What Should Be Done About Climate Change?


-Photo courtesy of Sam Cohen

Appreciating Earth’s beauty: view from a spring break hike in Bad Schandau, Germany.

Climate change has been an ongoing issue in the world. Politicians and communities have debated the question, “Is climate change actually happening?” With certainty, climate change is happening, and if countries do not start working together to stop it, there will be no world left.

Global temperatures are rising rapidly. Over the past few years, temperatures have increased by around 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit, which has caused glacier retreat, ice sheets melting, and warming oceans. Additionally, species are starting to diminish because of the rising temperature. The warming of the oceans is one of the main factors affecting animal populations. When the seas become warmer, certain species of fish will go extinct because they are not adapted to live in warm temperatures. Fish are not the only animal species being affected by the warming of oceans; birds as well are starting to go extinct. When fish populations start to decrease, species above them in the food chain also begin to be affected. Birds are already starting to fall in numbers because their food source is decreasing.

Studies have shown that carbon levels have also risen since the 20th century. Since the 1950s, carbon levels have risen from around 320 parts per million (ppm) to 400ppm. Scientists are becoming concerned about the high carbon levels since carbon dioxide levels have previously never been over 300ppm. As well as carbon levels rising, sea levels have risen by about eight inches. Islands have already begun to disappear because of the rising levels. Earth is already overpopulated to an extent, but when sea levels rise more, land will be stripped away and fewer homes will be available.

Stopping global warming is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish, but if humans started the problem, they can also fix it. One of the easiest ways to stop global warming is by spreading the word. Telling people about the adverse effects rising temperatures can have on wildlife and living space can help tremendously. When word spreads, it is easier to get communities on the same page.

Changing one’s energy sources can also help. Switching to reusable energy may be hard for some, but it is worth the cost. Reusable energy can maintain lower global temperatures. Changing to energy-efficient appliances may also improve the situation. In 1987, energy-efficient appliances were introduced, and they have kept around 2.3 million tons of carbon out of the air so far.

Electric cars are another way of lowering temperatures. Fossil fuels are being used up by vehicles, but by changing to electric cars, fewer fossil fuels are being used. They are also more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. If electric cars are not prefered, using other means of transportation can also reduce the amount of fossil fuels being consumed. By walking, taking the bus, or bike riding, one will use fewer fossil fuels than he/she would by driving a car.

There are many ways to reduce global temperatures, but global warming will never be stopped unless large communities work together to end the problem. Countries need to put aside their differences and help one another. Urgent action is necessary; otherwise, the amount of inhabitable land and animal and human populations will decrease. When the majority of people on earth come together, only then can humankind diminish global warming.