The general population is aware of the term ‘global warming’, how the use of fossil fuels is gradually warming up the Earth. To many of us, this is seen as an important issue, how our environment will eventually deteriorate due to the greenhouse gas emissions as well as many other contributing factors, but, I do not believe that it is taken as seriously as it is talked about.
According to The Hill, “around 70% of Americans today believe that the planet is changing,” but some do not think that this is a major issue. In fact, only “27% state that climate change is caused by human activity”. Ultimately, what is really at stake here is the life of our planet, the animals that inhabit it and our future generations. So, let’s put this into perspective: Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, stores heat that is brought through the atmosphere from the Sun. Due to the burning of fossil fuels, this includes oil, coal, and natural gas, these CO2 emissions are released into the air, and in large quantities. If carbon dioxide has the ability to store heat and we are releasing this gas into the air, we can conclude that essentially, the planet must be warming up. In “Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change,” scientists state that since 1880, the temperature of the Earth has gone up 1.7 degrees which doesn’t seem like much, but since this is the average temperature of the entire planet, it is warm enough to start melting the ice caps and raise our sea levels at fast speeds. As time goes on and more emissions are released into the air, trapped under the atmosphere, the Earth will become so hot, “it will be uninhabitable” as stated by scientists. President, we cannot let this happen.
Not only is the planet getting warmer, but the entire environment is changing because of it. Recently, news was released about the Great Barrier Reef’s health and how it’s in the process of dying due to bleaching, a disease that occurs due to the water being warm for long periods of time. This can be explained due to the emissions and how they are raising the temperature in the water. Basically, coral relies on algae as its main source of food and is what gives coral its color. But, when temperatures become too high for the coral, it stresses it out and forces the algae to leave. After a while, the coral begins to lose its color, turns ghostly white and eventually breaks off, causing a domino effect to not only the animals, but to people as well. According to “The Great Barrier Reef: A Catastrophe Laid Bare,” it could take up to a decade for the coral to recover which many scientists are saying that it is too late to save. If we are to save this historic and important part of our ocean’s ecosystem, then we are to take immediate action.
While this does seem overwhelming, there are many solutions to reducing our carbon footprint. As President, I encourage you spread awareness of this issue by talking about it and its consequences within our local and state governments. By acknowledging this problem and stating what it will affect, more people would be willing to do things like: recycle, start using energy efficient light bulbs, switch to using a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic water bottle and waste less of what you already have.
Most people aren’t aware of this but, by cutting meat out of our diets, it can also help stop climate change. As stated in Cowspiracy, a documentary that explains how unsustainable farming is a leading contributor to climate change, “raising farm animals is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than all of the emissions combined from all transportation exhausts, which is 13%.” Disturbingly, “livestock create at least 32 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, which is roughly 51% of all greenhouse gas emission worldwide” according to Cowspiracy. This influenced how I look at our food for good. I have transitioned from regularly eating meat to eating no meat or other animal products and now eating a plant based diet. Based on “The Vegan Calculator,” if you were to reduce the amount of meat you consume for one year, you would be saving 7,300lbs of carbon dioxide and 10,950 sq. ft of forest, as well as 401,500 gallons of water.
Our planet, our home, is dying President. We are the only ones who can save it from ourselves. When are we going to take our blinders off and recognize the significance of climate change? I’m tired of hearing predictions of when the Earth might become uninhabitable, when the next environmental epidemic occurs, or when we lose another species of wildlife. Let’s work together and find a more sustainable way of using our limited resources so we can help save our planet.
Works Cited Page
Cowspiracy. Dir. Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn. A.U.M. Films and Media, 2014. Documentary
Cama, Timothy. "Poll: 70 Percent Believe in Climate Change." TheHill. The Latino Economy,
04 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
Hickman, Martin. "Study Claims Meat Creates Half of All Greenhouse Gases." The
Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 31 Oct. 2009. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
Gillis, Justin. "Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change By JUSTIN GILLIS NOV. 28, 2015." The New York Times. N.p., 28 Nov. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
Kuczenski, Brandon. "What Is Climate Change and Why Is It Important?" - Quora. N.p., 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
Slezak, Michael. "The Great Barrier Reef: A Catastrophe Laid Bare." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 June 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
"Vegan Calculator." Vegan Calculator. The Vegan - Web Designer, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.