Time to Change Climate Change

Time+to+Change+Climate+Change

Jenna Galla, Online Staff Writer

For the past several decades, scientists and environmentalists have been warning of the future consequences of climate change. Although it seemed as though there was plenty of time to fix this urgent issue at hand, in recent years, climate change has been worsening at an alarming rate, and it has become evident that without immediate change, the damage may be irreversible. 

In 2020, when the world was battling the peak of the pandemic, there were noticeable positive changes in the environment around the globe. Because of the global lockdown, human activity was minimal, resulting in a drastic decrease in pollution and carbon dioxide and fossil fuel emissions. Examples of such changes taking form included less light pollution, creating clearer night skies, and both cleaner and less polluted water in the iconic canals of Venice, Italy. 

Changes such as the ones listed above created a sense of hope that change is possible, residing specifically with a sophomore (who wishes to stay anonymous): “Seeing a clearer sky every night and staring at all the stars I have not seen for years is truly a beautiful experience. Decreased carbon emissions during the pandemic have proven that we can actually make this change happen permanently.” 

However, as 2021 approached, and restrictions remaining from the pandemic began to loosen, this sense of hope quickly diminished. In 2021 alone, innumerable records have been broken, and not good ones. Ocean levels continue to rise, the hottest temperatures in decades have been recorded, wildfires roar through forests, the number of extinct or “endangered” species have increased, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have escalated, and even more arctic ice has melted. These are some of the most urgent concerns. 

In the last 22 years, 20 of the hottest years on record have occurred. Carbon levels are higher than they have been in over 4 million years. Over 1 million species face the risk of extinction. These details may not seem important, but we are also facing the effects of climate change right here on the East Coast. We are experiencing more hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe weather than ever before. These weather patterns will only continue to worsen.

EnAct co-head and senior Caroline Ewing showed concern for such changes: “Though in 2020 we saw a temporary decrease in carbon emissions due to reduced human activity from COVID-19, it really had no substantial, long-term effect on climate change. This year, the consequences of this issue have already returned, and we see them first hand: for example Hurricane Ida hitting New Jersey a little over a month ago, and all the other natural disasters that have happened this summer, such as the wildfires in the West.”

Scientists have found that younger generations are more willing to make the necessary changes to benefit the environment, however, older generations are more reluctant. Moreover, because of the lack of action taken by our nation’s leaders, there are no ready signs of finding a solution to climate change. Scientists have predicted that the worst of climate change impacts could possibly become irreversible as soon as 2030. 

Although there seems to be little good amidst all the bad, rest assured there are efforts and changes being made to help preserve the Earth. Individual efforts that create a large impact include becoming active and pressing politicians and leaders for change, producing as little waste as possible, and using energy-efficient products. Even seemingly small actions, such as switching off a light or using a reusable water bottle, will ultimately make an impact. If we all do our part, there is still hope for the Earth. 

 

 

Works Cited

  • Mousazadeh, Milad et al. “Positive environmental effects of the coronavirus 2020 episode: a review.” Environment, development and sustainability, 1-23. 4 Feb. 2021, doi:10.1007/s10668-021-01240-3
  • “The State of the Climate in 2021.” BBC Future, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210108-where-we-are-on-climate-change-in-five-charts. 
  • “5 Climate Change Facts to Scare You into Action This Halloween.” Earth Day, 4 Aug. 2021, https://www.earthday.org/5-terrifying-climate-change-facts-scare-halloween/.
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