Climate change is a pressing issue that affects us all and will result in a severe alteration of life on earth. The politicization of this issue has caused people to stray away from solving the problem to a battle of ideologies. Climate change will endanger many lives, cause more natural disasters, and kill off many species.
Extreme precipitation events such as tropical cyclones are expected to become more intense and wetter. “They will kill a lot of people and cause financial damage and generally wreak havoc,” says Mitchell. Around three-quarters of the world’s population will face twice the rainfall-related flood risk they do today. These will cause trillions of dollars in damage. If we do not fix these issues quickly, millions of people could die, and the amount of damage could be irreversible.
I feel that it is our job to protect this planet by living in sustainable ways. We owe it our future generations. To do this, we need to set strict regulations and goals. Some Scandinavian countries are pushing to eliminate all gasoline cars by 2040. In North America, we should also set similar goals for later years such as 2055 or 2060. Similarly, emerging giant economies of China and India also need to be persuaded to take immediate actions. This will result in a significant decrease in carbon emissions worldwide. Eventually, we will need to find low cost and safe renewable resources that could replace fossil fuels.
Time is Running Out
The critical point that we need to be wary of is the global termperatures rising 2˚C. Scientists warn that if global temperatures rise to this amount, the effects could be devastating and irreversible. Polar ice caps are melting due to high greenhouse gas emissions. Ice caps reflect sunlight. However, oceans absorb the sun’s heat, therefore the more ice caps melt, the warmer oceans get. Floods and rising ocean levels will completely submerge many low lying Islands like the Maldives. More sporadic precipitation, combined with earlier snowmelt, particularly in the mountains like the Rockies, will increase the risk of wildfires. We are already witnessing a higher number of wildfires on the west coast including recent incidents in California. Time is running out.
Living on the west coast, I have a great affinity to oceans and animals in there. I especially love the magnificent creation of nature, the whales. Recent news about killer whales dying due to starvation was shocking to me. Hot ocean conditions, poor river migration for fish, and low flows of water have hurt chinook salmon returning in the past several years. Killer whale populations, which rely on salmon for food are starving. Living so close to the ocean makes me feel that we should do more to protect these animals. I think by planning out in our homes how much water we will use and how to restrict energy consumption, we can do our part to reduce these effects. Everyone taking small steps will amount to overall big change.
One Step at a Time
When many people think of fixing climate change, they believe automatically of attending rallies and trying to convince everyone to believe in it. However, the real difference lies in making small changes to our ways of life such as limiting electricity, using less water and converting to electric stoves instead of fossil fuel ones. My friend who is very skeptical about climate change recently bought solar panels for his house because they are cheaper. He made this minor change that brings the world a step closer to solving global warming, but he did it in his own way. We need to stop tackling climate change as a political issue and remind everyone that this is a problem that affects us all and by making small changes we can make vast differences.