Climate Change

4a07766r

The picture above is of the Solvay Process Company in Syracuse, NY published sometime between 1880 and 1901.  The company was known for producing soda ash which is often used for water softening purposes.  What’s important to note is the smoke rising from the stacks of the factories; factories like those above are known to produce greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) which exit through the smoke stacks and contribute to climate issues.  My second piece is from a NY times article which quotes a study arguing issues, like excess greenhouse gases, are contributing to warming in Australia; specifically the study argues there has been a 1 Celsius increase in surface temperature from 1910. The two sources relate because Industrialization is the point when a massive amount of greenhouse gases were put into the environment and began the progression to climate change we face today as outlined in the Times article.

The issue here is in moving towards the efficiency of Industrialization society now faces an environmental dilemma; society didn’t know at the time of this photo the negative impact factory pollution would have.  This pollution, as the Times article suggests, can now be tied to rising sea levels and increased droughts.  This is done by the oceans absorbing excess pollutants, like carbon dioxide, which in turns heats the water thus causing rising sea levels.  As sea levels rise, coastal cities experience increased flooding issues.

We can think of climate change as the ripple effect to industrialization.  In order to produce products at a faster pace industry had to consume more resources including coal and oil to power their factories; we now know this consumption led to an increase in carbon dioxide and other gases being released into the environment.  What we can learn from this, and I think we have to some extent, is there is an increased need for more efficient forms of energy to power industrialization.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/det.4a07766/ (primary source)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/world/australia/extreme-weather-global-warming.html (secondary source)

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