Climate Change

Mackenzie Prendergast, Reporter

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Climate change is a controversial topic with so many sides and viewpoints it’s hard to tell what’s really going on. Regardless of your political stance, how up to date you are on the news, or if you care about environmental issues or not, you know about climate change.

Previously referred to as global warming, climate change is the global and regional climate patterns that is a new threat starting in the twentieth century. It is largely attributed to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists believe this increase in carbon levels is due to the increased use of fossil fuels.

Mary Merid explains, “The main factor into climate change is CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases which goes mainly to our ocean. This causes the Earth to warm up because the greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere.”

There are examples of heating and cooling of the earth before humans could have had an influence on the carbon levels. For thousands of years the earth heated and cooled based on increased carbon levels and decreased levels respectively.

“I feel as though climate change is possible, but most likely not completely human driven. Ice ages and hurricanes and droughts and earthquakes will happen, climate change has just as much potential to naturally happen,” Caitlin Killgore comments.

Other believe that this isn’t just a natural issue and it has a much more dangerous meaning.

Merid explains, “Climate change affects everyone. It might not be as noticeable to us now, but to those who live on the coast, where sea levels are already facing a change is height, it means facing catastrophic hurricanes and tropical storms. Never has it been this bad.”

The part that scares most people today however is that carbon is increasing at an exceptionally fast rate compared to warming’s in the past which took thousands of years to heat.

“Yes, the Earth naturally goes through periods of heating cooling but this is not one of those times. That  type of heating never comes this quickly,” Joey McGuire states. “It takes thousands to millions of years to accomplish.”

Regardless of what might be the cause of the problem, changes are happening that are irreversible. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) came out with a new report that 60% of wildlife has gone extinct in about 50 years. Numbers only seen in a mass extinction.

“Imagine what will happen if this trend continues and starts eradicating major parts of our food chain. It’s detrimental to us all. We must start caring,” Merid explained.

McGuire adds, “It can be the potential destruction of all life on Earth. It is not natural by any means. 16,704 populations of mammals reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish have had their numbed reduced by 60% since 1970.”

Our world has already begun to change because of climate change. Extinction doesn’t just mean that people won’t be able to see their favorite animal, or zoos might become empty. It means our children won’t know about some animals the world used to be home to. It means the environment will shift as some animals won’t have prey to hunt, predators to keep their population in check, and some plants won’t have animals to help spread their seeds.

Aiden Nave states, ““I love being in nature. whether it’s the beach or mountains. Knowing that my nature is going to change in my lifetime is scary. It’s scary to see that the fears and ideal I’ve been thought since Elementary true are actually going occur.”

The journal Nature came out with a new report Wednesday that the oceans actually have been absorbing 60% more heat than scientists previously thought. The impact of this is far greater than anyone could have hoped. The oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere and the new report means that the earth is heating at a faster rate. The extra energy trapped from the sun means every year the amount of energy trapped is eight times the world’s energy consumption.

“The oceans are nearly saturated, so without the oceans to absorb the greenhouse gas where else is left? It’s certainly not the forests because humans are depleting forest cover at a rapid rate,” McGuire states.

Killgore however believes, “It’s inevitable, because space and nature is constantly changing, and oftentimes it is unpredictable, at least in the long run. “Since it does sound like it is happening “fast”, a lot of people think immediate action is need, but in reality it will not impact us right now.”

Whether or not it is an immediate issue, humans have a job to protect the earth as best we can, especially since we use most of its resources. Climate change means natural, inevitable changes will occur at a fast rate.

Merid explains, “In terms of our future, in 12 years we will see a shift in how we eat. Many seeds and crops are going extinct and this will be very noticeable. From avocado to chocolates, many of our favorite foods will no longer be continent to get and more than likely be luxurious due to their rarity.”

“Climate change is no longer an issue you can put on the back burner. It is an issue now. It’s not just an issue that will affect you decades from now. It’s an issue that is affecting us now,” McGuire furthers.

Too often people try to push issues onto the next generation. But while we’re hear we need to do whatever we can to help future generations live in a clean environment.

“Curving it might be out of reach if this was in fact caused by mankind. I don’t think it is realistic to expect 7 billion people to collectively reverse their actions to bring it back the other way,” Killgore states.

There might be too much to do in too little of time. We only have a few years to reverse climate change and our actions to the environment.

McGuire and others aren’t quite ready to walk away from the issue however.

“I do not believe there is enough being done to curb climate change. Especially within the United States. It’s  just irresponsible by our leadership to leave [the Paris Accord] and reject basic science. We have to become carbon neutral society or low carbon society now or never,” McGuire states.

Nave states, “Climate change is problem that seems to be put on the back burner a lot, even in my own life sometimes. But as new research has shown that climate change is progressing faster I would like to do what last generations failed to do.”

Climate change is something where we have to make the choice to act and find a way to do what we can to slow the heating of the earth.

“It’s very frustrating. We have never treated climate change as something that can be stopped but more like something that is inevitable like car accidents,” states Merid.

Whether we can cut our carbon emissions by carpooling, reduce our meat consumption, recycle more, or stop buying from major polluters something can be done, even if it’s a small change.

Kilgore believes, “More education about the importance of earth from the very beginning, meaning pre-school and kindergarten, would change people’s perspective.”

Knowledge is power and if we can equip young kids with the idea that they have the power to change the world and the understanding on what is actually going on maybe we can bring about change.

The burden of accountability is on us. Whether you want to believe climate change is an imminent threat or not, we as people, as the most advanced species Earth has to offer, have the duty to do whatever we can to try and keep the world alive for generations to come.

“You’re entitled to your opinions, but your not entitled to facts. Understand that if you don’t agree with what a study shows that doesn’t mean it is false it just means you don’t agree,” Merid adds.

We are the last generation that can make the changes needed to keep the world clean for our children and grandchildren.

McGuire put it simply, “The burden of implementation is on us.The time to act is now.”

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