Deemed a “hoax” by politicians and delegitimized by corporations that are profiting billions of dollars from polluting the planet, climate change is an extremely legitimate problem for the Earth’s population.
We are now at a time where it is imperative that governments come together to seriously enforce initiatives to halt the devastating damage that corporations have done to our planet, before it is too late. Oceans are rising and warming, forests are disappearing daily, and glaciers that have been frozen for thousands of years are now melting.
We are destroying our very own ecosystem.
Not only are we, citizens of the Earth, physically damaging the planet. We are also damaging the livelihoods of people. Along with their livelihoods, their culture, language and traditions that have existed long before any of us were alive. For example, the Inuits in the Arctic are trying to maintain a sustainable life while the glaciers around them are melting rapidly while preserving their culture that has been based around the Arctic conditions. In Shiela Watt-Cloutier’s work “Inuit Right to Culture Based on Ice and Snow”, she makes the connection of the importance the environment has on the lifestyle of indigenous peoples. Watt- Cloutier states that environmental issues are “very much about the health and well-being not only our bodies, but also our cultural survival.” The Inuit culture is based on hunting, with ice and snow as their “highways”. Not only is climate change causing the animals that they hunt to become near extinct, the hunting culture that instills patience and courage in the young Inuit people becomes instinct as well. It is the same with the Republic of Kiribati, with sea levels rapidly increasing, the island is at risk of literally drowning.
So, what is being done?
The Paris Agreement was signed by 170 countries with the goal of limiting the rise of global temperatures and slowing the effects of climate change on the planet. The countries that signed this agreement are responsible for 93% of emissions of greenhouse gases. China and the U.S, make up for 40% of emissions were major supporters of the agreement. However, with the recent election of President Donald Trump, these efforts may or may not persist as his administration has not placed a high emphasis yet on environmental protection.
The key points of the Paris Agreement can be found here. They primarily focus on reducing global warming, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing transparency, financial support and a recognition for small islands like the Republic of Kiribati.
Iran’s Environmental Issues
They are as follows:
- Land Degradation
- Air Pollution
- Biodiversity Loss
Water is Iran’s biggest resource constraint, as the livelihoods of many people that depend on the resources they have are not going to be able to sustain their reliance on these sources for much longer. For example, Lake Oromiyeh, one of Iran’s largest bodies of water has been rapidly evaporating. This is causing tensions among the people that live nearby.
Iran, like many other nations, has issues with deforestation. Lewis said, “Currently, Iran’s energy intensity and per capita CO2 emission levels are among the highest in the world. This has to do with Iran’s growing population – its rightful development aspirations – and its abundant natural gas and oil reserves. But it also has to do with fuel price subsidies that have set the price of energy far too low.”
However, Iran most life threatening environmental issue is air pollution. The capital city of Tehran, has a consistent smog problem that causes schools and businesses to shut down. Tehran’s air pollution is partly due to geographical factors: The Iranian capital is semi-enclosed by high altitude mountains in three directions, blocking air circulation. Tehran’s large population also adds to the air pollution, as well as the high number of domestically produced vehicles on the roads. This causes tensions among the people and oil companies, who are placed with a large amount of blame for these issues. The pollution in Tehran causes a severe threat to the health of the people, and is responsible for hundreds of deaths in the city.
The Environmental Protection Organization of Iran has implemented several initiatives to improve the conditions in Iran, but have been unsuccessful. This is partly due to the politics are structurally involved in the problem of air pollution. The organizations responsible for taking on the issue are not coordinated and managed under a higher body with superseding control, while the Iranian capital suffers from the effects of centralized management. The people of Tehran are becoming frustrated with the lack of change as the effects of the pollution are detrimental to their health.
Drastic changes in the emissions of greenhouse gases and implementation of new restrictions are going to be required of the Iranian government in order to see an improvement in the environment.