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Climate change calls for reform

A+roadside+stop+in+Costa+Rica+overlooks+an+expanse+of+lush+greenery.
A roadside stop in Costa Rica overlooks an expanse of lush greenery.

A roadside stop in Costa Rica overlooks an expanse of lush greenery.

Hannah Miller

Hannah Miller

A roadside stop in Costa Rica overlooks an expanse of lush greenery.

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Some things are just facts, and yet they still get denied by people in the face of ignorance. Climate change is real. It shouldn’t be controversial. I shouldn’t have to address opposing viewpoints. It shouldn’t be challenged. But it is. It should be addressed. It deserves awareness and action. Throughout the 20th century, temperatures have been rapidly rising and resources promptly perishing. It’s not just a controversy in contemporary life, it’s a threat to it.

Humans’ use of resources is unsustainable. Our own president (a controversial issue in itself) denies the existence of climate change, but facts are facts. The most time-pressing matter relating to climate change is that its existence is exponential. In the absolutely minuscule amount of time we’ve been on this planet, we’ve managed to kill over 80 percent of its natural forests by World Resources Institute’s calculations. The atmospheric carbon levels have gone from steady ups and downs on a graph to a practically vertical line in the past few decades (shown by data collected by several organizations on climate.gov).

Regardless of the impact one believes climate change is causing, the real danger imperils our future generations. It’s hard for simple minded people (@POTUS) to see past the immediate consequences, but long-term sustainability is impossible at this rate.

The consequences are astounding. Many skeptics will claim that it’s getting barely a few degrees warmer, that the icebergs are fine or that we’ve had record cold winters, “verifying” climate change as impossible. To put it simply, those remarks are all ignorant, bordering on moronic. Those few degrees are just the first flap of the butterfly’s wings, their repercussions cascading down a scale of increasingly perilous effects.

Plants are confused. A very small portion of our population is responsible for providing agricultural support to the rest of the globe. If plants begin to develop early due to inconsistent warm weather patterns, millions of crops could be destroyed.

Water levels will rise, bringing flooding. Wildfires will increase, destroying the few trees we don’t get to first. A common misconception is that climate change only means warmer temperatures. News flash: those people are why we stopped calling it global warming. Climate change in fact escalates the appearance and unpredictability of many extreme weather conditions. This means stronger heat waves, harsher winters, recurring hurricanes and more.

Potentially the most important aspect of addressing this large scale issue is raising awareness. Some people deny it, some choose to ignore it because “it doesn’t affect them” and others are just dreadfully misinformed. One of the main causes of this formidable forecast is the emission of carbon dioxide, harming our ozone layer. While the long-term effects may not impact our own generation, the increasing pollution will. It’s important to make the population understand what climate change is (a very real, very bad thing) and who it impacts (literally everyone).

After awareness comes action. Even back in the 70s, America recognized the problem. The 70s was a decade of caring: about people, about social reform, about our planet. We created Earth Day, passed the Clean Air Act and created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It’s not enough to just care, though. We need to spread the word. We need to make a plan and follow through with it. Laws to limit carbon emissions need to be made. Steps to clean up the current pollution need to be taken. Our climate is changing for the worse, so it’s time we change our ways for the better and save it.

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