November 4, 2016
Dear Future President,
First of all, Congratulations! Second of all, thank you for giving your time to read my letter.
Since the beginning of human civilization, mankind has lived in a competitive relationship with nature. The relentless pursuit of progress, security and comfort have resulted in increasing stress on the environment, particularly, since the Industrial Revolution. As a result, the life-sustaining environment has been forced to transform faster than ever before. Human activity has exerted such a negative impact on the environment. Consequently, there has been an increase in greenhouse gasses emission into the atmosphere, rise in sea level, oceans warming, ocean acidification, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, extreme weather events, and so on. These problems are happening globally and they are the result of climate change. Climate change is happening and it represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing our nation and the whole world.
As the Earth gets warmer and warmer, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and shrinking at a much faster rate compared to the last few decades. According to NASA, “The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Change Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005” (NASA). This is significant as it is a clear evidence of our Earth getting warmer and demonstrate that climate change is happening. But more importantly, ice sheets and glaciers hold most of our fresh water on earth, 70% to be precise, and if all of that ice melts, we will face a serious water scarcity. Climate change will definitely have a massive impact on our freshwater resources, one of the most important element to sustain life.
In addition to shrinking ice sheets and melting glaciers, sea level is rising. Sea level rising is the direct impacts of temperature rising and ice melting, and it seriously impacts our coastal systems and coastal cities which are heavily populated. As the ice melts, adding more water into the ocean and as water get warmer the volume of water expand thus rising sea level. Rise in sea level for just a few inches can cause severe floods and significant damage in landscapes and infrastructures. But in the last decade along, we see sea level rose in impressive numbers. According to NASA, “Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century” (NASA). This shows us clearly how fast sea level is rising right now; just in one tenth of the time but nearly double the rate, double the rate mean double or even triple the damages and that is terrible. Climate change again shows how much of the impact it have on our society.
Climate change is causing devastating things to happen to our nation, to our world. As time progresses, we see that climate change has taken a turn for the worst. Climate change has caused the ocean to become more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. In fact, the oceans have absorbed about ⅓ of the carbon dioxide produced from human activities. According to NASA, “Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent” (NASA). With the ocean become more acidic, corals cannot absorb the calcium carbonate they need to maintain their skeletons and the stony skeletons that support corals and reef will dissolve. The coral reef is home to many marine life, it is one of the most diverse ecosystem on earth yet, and it will be heavily damaged or even destroyed if nothing is done to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Ocean acidification affects more than just coral. Snails, clams, and urchins also need calcium carbonate to make their shells and ocean acidification negatively impacts these organisms as well. Ocean acidification makes it harder for these organisms to absorb the calcium carbonate they need to build their shell and protect themselves against their predators and eventually, push them to the edge of extinction.
Last summer, I spent a week at the North Cascade National Park, Washington to learn more about climate change and have a chance to look at the impacts of climate change on the wildlife and glaciers. Glaciers are retreating more and more and decreasing in size significantly within two decades. As you may know, most of our fresh water are stored in forms of ice, as the weather get warmer, the ice that stored our water melt and soon we will run out of freshwater. This is really important to me; in fact, it’s important to all of us because water is one of the most important element on earth and we need water to survive.
Now, we know what climate change is and what is it effects on our environment, we need to stop it before it getting worse. It is time, our future president, it is time for you, for me and for all of us to turn to a new page and write a new chapter. The chapter on renewable energy and the chapter on clean energy. In order to change climate change, we first need to “be the ‘change’ in Climate Change.” It is time for us to stop using fossil fuel and start using renewable energy and clean energy. Solar energy is our solution, wind energy is our solution and hydropower is our solution to stop emitting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and cool down our beloved planet. Planting more trees is the most positive and the most effective way to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and make our planet green again. As the same time, we also need to change too. Just by consume less meat, buy local, air dry your clothes, unplug electronic chargers when not in use and many more, we can reduce greenhouse gasses emission and save our planet. Renewable energy, clean energy, planting more trees and us are the key to stopping climate change and make our planet back to its greatest day.
I urged you, our new President, to take actions and stop climate change, and give back our home, the beloved Earth, to our next and the future generations.
Foster High School
"Climate Change: How Do We Know? | NOAA Climate.gov." Climate Change: How Do We Know? | NOAA Climate.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.