We’re Hot as Hell Is global warming a moral dilemma? Is it the public policy problem from hell? In “The Environmental Issue from Hell,” Bill McKibben uses many of such phrases en route to arguing for a new approach to global warming. By discussing hell and morals, the reader’s mind is already equating it with two heavily debated issues. Therefore, we begin to question their existence and how we should deal with the subjects. McKibben wisely chooses these disputes to represent his main concerns: the ways in which consumerism affects the global ecosystem, and the impact of humans on the environment.
McKibben presents a solution on how to handle each of these environmental issues, utilizing both the people and the government. McKibben’s point of how consumerism affects the global ecosystem is certainly relatable. With all the new technology forming, global warming has only increased, despite the many efforts to make everything more energy efficient. McKibben points out that, “most of us live lives so divorced from the natural world that we hardly notice the changes anyway. (McKibben 747) Choosing the word divorce (which everyone has heard and in some way or another experienced), and also elaborating about parking garages and air conditioning captivates the reader. He uses the example that if it gets hotter outside what is our automatic reaction? We turn the AC up without contemplation. He explains that these new technologies are not letting us feel the consequences of global warming, causing us to be completely ignorant of it.
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Mckibben inaugurates his third paragraph suggesting that we make the environmental issues, “”the great moral crisis of our time, and the equivalent of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. “(747). He uses this analogy to explain that in his opinion, we are strip-mining the present and destroying all of whom come after it. Thus, leading him to discuss exactly how humans’ materialistic ways have impacted the earth. From Bangladesh living three months in thigh high-deep water, to polar bears becoming “20% scrawnier than they were a decade ago” (748).
The environmentalist writer goes on to discuss how to deal with global warming since it is indeed creeping up on us. Mckibben once again articulates his repetitive view that, “it’s a moral question, finally, if you think we owe any debt to the future. ” (748). In many circumstances it is believed that if it had been done to us, we would dislike the generation that did it, just as how we will one day be disliked. The solution given in the essay on how to handle these environmental issues is to start a moral campaign.
In other words, “… turn it into a political issue, just as bus boycotts began to make public the issue of race, forcing the system to respond. “ (748). As a part of the overall populist causing these issues, Mckibben understands that the hardest part about starting this moral campaign is identifying a villain to overcome. Briefly voicing that Carbon dioxide is the main villain, but you can’t be mad at it, only the people responsible, which is us. We often become guilty of only looking through our own perspective lenses.
In his eyes, we have fancy technology, unnecessarily big cars, and most importantly ignorance about the environmental world around us. McKibben is asking for us to take a step back and look from someone else’s point of view, which as an author is a brilliant idea. He is asking us as the readers to be open-minded and look through someone else’s eyes with the hope that it will be his. Works Cited Mckibben, Bill. “The Environmental Issue from Hell. ” The Mcgraw-Hill Reader. Ed. Gilbert Muller. 11th ed. Boston: Learning Solutions. 2011. 746-49. Print.