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Abby Beasley

"Back to the Future" was particularly easy to read because of it's conversational tone which I think begs the reader to consider how it may be applicable to them specifically more so than a more robotic white paper or published study. Not so radical now, the hypothetical 2024 scenario is even more now applicable for readers to consider as this piece is seemingly outdated but his experiment still holds. Largely, this piece utilizes rhetoric to convey the message. But left to its own devices, it does tell Mutter's story which involves not only the audience then and there and the reader here and now, but also the future audiences because one of his large take aways was just how critical it is to evaluate cause and effect. I would be interested to see just the quantitative figures here swapped for more current ones -- dates and percentiles. The remainder of the content would be just as compelling. While perhaps suited for different audiences, the three attachments present convincing arguments about the future and just how vital the present is in maintaining that.


Relating to Schrag’s talk, I found it very interesting the point he made about “global” climate change being a “global” problem. In the scenario that the United States becomes uber radical and stops all carbon emissions and becomes efficient in sequestration, if the world does nothing and continues along its same path, we are still in big trouble. I think this is a very important problem because it not only requires a societal change in a single country, but a worldwide change and collaboration across all nations. I think this is one of the biggest problems. There are obviously countries that are taking initiative in terms of becoming more energy efficient. But unless more of them do so, they might not have much more influence. If, for example, the United States took the lead on this, I feel like that would have a much larger international influence. Obviously China and India are a different story. But for the most part, if the United States became an environmental bulwark, a majority of the world would follow. Another thing that was touched upon in Schrag’s talk is the idea of humans being responsive, not preventative. He brought up natural disasters, etc that stemmed from global climate change, and only after the fact were we concerned with the matter because people actually had tangible evidence that made them realize, “Hey, this shouldn’t have happened.” I know a saying that goes along with the psychological issue of people not planning for the future. “If you procrastinate doing something to the last minute, it’ll only take you a minute.” Well unfortunately with all this new data and improved models coming out, that isn’t the case. If we don’t do something drastic within the next 40 years, human beings will be living a very uncomfortable lifestyle for at least a century to come.

Jack Miller

Brianna Rakouska

Looking at different tradeoffs of energy byproducts while reading fueling our future made me uneasy because of all of the unknowns associated with carbon burial and nuclear waste. How is it possible to decide if long term effects of radioactive waste or carbon will leave humanity worse off? I would like to know more about carbon sequestration and its potential effects on marine life and the potential for high ocean acidification. Nuclear power is tainted by the negative image of nuclear meltdowns, but I am not convinced this is a bad thing because radioactive waste is far more deadly and permanent than carbon in the atmosphere. The only possible solution, as addressed in this paper is a reliance on multiple sources for energy, which is also the best solution. Reading projections about future effects of carbon paints a dismal picture of the future, which is summed up by Shaw’s quote: “five hundred and fifty [PPM of atmospheric carbon] may be the best we can do, but it is still a disaster”.

Parker Kellam

Like many others it seems, the piece that struck me most was "Back to the Future." It was interesting to me because Schrag hinted to a point that I have always thought about but never heard many others ever mention. He talked about "decisions that determine our fate." By the end of the presidential election in November, it had become very clear to me how passionate I was about the environment, and I always wondered while people were so concerned with so many other matters. Let me be clear, my political knowledge about many things is extremely small and I am not negating the importance of these other things, BUT it always puzzled me that environmental issues are not always at the forefront. The way I see it, if we don't take of the earth and we let it continue to degrade, someday, as Schrag said in another article- who knows when, we won't even be around to care about all of the other political issues. To some extent, it almost seems like this is beginning to become true, especially when you add the loss of lives and land into cost estimates of natural disasters that are most likely effected by climate change. It seems like we most certainly are living an experiment, just trying to figure how much time can go by before we really have to do something, but I'm afraid by the time enough people realize this, it will be too late.

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