Environmental Issues

Environmental Issues

Jessica DiCristina, Staff Writer

Climate change is one of the most widely-debated issues of our time—and the decisions made by global leaders about the topic will impact the entire future of Earth. Climate change is commonly mis-referenced as “global warming,” which is essentially a gradual temperature increase in the planet’s atmosphere. There is some truth to this; the past September was recorded as the hottest in history. However, climate change also refers to the more erratic weather seen around the globe. As the Southwest experiences severe droughts, the East and Midwest face violent rainstorms and hurricanes. Many eastern coastal areas have undergone extreme flooding from these hurricanes, which now last longer than they typically did in the past. 

Not only is climate change affecting our environmental surroundings, but it impacts human health as well. As a result of the warmer climate, there has been an increase in cases of tick and mosquito-borne illnesses in the Northeast. 

The overuse of fossil fuels, and the harmful effects of their products, greenhouse gases (which are mainly produced by manufacturing, transportation, and communication), takes a heavy toll on our environment. These greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane, all absorb energy and create more heat. When they are trapped within the Earth’s atmosphere, they cause temperatures to rise. As this climate crisis continues, it will only become a more significant global issue. 

If climate change is truly caused by humans, it can also be solved by humans. Saving this planet can be as easy as making a few simple lifestyle changes, such as eating less factory-farmed red meat. When raising cows, farmers often feed them grains, causing the animals to release methane: a harmful greenhouse gas. By eating meat sold by organic farms where the animals are fed natural diets, the amount of methane released into the air can be lowered. You can also help limit damage to the environment by unplugging your devices and turning off your lights when you are finished using them. Using less electricity means that power plants do not have to spend as much energy on generating it; in turn, less greenhouse gases are generated too. By recycling old water bottles, cardboard, and paper, you can conserve resources in an eco-friendly and cost-efficient way. 

Although many people debate whether or not we will face the severe effects of climate change in the near future, it’s important that everyone knows that by making just a few changes in your daily life, you can make a difference in saving the shaky future of our planet.