Climate Change: It’s An Issue

Photo: Delaware Family

Written by Noémie Goodstein, Y7

Climate change has been affecting our planet for decades, but it has now become more important than ever to recognize and address it if we wish to have a future on this earth.

Climate change has caused the disappearance of our Earth’s ozone layer. Because of humans burning fossil fuels, it has sped up the melting of ice caps resulting in rapidly rising water levels.

It has been affecting us for a long time; back in the 1960s, people were already discussing climate change. This is very serious because it is an environmental issue that affects us globally, but also because it will soon become a national security issue. How so? Well, resources that we all need are growing scarce, disappearing underwater due to rising sea levels or through the superstorm destruction of coastal areas. People will begin to fight over the remaining resources. There will also be massive migrations of people seeking dry land on which to live. Areas that are already overpopulated with few resources will have to take in large numbers of people who have lost their land. This will lead to tensions – and eventually, to conflict.

Photo: Earthtimes
Photo: Earthtimes

Recently, I saw a National Geographic documentary made by Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Fisher Stevens, called Before the Flood. In the documentary, DiCaprio traveled to an island named Kiribati in the South Pacific. Its government has had to buy a piece of land on Fiji and ask their people to voluntarily move there as they know their island will lose land due to climate change’s rising water levels. DiCaprio then meets with President Obama. Obama states that many islands and coastal areas are going to disappear because of climate change, causing many populations to move inward to dry land, which will make landlocked countries over populated.

Obviously, climate change is also a phenomenally massive environmental problem. Gas companies such as Shell, Mobil, Diesel, and those that own their interests, namely the Koch Brothers, have been causing enormous problems while they mine for oil. They use fracking, which is the injection of  a high pressure fluid into the earth, creating huge cracks in the deep rock and causing natural gas and petroleum to flow out. They also drill, which is extremely harmful. Much of this is completed in poor countries – this is where the majority of oil is found. This poisons the water – and everything around it – causing the villages nearby to suffer as they lose their water supply. Many of these companies also deny climate change, which encourages and emboldens others to deny it too.

Some of those who deny climate change are entering the US government. The new president-elect, Donald Trump, is a climate change denier who claims climate change is “a hoax invented by the Chinese”.

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Photo: NASA

Animals are dying and entering extinction as the polar ice caps melt. Animals in the Arctic are disappearing because either their food supply has too, there is not enough space for their homes, or they have to flee but have not been able to adapt fast enough to their new environments.

While people in China wear face masks due to toxic amounts of pollution in their air, their government has recognized climate change and is working rapidly to transition from gas and oil consumption to alternative energy, such as solar and wind. The Netherlands has passed a law to work towards 100% dependency on solar energy.

In the documentary, DiCaprio visited India. One of the environmental workers there told him that the US was the biggest problem because it is not changing fast enough or doing anything to help fight climate change. She said that we may never change as nobody wants to give up their lifestyle. Indonesia was also featured in the documentary. It has one of the last forests on earth where elephants, gorillas and orangutans live together. However, they are threatened everyday by big food companies that are clear cutting trees and burning forests for palm oil.

Our oceans are dying. Our coral reefs are being destroyed. Coral reefs are  home to many sea animals and plants. As the coral reefs disappear, so do the flora and fauna. Coral reefs help protect our shores by breaking waves up before they reach us and by keeping the tides from rising too rapidly.

Air conditioners and the mass breeding of animals, especially cows, also contribute to climate change. Air conditioners are unhealthy as they release additional carbon dioxide into the air. Try using fans instead. The mass breeding of animals needs to end. We need to stop consuming so much meat. If people don’t wish to become vegetarian, they should try replacing more beef with chicken. Chickens don’t require the grazing land that cows do and hence don’t release as much Co2. Cows also release something worse: methane.

In the documentary, the car company, Tesla, said that their production of electric cars is already helping with combat climate change, but a major step forward would be to build Gigafactories. Gigafactories are where their cars are produced using solely solar energy. Tesla’s CEO said if they built one hundred Gigafactories, they could make an enormous impact in the fight against climate change.

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Infographic: WWF

We can start to do some things now to try to stop this catastrophe. You can sign petitions to stop drilling in the ice caps, to stop company use of gas instead of solar energy, to stop food companies from clear cutting and burning forests for palm oil, to stop the poisoning of water and coral reefs, and to stop the mass breeding animals.

You can be active: get involved with the UN, Greenpeace, World Wildlife, and other organisations in person rather than just online.

You can post about climate change on your social media pages – spread awareness.

Most importantly, try to make small changes in the way you live. Try not to use up a lot of electricity, water, gas, heating, air conditioners, plastic and try to cut down on eating red meat.

Climate change is important. It affects each and every living thing on this planet. Planet Earth is our home, our only home. We must take care of it, for ourselves and for future generations.

The information presented in this article does not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of The Update. We are reporting either the facts or opinions held by third parties related to the subject of the article.