National Earth Day comes around every year on April 22 to show support for environmental protection. It might seem irrelevant to some. Maybe many of you even see the annual day as useless, as just another indiscernible day out of the 365. Now more than ever the world needs to be reminded of the current condition of our earth and the ever-worsening effects of climate change. In the spirit of Earth Day, I think there should be a discussion about what exactly climate change is, and what it’s doing to the environment we live in.
Climate change is a “long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates,” according to nasa.gov.
Scientists have suspected a connection between human activity and its effect on the climate since as early as the 1800s, finding actual evidence of a link in the 1950s. Since then, the rise of greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gasses) hasn’t nearly slowed down. These gasses become an issue when one focuses on the effects climate change has had and will have on humans and our home earth as a whole.
Biodiversity loss is one of the more glaring and concerning consequences of climate change. It threatens rainforests, coral reefs, and other natural biomes while also affecting the rate at which species go extinct. One well-known example of this effect is the rainforest and the trees within them.
Rainforests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a service to the earth and the people on it as I mentioned above that carbon dioxide is one of the gasses that works as a greenhouse gas. But due to rampant and unchecked deforestation, there are obviously fewer trees. Fewer trees in the rainforest have led to emitting more carbon than they’re absorbing.
There’s also the way climate change might be slyly affecting your everyday life without you even realizing it. It’s not just thousands of miles away ruining rainforests and coral reefs.
Climate change is worsening air quality, polluting tap water, and might even be responsible for making your seasonal allergies worse.
Not to mention the rising water scarcity issue.
Overall, climate change is slowly chipping away at the habitability of the only planet our species can currently survive on.
“It’s estimated that Earth has already warmed about one degree Celsius, or two degrees Fahrenheit, since the start of the Industrial Revolution around the 1750s,” Says Eco watch in their overhaul article on climate change.
Whatever Jeff Besos says, we’re stuck here for now. And what we’ve found ourselves stuck on is a planet that is slowly dying, or rather a planet that’s slowly becoming a place that future generations of humans would die on.
So is there anything we as a people can do? Actually, yes. The heavy lifting, unfortunately, falls on big corporations, and that might seem too far out of your control for comfort. But there are a million small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference.
I’m not here to push veganism on any meat lovers out there, but it is one effective option. Choosing a plant-based diet could reduce greenhouse gas footprints by as much as 70 percent. There is also transportation and being conscious of how you do it, limiting the use of vehicles such as trains and cars can easily lower your carbon footprint.
And this is not your limit, there are so many other things you could do in your every day life to assist in the battle against climate change. And we are not quite hopeless yet, so maybe this earth day get out there and do something about it.
By Kendal Amos, Junior, Chi Arts