By: Jacob Hales
Climate change is real! I’m just gonna throw that out there before I write this article that technically doesn’t need to be written. No, it’s not a myth. No, it’s not a liberal excuse for pouring funds into the anti-fracking industry. No, it’s not a conspiracy created by the EPA to receive extra funding. Yes, it’s a serious problem and our generation needs to act now.
As you know, the main contributor to climate change is the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are fuels composed of raw and decayed organic materials such as natural gas, coal, and oil. When these fossil fuels are used by consumers, they emit greenhouse gases which rise to the edge of our atmosphere and deplete the Ozone layer. The Ozone layer protects our planet from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The end is near, for the arctic ice caps at least. If we continue to pump out greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the arctic ice caps could be completely gone by 2050. Each year, the ice shrinks by 50 square meters, glaciers are disappearing left and right. For Pete’s sake, a piece of ice the size Delaware broke off into the Antarctic ocean less than 3 months ago. Sure, most of us don’t live near the poles, and you’re probably asking yourself, “how does this affect me?” Well, almost everyone will be affected by the rising seas. New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, the state of Florida will be prone to flooding by 2100. However, cities like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are, quite literally, sinking into the ocean. Ask anyone in Miami, and they’ll have a tall tale to tell about the many floods and storm surges throughout their years of residence.
Don’t take this the wrong way; the flooding on the coast isn’t of biblical proportions and won’t be comparable to the tsunami’s seen in The Day After Tomorrow. The flooding would most likely be gradual and affect only low-lying coastal cities. However, you have to take into account that 80% of the United States population lives within 60 miles of the coast. So it looks like an influx of people are going to be in need of a new home far from the beach.
A shocking contributor to climate change is the consumption of animal products. Methane gas produced by livestock rises to the atmosphere and destroys the Ozone layer. The Ozone layer protects the Earth from the Sun’s harmful UV rays, without it, the sun will subsequently begin to warm the air. This will rapidly increase the melting process. So you may want to have second thoughts about running to the store to buy a package of steaks.
Our generation should not only think of climate change in a scientific way, we should also care about it in a moral and compassionate sense. The Earth is rich and can provide for all the creatures that call it home, but when we ask too much of it, we face dire consequences. No matter what happens, when all the animals and people go extinct; the Earth will begin to rejuvenate. It will start to rehabilitate back to what it once was. So we aren’t just trying to save the planet, we are trying to save ourselves.
In order to save the planet, we must think not as individuals, but as a species. We can work together on correcting the shift in the Earth’s climate by cutting back on 3 things: flying, consuming meat, and our use of fossil fuels. It’s as simple as that.