Published: 11/21/2021 8:00:27 AM
Modified: 11/21/2021 8:00:13 AM
Have you ever wondered why it hasn’t snowed yet this year? Or why did it snow in Texas in 2020? Or why have we experienced so many forest fires and droughts? This is all due to climate change.
To demonstrate this, there is currently a massive clock in New York, which counts the days, indicating that we have six years left before our climatic effects are irreversible. There are six years left before the earth crumbles beneath our feet. Six years. We are running out of time to save our planet. To tackle this urgent problem, we must first educate ourselves and then empower ourselves and those in power.
The first and most important step in tackling climate change is to educate those around us who don’t know what climate change is. Despite the fact that global warming has been happening for years, it’s still clear that some don’t know what it is.
The United Nations defines global warming as a gradual increase in the global temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons and other pollutants. It might sound like a long definition, but it basically means the earth turns into a giant sauna.
The United Nations says the earth’s average temperature is about 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average. While that doesn’t seem like a big change, it does mean the oceans will increase by about 1 foot by 2050. It means the homes of 300 million people will become unliveable. This means that coral reefs are no longer able to adapt to survive (all coral reefs will be dead by 2100). These adverse effects will be there for the next 20 years if we do not make changes today.
As individuals, it is now our turn to take responsibility in an effort to stop global warming. Over the past five weeks, I have made a conscious effort to reduce plastic waste in my life. However, everything from cups and straws to cutlery, food packaging and beauty products is covered in plastic. Not only does it end up in landfills and the ocean, but it also releases toxic chemicals during its manufacture.
Fortunately, there are ways to live a more sustainable life. Some include the use of reusable water bottles, bags, straws, cutlery and napkins. While I understand that these changes can be difficult, making them gradually and realistically is important for your lifestyle.
Other ways to reduce your carbon footprint include carpooling or taking the bus, walking as much as possible, switching to renewables, composting, and consuming local and seasonal foods. These changes may seem small or insignificant when discussing a whole world of people, but they can make a huge difference. If anyone can make a change, even if it’s a micro-change, it could send shockwaves to generations of others. Individual action can spark social and political movement, which is important if we are to begin to see change.
Political and corporate action will make the biggest difference in the fight against global warming. Unfortunately, in the political environment we live in today, taking action on issues such as global warming is seen as a political statement. At this point, it is essential that all political parties and all businesses are ready to change to save the planet we all live on.
That being said, studies to date indicate that only 23% of US companies are making an effort to be carbon neutral by 2030. This is nowhere near enough to avoid our carbon threshold. Without the influence of individual change and action, companies will not feel pressure and therefore will not attempt to change bad habits.
In addition, there have been frequent protests in the Concord area in an attempt to shut down the Bow Power Plant, shut down the Liberty Utilities Pipeline and demand state action on climate laws. As Sununu cuts funding for the Renewable Portfolio Standard and calls for more nuclear and gas energy, it is important that as citizens we continue to fight for what is necessary to survive.
Hope you can see why changing our bad habits is essential now. If we don’t make individual and political changes now, the world we live in will die. As individuals, it is our responsibility to initiate change today.
In the words of eighteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, “You have to act. You must do the impossible. Because giving up is never an option.
(Abigail Denise is a senior at Bow High School. Her senior project focuses on the individual impact on climate change.)