Students against climate change

Lauren H. '18, Guest Writer

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The reality that climate change is real and continuously advancing needs to be an issue in the forefront of students minds. Though most agree that climate change is real, some argue that environmentalist’s lie about the extent to which our planet is affected by human impact. While some climate variation is natural with Earth’s cycles, their influence is too miniscule to explain the current rapid changes in the environment (NASA, 2018). Climate change is an important topic that needs to be addressed because it will continue to affect the human species as long as we are on Earth and our actions can impact the effects of climate change to our planet.

Climate change has a greater effect than just warmer summers and cooler winters; it has a large impact on the agriculture industry in the United States. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (2014) found that climate change is likely to affect America’s ability to produce a stable food supply for increasing populations due to vulnerable agriculture industries. While global climate change is on the forefront of people’s minds, it is important to recognize the impact humans have on these changes. It is difficult to ignore the fact that humans are the cause of this rapid climate change that has developed due to increased gas emissions and destruction of natural ecosystems (Lerner, 2014). Since humans are the cause, humans should be working tirelessly to reverse the negative effects they are having on the planet.

While humans impact on climate change seems irrefutable, some scientists have argued that the Earth is undergoing natural climatic cycle changes that happen over decades (NASA, 2018). The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (2014) argued that carbon emissions have relatively no impact on climate change and therefore that increased greenhouse gases due to human industrialism hasn’t impacted our environment. However, these claims have been proven incorrect by many air quality tests over the years. In 2011, the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide were at the highest levels they have been in 800,000 years (Lerner, 2014). The fact that these gas concentrations are the highest they’ve been in hundreds of thousands of years is proof enough that humans have impacted the environment negatively. These greenhouse gases did not naturally rise to the extent they are at today. They are only at these high levels because of human influence on the Earth’s climate.

Human impact creates stress on Earth’s biodiversity as well. In a 2004 study, scientists concluded that 15 to 37 percent of plant and animal species could become extinct by 2050 due to climate change (Lerner, 2014). While losses in biodiversity largely impact the natural predator-prey cycle, they also have a significant impact on human food sustainability. A lack of plant diversity can result in reduced rates in meat, milk and egg production which can largely impact overall food accessibility for humans globally. These food sources need to be stabilized if the world is expected to feed an increasingly growing population.

Worldwide climate policy is the only solution to combating already deteriorated climate conditions. The Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated in 2016 to limit greenhouse gases to levels that would prevent the most negative side effects predicted by scientists. All major countries, except two, signed the Paris Agreement but the U.S. recently withdrew from the agreement in 2017 (Lerner, 2014). The Paris Climate Agreement was the first major global agreement set to address climate change and while it is still new, hopefully the U.S. and other countries will seek to create more terms to protect our Earth and it’s valuable natural resources. As students, we have recently seen the impact of our voice against issues such as gun laws. Hopefully we can harness that same willpower and determination to save our planet.

Climate change affects the Earth’s water, food and overall resource sustainability. Students need to take action against our predecessors impact on increased greenhouse gases that have negatively affected Earth’s temperature, biodiversity and weather conditions. The current youth will be the ones living with the negative results if these destructive gas productions are not corrected. People have the ability to create legislation that can decrease the impact of industrialism on the environment, now all they have to do is take responsibility of the Earth’s well-being and make a difference.

Reference List

Arenschield, L. (2016, May 18). Scientists meet at Ohio State on climate change in Asia’s Tibetan Plateau. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from The Columbus Dispatch website: http://www.dispatch.com/article/20160518/NEWS/305189800

Goldberg, S. (2017, March). On Climate Change (and Everything Else), We’re on the Side of Facts. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from National Geographic website: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/03/editors-note-climate-change/

Lerner, K. L. (2014). Climate change. In K. L. Lerner & B. W. Lerner (Eds.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Science (5th ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/QSBATN663282026/SUIC?u=lewi43035&xid=1d8ec38a

NASA. (n.d.). Is Current Warming Natural. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from NASA Earth Observatory website: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page4.php

Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Carbon Emissions Have No Significant Impact on Climate Change. In L. M. Zott (Ed.), Opposing Viewpoints. The Environment. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from 2013, 2) Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010132404/OVIC?u=lewi43035&xid=5483d0a2

Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2018, from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change website: http://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization.shtml

Rasmussen, C. (2017, December 13). Sierras lost water weight, grew taller during drought. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from NASA website: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/sierras-lost-water-weight-grew-taller-during-drought

U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program. (2014). Agriculture. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from National Climate Assessment website: https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/agriculture#intro-section-2