Maeve D. Pennsylvania

Climate Change

Climate change is a big global problem that needs to end now.

Dear Future President,

The issue of climate change (also known as global warming) has become a larger and larger problem as our economy and our technology grow. This needs to stop being shoved aside and be addressed before it’s too late. The subject at hand is affecting our future, and the future of the next generation, so we need to do something about it. So many factors fall into climate change, and most of them are a result of humans. Some people may think global warming is just a hoax, but there is tons of scientific evidence backing it up. Seas are rising, climates are warming, and species are dying out. According to the United Nations, from 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level rose by 19 cm as oceans expanded due to warming and ice melted. It is predicted that the average sea level will rise 24 – 30cm by 2065 and 40-63cm by 2100. Average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by then as well.

One of the main sources of this matter is greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are created through any activity that releases carbon dioxide, such as the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and animal waste that lets off methane. Greenhouse gases contribute to the greenhouse effect, which is when heat that is radiated from the Earth is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This keeps heat from going further out into space and warms the planet so that it can sustain life. Unfortunately, the planet has been warmed so much that it has gotten to a dangerous level. 70% of the radiation hitting the Earth is absorbed by the atmosphere. Oxygen does not absorb radiation. From there, our atmosphere will continue to warm our planet to dangerous levels of heat, which will cause many problems, such as more extreme weather conditions and the melting of the polar icecaps.

Another crucial source of global warming is deforestation. Deforestation is the process of cutting down trees. Trees release oxygen and take in carbon dioxide, and they help to capture some of the carbon dioxide emitted through the greenhouse effect. Removing trees from the planet gets rid of one of the few things that can help to hold in some of the 6,526 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that was discharged in just one year.

This issue did not start with us, though. Climate change has been studied for centuries, dating back to the Ancient Greeks where the Greeks thought cutting down trees would affect the amount of rainfall a region could get. That started the whole problem, and it’s just gotten worse and worse. Later, in the 19th century, the discovery of ice ages was the first inkling that global warming was possible. In 1824, a French scientist named Joseph Fourier first got a glimpse of the greenhouse effect, saying that “Earth's temperature would be much lower if the planet lacked an atmosphere.” Unfortunately, people have ignored these hard working scientists throughout history, disclaiming the evidence and calling it a hoax.

Throughout this letter, I have explained what climate change is and how it originated, but the full force of how bad this is and how much worse it could become probably hasn’t hit yet. There are so many consequences to human activity. Earth’s temperatures in 2015 were the hottest ever recorded, according to NASA. This could cause many different problems in many different areas. All agriculture depends on water, and climate change could interrupt the water flow through floods, droughts, and pollution clogging up the water. Precipitation levels will and have been going down, and as a result plants and other living beings that need water will slowly become extinct. Global warming can and will melt the polar ice caps, will cause sea levels to rise and harm inhabitants of the slowly melting habitat. As landscapes and habitats literally shift, wildlife must quickly adjust. The ever-changing ecosystems could kill off many species of sea life, and in turn we would be deprived of seafood and jobs that work with the seafood industry. Also, if the sea levels rise too much, they could cause flooding in seaside towns and places like Ocean City and Atlantic City.

The ocean is not only rising, but it’s becoming more acidic as well. The oceans are absorbing about a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted, and are becoming more acidic and harming the ecosystems and wildlife that live in them. This isn’t the worst of it, though. The global temperature is rising, and people are being affected more than ever, especially in warmer climates. According to Weather Underground, deaths attributable to heat waves are expected to be approximately five times as great as winter deaths that could be prevented by global warming.

Fortunately, there are ways to solve the problem of climate change, or at least to prevent it for as long as possible. Using renewable energy sources, such as solar energy or wind energy, although it may not seem a big deal, makes a huge difference. Also, another source of global warming called wasting energy, is an easily solvable problem. Things that are known to “waste electricity”, such as keeping the water on while you brush your teeth and leaving lights on while you are not in a room are directly linked to global warming. When people say wasting electricity, they mean wasting fossil fuels and releasing unnecessary carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Overall, global warming is a problem that needs to be solved. Through all of our human activity, although we are making life easier from all our advances in technology, we are also hurting our environment and all the animals and wildlife that share our planet. As our next president, the people of the united states are looking to you to help solve this problem and stop putting it off. This has become a real issue, and someone needs to do something about it. Will that be you?

By Maeve Donoghue

Bala Cynwyd Middle School

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