Written By Stevie Walker
May 20th, 2016: At 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest day ever in India was recorded. May 19th, 2016: The raging Alberta, Canada wildfire has burned 1,930 square miles and is still burning. May 18th, 2016: Flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka have displaced 350,000 people. The list goes on, and on, and on. The increasing rate of these natural disasters should be extremely unsettling to us. We should be asking ourselves why they’re occurring and feel concerned about the future of our earth. If we did have this concern, quickly we would be led straight to the heart of the problem- global warming. Since 1958, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has risen from 300 parts per million to 400 parts per million, and it is still rising. Meanwhile, the world stands by idly. Action is being taken to combat climate change, but it is not nearly enough to stop the problem or to even slow it down. Global warming is a detrimental crises to our world that cannot be fixed unless we take major action against it.
Endless amounts of evidence abound regarding the existence of global warming suggest that 2015 was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is pushing the limits even further. The Great Barrier Reef and most other coral havens of the sea are being decimated by the increasing acidity of the ocean. The glaciers are melting at an astonishing pace and sea levels are rising higher each year. Meanwhile, politicians and citizens are still denying the existence of global warming. We pump CO2 into the air, we deforest, we pollute, and we modify nearly every part of the land, but the change is too slow for anyone to take major action against climate change.
It goes against human nature to tackle a problem that is not directly in our face. Every time a major disaster occurs, such as Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, there is talk about global warming and what to do to fix the problems, but when all is prosperous and peaceful the talk dwindles from the media and from the American mind. Back during the Great Recession when gas prices were unbelievably high, the people were complaining and looking into other areas such as electric cars and public transit. Now, with gas prices low, few complain and everyone goes back to driving their gas guzzling vehicles without a care in the world. No body of citizens will want a complete overhaul of their lifestyle and current system unless it is absolutely necessary, but this is exactly what we need.
In such a crucial election year, it is a surprise that none of the presidential candidates have a substantial program for combating climate change. Climate change policy should be at the forefront of the political battlefield. Politicians should be encouraging and endorsing reform programs that invest in clean energy such as wind or solar, help fund research into new clean energy sources, and impose further emission restrictions on highly pollutive companies. Now is the time for action on the legislative and executive level that will slow the growth of global warming. It already is too late to stop many of the problems that we are having, but politicians have the power to slow the massive carbon output of industrial companies that keeps on worsening the greenhouse effect. They also have the power to instil a need for change into the public mind.
If the people want change, there will be change. Word must be spread that emphasizes global warming as a detrimental issue. Americans must realize the effects that their lifestyle is having on the planet and how wasteful it is. Everyone needs to believe in the science of global warming, see the facts, and want to take action to combat it. A good way to educate the public on global warming could be through a public or privately sponsored advertising campaign that simply states the facts. We need everyone to do their part to induce positive change in our environment. This can be small things like recycling or carpooling. Anything can help.
Whatever it is, something needs to be done to slow global warming, and it needs to be done now. As easy as it is to just live the life of the typical American consumer, that life needs to change and become a less wasteful one. Congress needs to introduce a comprehensive and radical policy that will combat climate change. The people need an education on global warming and its effects. If we do not take action, some of the most beautiful wonders of this world, both natural and manmade, will be destroyed forever.
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