Dear Future President,
All it takes is a fraction of a degree. Water freezes at 32 degrees fahrenheit—not even the slightest bit higher. Currently, the Earth’s temperature is steadily rising; as I’m sure you know, this change has been classified as global warming. Eventually, the North Pole’s temperature will be above 32 degrees. That may not seem too bad, but it could become something far worse than we could ever imagine.
It’s debatable whether or not this change is primarily because of the human footprint. However, one thing we know for certain is that, although it may not be mainly/entirely us, at least a small portion of this environmental change is due to humanity’s harmful and wasteful use of materials. America uses a large amount of the world’s fossil fuels, and thus is responsible for a good amount of the human effect on global warming. global warming is no small issue, and if America were to spend more time focusing on how to lower its carbon footprint, then great progress could be made in a reasonable amount of time.
What, you may ask, is even the big deal about our planet’s temperatures rising? Well, there are multiple answers to this question. First off, the polar ice caps melt and then re-freeze as the seasons rotate. If the temperature were to rise above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, then they wouldn’t be able to re-freeze. This would pose a huge issue to polar bears. If the ice caps continuously melted without freezing up once again, then the polar bears would have no place to live. We’ve already lost many species to extinction, and we can’t let this happen to another. Polar bears rely on icebergs in numerous ways, be it for fishing, sleeping, or resting when tired. The loss of polar ice caps would surely mean the loss of polar bears, too. Other polar residents, such as penguins, would have huge chunks of their population disappear, too. Penguins are preyed upon by animals like sea lions, which swim much faster than penguins, and if the penguins had no ice to hide on, their populations would decline sharply.
However, the polar animals aren’t the only affected population. All people that live by the side of the ocean will also be negatively affected by global warming. Have you ever put ice cubes in a glass of water, then when the ice melted, found that the water level has risen ever so slightly? Well, with global warming, it’s far worse than a bit too much water. Think of the ice caps as the ice cubes, and the oceans as the water. When the ice caps melt, their mass will be added to the ocean. The ice caps are massive, and so will be their effect. The ocean levels would rise, and rise, and rise. Coastal towns and cities would be completely submerged. Every beach you’ve ever been to? Now just an extension of the ocean. Millions of beach houses would be destroyed, costing their owners not only huge costs in repairs, but possibly even their lives. This would be horrible for the entire planet, especially considering that almost half of the world’s population lives by the ocean. Rising oceans would trigger worldwide cataclysms like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
There are many ways to slow global warming down. The easiest way is, as cliche as it may seem, recycling. The trash bin has been an easy dumping point for everything people don’t really care to dispose of correctly. It’s a little like crowdfunding—if every single person tries to make recycling factor more largely in their life, then we could have massive changes happen, without too much work being put in.
Another way to cut down on global warming’s effects is the ever-present possibility of solar energy. We’ve all heard this brought up many, many times—but the surprising thing is how effective it would really be. Solar panels are not too difficult to install, but they would greatly lower our carbon footprint and help hugely in our battle against global warming.
I won’t list all of these in depth, as the list would go on for pages and pages. That being said, here is a list of a few of the multiple easy ways to cut down on energy waste: turning off the lights when leaving a room, taking shorter showers/not using water more than necessary, driving less (also healthy for your own personal benefit), and using compact fluorescent lights instead of your standard light bulbs.
A fraction of a degree is all it takes. All this devastation, all these people left homeless or worse, all these animals never seen again—this isn’t as impossible as it may seem. It’s not only your job as president, but ours as the people to ensure that this world doesn’t have to face these horrors if it doesn’t have to. Global warming is a serious issue—if we neglect to deal with it, it could completely change the world as we know it. Thank you for reading my letter.
(Bala Cynwyd Middle School student)