The Future of Earth: Why You Should Care About Climate Change

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The Future of Earth: Why You Should Care About Climate Change

Photo Courtesy of Gloria Lee

Photo Courtesy of Gloria Lee

Photo Courtesy of Gloria Lee

Gloria Lee, Web Editor

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Senior year is all about reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future. Although I find myself cringing at my past mistakes and grinning at my happiest memories, the future has been occupying my mind the most. After all, we students constantly hear about how the choices we make determine our future, not our past. I’m excited to graduate high school, further explore my interests, spend summer with friends and visit my relatives in China for the first time in years. However, when looking at the big picture, I feel anxious and fearful. These feelings don’t solely derive from worries of failure and missed opportunities, but from something that can be factually proven, that is happening right now, that can potentially end civilization as we know it…

Climate change.

Okay, are you sick of that phrase? In all honesty, I sometimes am too. What agitates me more than about hearing “climate change” is that there has not been immediate nor enough action done by multiple nations, including the United States.

Furthermore, there are still people who believe climate change is an abstract concept or a hoax. However, when looking at the statistics, it is clear that our beloved planet is heading in a terrible direction.

According to NASA, the planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide levels in the air. Sea levels have risen about eight inches in the last century, and record high and low temperatures have been increasing  (as shown by the insane number of snows days we’ve had this year). These facts demonstrate how climate change is not a matter of political opinion but a dangerous reality.

So why am I even writing this for my Senior Send-off? It’s a depressing topic and doesn’t seem related to senior year at all. Well, simply stated, it is incredibly difficult to be excited for the future when I am constantly worrying about what the state of the planet will be. In 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report that claims we only have twelve years to limit this crisis. Considering how fast my past twelve years of schooling have gone by, this is not a lot of time.

So to whomever is reading this: I ask you to take time and reflect on the increasing threat of global warming. Do your research. The unpredictable weather patterns and increasing extinction rate of species should strike serious alarm. There’s nothing wrong with social media activism, but understand that actions speak louder than whatever climate-change-awareness post you put on your Instagram story.

Spend less time on your phone and relish in the outdoors instead. The clean air may all be gone sooner than you think. Keep on with the obvious things: upcycling, using renewable energy, etc. These are things I need to commit to more often as well. And if you are someone who is still not convinced, just do your best to take care of the Earth. Doing anything beneficial is always better than complete ignorance.

 

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