Karen Lin New York

Climate Change

Climate change affects us all but not enough laws have been passed to protect the environment due to limited knowledge on how rapidly climate change is changing the earth.

Dear Mr. or Madam President, 

       My name is Karen Lin. I am 17 years old but I will be of voting age as of the summer of 2017. I currently attend school in Queens, New York where I am taking a government class. In this class, we learn what is occurring throughout the world whether it's domestically or internationally. One huge issue that not only America faces but other nations as well is climate change. Climate change affects us all, and it needs to be stopped or prevented.

      As a child growing up, I remember seeing migratory birds  fly around in circles in the sky. I would see this during the fall months where the weather was getting colder. Every morning, I would see them circulating in large groups until they eventually were no longer in the skies. They had left for the south where it was much warmer compared to the cold winter months.  As I grew older, I noticed a change. Each passing year, there were more birds around but they circulated with no direction. They seemed lost and unsure where to go. Similarly, the migratory birds formed smaller and smaller groups leading to a couple of small groups of birds in the air. At the time, I noticed this change but I didn't understand why this was occurring. But because information is always accessible whether from media, the internet or school, I found out why this phenomenon was occurring. It is because of climate change. Climate change affects patterns of migration influencing the routes of the birds and their annual migration paths  making them lost and confused on where they should head to. Climate change does not just affect birds but every organism including us, humans. 

     As everyone knows, climate change is happening and it's changing the world around us. However, not many know how climate change is affecting the world or how rapidly it's occurring. As civilization continues to advance, it creates huge problems for the earth. In the past century, global warming has been proceeding at a rate that has been unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Due to Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances, scientists have been able to collect all different types of information regarding the climate on a global scale. The data that has been collected reveals signs of a changing climate. One example supporting this is how the global sea level has rose 6.7 inches in the past century which is nearly double that of the century before that. Another example are the oceans. Due to the earth warming up, they have been absorbing much of this increased heat with the top 2,300 feet of the ocean showing a warming of 0.302 Fahrenheit since 1969. A third example are the ice sheets; the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been decreasing in mass. The Greenland ice sheets has lost 36 to 60 cubic miles of ice per year between the years of 2002 and 2006 while the Antarctic ice sheet has lost about 36 cubic miles of ice in the same number of years. Correspondingly, glaciers are retreating everywhere around the world ranging from the Himalayas, Alaska, Alps, Andes and other places. These are not the only effects of climate change. There is more and it needs to be stopped before the planet is destroyed. 

      Beginning from the early 1970´s, Congress has passed several laws to protect the environment. Not only that but they had also created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee and enforce the laws. One act passed was the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which requires federal agencies to consider the environment when making decisions like allowing mining on federal land. Federal agencies also must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to report on actions they have taken that may affect the environment. Another act passed was the Clean Air Act; the goal was to reduce air pollution across the nation. The Act sets limits on the levels of pollutants in the air nationwide while the EPA limits the amount of pollution put into the air from industries. Lastly, there have been several acts passed concerning toxic substances like the Toxic Substances Control Act, CERCLA Act, Right-to-Know Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Regarding all these acts, it may seem to not connect to the idea of climate change but it does. They all contribute in one way or another like how air pollution involves greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are one huge cause of the earth warming up. Besides that, not enough laws have been passed to protect the environment. Due to the small number of laws, the earth continues to deteriorate at a rapid pace leading to even more dire situations for not only the environment but for all organisms on this planet. 

     To conclude, laws need to be passed not only for the sake of the environment but ours too. By protecting the environment, it can lessen the effects of climate change. If things are to continue as it is, things can only get worse from here out. America will definitely be affected especially coastal cities if the sea levels were to continue to rise. Natural disasters would also become more hazardous since there is a link between natural disasters and climate change. As the president, you have the power to be able to create change for the nation. Create change that will conserve the environment and in turn will protect you, your family, your citizens and future generations from the perils of climate change. 

                                                                                                                               Sincerely,

                                                                                                                                 Karen Lin