Reading Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi has made me more aware of the environmental issues that are facing our society today. Ship Breaker is set in a post-apocalyptic future where human civilization is in decline due to ecological reasons. Sea levels have risen by huge amounts due to the melting of the polar ice caps leaving New Orleans under water. Huge storms, known as city killers, became worse every year destroying everything that the ship breaker’s had.
After reading about the consequences that could potentially occur and what a possible society could look like, I decided to do some more research on the topic. What I found was very alarming and made me more aware of the environmental consequences of global warming. The arctic ice is already melting at alarming rates, declining by 13.3 percent per decade. The global temperature is also on the rise, with the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998, with last year (2016) being the warmest on record. Both the melting ice and the increase in temperature expanding the sea water, have led to the constant rising of the sea level with a rate of change of 3.4mm per year. These numbers will not be on the decline anytime soon, due to the executed and anticipated changes of the Trump administration.
On March 13, 2017 the first preliminary budget was released which confirmed speculation and outlines deep cuts to U.S. science and environmental agencies. These include EPA, NOAA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The money will then go to increase defense spending by $54 billion. Without an adequate amount of money, there is little that these agencies can do to help the environment. Only two days later, the EPA administrator and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation announced that they will reconsider era emission requirements for vehicles with model years between 2022 and 2025. This will only keep increasing the amount of air pollution and not helping decrease the effects of global warming. These are only some examples of what the Trump administration has already done and who knows what he will do in the future.
Ship Breaker made me think of the consequences of global warming and made me realize that it is imperative that we take actions to keep this from happening. From now on, I will be more conscious of the way I am polluting the world and always try to be and to encourage others to be more environmentally friendly.
Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. London, Atom, 2011.