Sophie H. Louisiana

Take Action on Climate Change Before It's Too Late

Climate change is a pressing matter for everyone, and it is something we must do our best to mitigate immediately.

November 8, 2016

Dear Future President:

As a student becoming increasingly aware of both political and environmental processes in our world, I am concerned with the health of our planet. It has recently emerged in my field of vision that our current actions do not support the utmost health of the earth. With the recent pronunciation that the Great Barrier Reef is in danger of extinction, I cannot help but believe that human activity has catalyzed—if not completely caused—this tragedy. Because of the frequent emergence of new environmental issues, I passionately support the movement of environmentalism. To ensure a safe and promising life for future generations, it is necessary for us today to take action to ameliorate environmental damage.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Association, animal agriculture accounts for anywhere between 18 to 51 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. This is simply a fact that no person with a correct moral compass can ignore. With the increase of livestock production, more carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere. Adding to this already detrimental situation, forests are being cleared for the purpose of raising more livestock. The clearing of forests also decreases the earth’s photosynthetic capacity for alleviating the emissions from livestock. Methane, a greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere much more strongly than carbon dioxide, is most heavily released by animals that are raised for food. Livestock accounts for 37 percent of human-induced methane, according to the United Nations. Because the half-life of methane in the atmosphere is drastically less than that of carbon dioxide, mitigating methane emissions would much more effectively curb the doomed path that climate change has been following. For the best interest of future generations, for the success of our children, and for the love of our planet, it is necessary to take efficient action to reverse global warming as soon as possible.

Another extremely important concern that I have as an environmentally-conscious adolescent is fracking, which is the process of extracting oil or gas by forcing open fissures in rock. The fracking process, along with raising animals for food, releases an uncertain amount of methane. As an individual who places the earth’s environmental health as a top priority, this uncertainty leaves me unsettled. Although oil industries say that fracking does not release methane from under the ground, there have been cases in which the gas has made its way into aquifers and the atmosphere. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set levels of the amount of methane able to escape from fracking rigs and valves. Though the average percentage of methane released from all fracking rigs is below these standards, some valves allow even 30 percent more methane than the EPA standards allow to escape into the atmosphere. Many people have told me in the past that ignorance is bliss; however, nothing about the uncertainty of harmful gases being released into the atmosphere invokes feelings of bliss within me. Knowing that human activities are harmful to our planet without knowing the extent of the harm is like someone knowing that he has a fatal disease without knowing how extreme his case is. Like our bodies, earth is a perfect home for us. How could we just stand idle when we are causing harm to our own home? It is difficult for me to imagine that we could refuse to do whatever we can to mitigate the detriment to the earth, our only true home.

It is of extreme importance that issues regarding climate change are brought to the attention of the American public. Necessary measures must be taken by the general public in order to amend the destruction which has already been done to our planet. Future generations will be appreciative of our environmental efforts today. It is only a matter of time until these efforts are no longer capable of redeeming the state of our environment.




Conway, Erik. "Antarctica Is Melting." 2010. Can Glacier and Ice Melt Be Reversed?, edited by Roman Espejo, Greenhaven Press, 2014. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 8 Nov. 2016.

Davenport, Coral. "Fracking Does Not Contribute to Global Warming." Natural Gas, edited by Dedria Bryfonski, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 8 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "New Study Says Fracking Doesn't Contribute to Global Warming" in National Journal, 16 Sept. 2013.

Goodland, Robert, and Jeff Anhang. "Livestock Contributes to Global Warming." Vegetarianism, edited by Amy Francis, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 8 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "Livestock and Climate Change" in World Watch, vol. 11, 2009.

St. Thomas More Catholic High School

Guillory English III

Honors English III 1st period Honors English III 3rd period AP English III 4th period AP English III 5th period AP English III 7th period

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