Wake Up and Smell the Burning of Fossil Fuels Reply

Avalyn Walton

Editorial: This is an opinion piece. All opinions are of the author and may or may not be shared by the Cougar Chronicle staff.

Climate change is absolutely real, and it will affect you sooner than you think. We need to start making changes soon before everything we’ve already done to our Earth is completely irreversible.

But then, there’s another question. Is it already too late to go back? According to NASA, “Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, global warming would continue to happen for at least several more decades, if not centuries. That’s because it takes a while for the planet (for example, the oceans) to respond, and because carbon dioxide – the predominant heat-trapping gas – lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.” Basically, NASA explains that even if we where to stop, the effect would not be immediate.

NASA also explains that a multitude of experts are concerned that we will, or already have, passed numerous tipping points, after which we will never be able to undo the effects of climate change. These changes would be irreversible.

And there is no question that humans are contributing to climate change. Global temperatures are on track to rise on an average of 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit ( 6 degrees Celcius), according to NASA once again. Though many may doubt humanities influence on this change, and say that it’s just a natural occurrence, that is simply not true. The European Environment Agency says that humans contribute to climate change by, “causing changes in Earth’s atmosphere in the amounts of greenhouse gases, aerosols (small particles), and cloudiness.” They more directly address disbelievers by stating, “The human impact on climate during this era greatly exceeds that due to known changes in natural processes, such as solar changes and volcanic eruptions.” Basically, although the climate would have changed even without our contributions, it would not have been at such an alarming rate.

So now there’s the question of what to do. How can we be better, and if we can change this, how do we do so? Recycling, vegetarian or vegan diets, fuel-efficient cars, and etc are all things we can do to help. However, even if it is helpful, it won’t be enough on its own. NASA says, “Because climate change is a truly global, complex problem with economic, social, political and moral ramifications, the solution will require both a globally-coordinated response (such as international policies and agreements between countries, a push to cleaner forms of energy) and local efforts on the city- and regional-level (for example, public transport upgrades, energy efficiency improvements, sustainable city planning, etc.).”

No matter which way you spin it, something obviously needs to be done. The UN warns us that we only have eleven years to prevent irreversible damage in climate change. As Shedona Richardson, a youth representative of Grenada, said, “Our future is in your hands. Do not let the hope of the world be in vain.”

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