Climate change is one of the most important, but also most overlooked issues the world is facing, and it needs to be addressed.
Many people are uninformed and because of this, they do not see how serious the issue is. It is striking how many people in the world still do not believe that climate change and global warming are real. Science backs it up, and there is no reason to deny it.
WHHS should take pride in their large number of climate change advocates, however we can do better. A survey of 189 people among the WHHS community reveals that 93.6 percent of students are concerned about the issue. The facts are not as well communicated. Only 66.7 percent of survey respondents are aware that global temperatures are expected to increase 2.5-10 degrees Fahrenheit in the next decade, and 11.8 percent do not know what the greenhouse gas effect is.
The term greenhouse gas refers to common gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide, that have a heat trapping nature. When the sun hits the earth’s surface, the greenhouse gases act as a greenhouse, and they trap the heat that radiates from earth to space.
So many factors contribute to the growing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but human caused emissions are a large part, burning fossil fuels being the highest contributor.
Thus, global warming and climate change exists. The scientific data shows that the effects of this are outrageous, and getting worse.
Many know what global warming is, but do not know how to define climate change. Climate change is a combination of rising global temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns and changes in the climate, such as increased amounts of droughts, hurricanes and heat waves.
There has been a global sea level rise of eight inches in past 10 years. The oceans are warming as they absorb the atmosphere’s heat — the temperature of the top 700 meters of water increased by 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. The rate that Antarctica has been losing ice mass has tripled in the last decade. The ocean is becoming acidic, NASA claims that “the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about two billion tons per year.”
Is this not enough convincing evidence? Climate change affects every individual too. The most notable are the wildfires in the west that have caused many to relocate. The air is unhealthy for humans to be breathing.
Here in the midwest, an extreme increase in temperatures and heavy rainfall is expected. Although it does not seem detrimental on the surface, many do not realize that flooding will affect “infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality,” according to NASA.
Not everyone is doing their part to slow down these changes, however. The world cannot effectively tackle climate change without uniting as one against the issue.
It’s the simple things that you could be doing that can help make a difference. Even the smallest actions improve the current state of the world.
Use reusable water bottles and bags. Compost. Conserve water and energy. Buy second hand items. Avoid fast fashion. Stop eating cow products — cows’ belching and rectal gas contribute to a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Use renewable energy. Carpool. Hop on a bike. Educate yourself.
Climate change is real as ever, and the world is dependent on the youth to make a change before it is too late.
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