The End of The World As We Know It

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The End of The World As We Know It

Precious Bennett, Web Editor

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   Climate change, or global warming, has been a hot topic for years now and a discussion that has more than likely come up on several occasions throughout our science classes. Many of us brush the topic off, silently asking ourselves what does this have to do with me or questioning the importance of the subject. You might even be questioning that as you read this story. Should you care about climate change? Of course, you should. That probably leads you to your next question – why do you need to care about climate change?

   You need to care because the earth is dying.

   Years ago, I would have been asking myself the same questions in the first paragraph. Why should I care? It’s not like I’m purposefully trying to kill the planet. Having a negative attitude towards a topic this huge is one of the many contributing factors to the overall problem. Having a negative attitude towards the current state of the world we live in sets up an overall feeling of carelessness, and emotional and mental carelessness leads to environmental negligence.

   80% of the pollution in the marine waters comes from land. Among the list of contributors, one of the biggest sources of pollution is nonpoint source pollution, most of which is uncontrollable to us because it comes as a result of runoffs like septic tanks, cars, trucks, and boats, farms, etc. However, there are sources that cause pollution in which are controllable, because we are the ones who have a hand in it. Dirtying up the beaches, throwing your trash out of the windows of your car or just not properly throwing away materials and putting them in their proper disposable areas — all of this is being done by us.

   Will I tell you that I’ve never thrown a gum wrapper out of my window? No. Will I tell you that I’ve never thrown a plastic bottle into the trash rather than recycling it? No. I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it, but change is a conscious effort and it’s far from impossible.

   Twelve years. We have twelve years before we absolutely destroy the earth. When I was in debate freshman year, I knew next to nothing about climate change. We had a topic, a topic about implementing a carbon tax, and through this, I gathered a ton of information that I’m sure I would have had no motivation to search for unless I was being forced.

   The air is full of greenhouse gas emissions. Gas emissions are gases that essentially trap heat and make the planet warmer. The three biggest sources of this are industry (22%), transportation (28%) and electricity (28%).  There’s recently been a desperate effort to attempt to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2030, but things aren’t looking up. The surface of the earth has already warmed by 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) and could see a disastrous 1.5 C (2.7 F) increase between 2030 and 2052. These numbers may not seem like a big deal but with the increase in numbers, they bring even greater problems like hotter summers, drought, food shortages, and sea level rises. I could be wrong, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who would enjoy living without impending fear that the world is actually ending without me knowing.

   Maybe there’s not much we can do as far as the big factors go. No, we can’t stop the runoffs from agriculture. We can’t stop oil spills (and I hope to God we never experience another that was as detrimental as the BP oil spill) and we can’t stop people from driving their cars. However, even the smallest effort goes a long way, and I encourage all of you to actually express a little bit of concern and care about the planet that you inhabit.

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