Environmental Issues in “The Day After Tomorrow”
By: Daniela Palazuelos
Environmental issues, as well as the big “Green” word, seem to be one of the most talked about topics in the newspapers and news. More so, this critical state the world has come to, has hit the big screen in documentaries and even as action blockbusters. In 2006, the multi-million production “The Day After Tomorrow” wasreleased to a five hundred million potential viewers all over the U.S.
Directed by Ronald Emmerich, “The Day After Tomorrow”, is the story about a climatologist who tries to save the world and his son’s life from the drastic climate change and beginning of a new ice age. This movie starts with a huge ice crack in Antarctica, never thinking that this would trigger the worst of fear in human kindcaused by global warming and the growing of the Greenhouse Effect (Solomon and Manning). As extreme weather, such as tornados, hurricanes, and tsunamis, start hitting the north part of the hemisphere, including New York City where the plot takes place. People start fleeing south, as many are caught in the storm of it all.
The main source of this problem, caused mainly by humans, is the GreenhouseEffect. The same we have heard since we were young by our teachers. Who with passion, try to make children understand what they are to face in their future if no change is done. The Greenhouse Effect is the heating of the earth’s surface by gasses stuck in the atmosphere. These are called greenhouse gases and they release infrared radiation. But these gases stuck in the atmosphere are not bad, buthelp the Earth maintain warm climate. This prevents us from getting very cold temperatures or drastic changes at night or in winter, that is when the sun in not shining. The problem is the AGW or the anthropogenic global warming which is the human contribution to an excess of the greenhouse gases.
The greenhouse effect was first discovered in 1824 by Joseph Fourier, being followed by otherscientists around the same time who more accurately experimented and found reliable information about it. (Lerner, Lerner and Wilmoth)
The earth’s greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, CFC’s, and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide is released from fossil fuel burning, deforestation, and other human activities. But this gas is the most concentrated and most damaging one becauseit keeps gases from flowing into space, making temperatures rise.
This increase in average temperature of the earth’s surface is best known as global warming. The temperature has increased 1.4 F throughout the world since 1880, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The last two decades have been the hottest in 400 years and the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)has confirmed the last 11 years have been the hottest since 1850. (Wang, Lean and Sheeley)
The effects of these changes are most critical in the Arctic. Ice caps are quickly melting and it is said that by 2040, the Arctic will have its first summer without ice. Ice melting is affecting species living in the area, which will soon be in trouble of extinction but most importantly water level isincreasing.
Oceans cover more than 71% of the Earth’s surface, and with increase of water levels by ice melting and expanding as it gets warmer, it will have serious effect in human and animal life. Sea level is already rising 1/10 of an inch every year and predicted to continue. The worst effect it will have on humans is the flooding of land, disappearing islands and fresh water supplies will bethreaten. It will also take a big effect on agriculture, were crops will suffer due to climate changes and the increase of hurricanes and storms. (National Geographic News )
Although the climate of the world can’t change all of a sudden, as the movie does, there are theories of scientist who suggest that as the severity of natural disasters are stronger, we could have an outbreak of what is known as...
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