in his North Carolina town, Yost claimed, “we’re all in this together” (Schwartz 2016). This act of coming together against a cause creates a sense of unity and further convinces readers that climate change can have deadly effects. In addition, using a local math teacher as a source creates a down-to-earth vibe due to the use of a relatable figure. If this emotional appeal didn’t do the trick, Schwartz also used a quote from one of the arrested protesters, who said that climate change is “a life-or-death struggle” (Schwartz 2016). This phrase emphasizes the dangers associated with climate change, prompting readers to take action out of the fear instilled within them upon the mention of death. These appeals work to strengthen Schwartz’s argument and express the colossal nature of global warming.
When discussing the scientific matter of climate change, relying on logic and facts is necessary. For example, those on the opposing side of the protesters argue that protesters are negating their claims by protesting natural gas, while natural gas is an effective alternative to other fossil fuels. However, protesters argue that natural gas is a harmful greenhouse gas with an even larger impact than carbon dioxide. This concept poses an interesting counterargument to the idea that a natural gas pipeline would help to combat climate change. The science seems to be on both sides of the argument, which is why it is important to acknowledge all of the effects associated with each option and decide which one is most beneficial for the well being of the environment.
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While it is important to search for cleaner sources of energy, natural gas can negatively impact the earth. In addition, the fracking required disrupts ecosystems and can harm nearby populations. Natural gas has proven to be just as dangerous as the emission of carbon dioxide, causing the drilling of pipelines and wells to be unfit solutions. Unfortunately, the answer to climate change is not going to come overnight. However, until the solution makes itself known, it is important to explore other alternatives that prioritize the health and welfare of the environment.
Other references: climate.nasa.gov