The Earth is Dying- But You Can Help

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(Photo Credit: NRDC)

You’ve had a prolonged and lousy day at school or work, mentally exhausted and ready for relaxation, the last thing you want to do is click on the news article that has the headline “Scientists Say Global Warming Threat is Worse than Ever.” I get it, we’ve all been there when a tiring day has left one weary and not in the mood for stressful science articles. But the issue is, if we all find ourselves too busy, or stressed, or too tired to acknowledge the failing state of the planet, there won’t be a planet to acknowledge. 


Or at least, not at this rate. Global Warming is a tricky topic to tackle. It is both complex and (inexplicably) highly controversial. To simplify an undoubtedly not-simple issue, Global Warming is the byproduct of there being too much greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. When sunlight reaches the earth, some light will be returned to space, however a large portion is absorbed by greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that use the energy given from the sun and redirect it to the environment, making earth hospitable for humans. However, the overproduction of greenhouse gases through human practices (such as transportation, electricity and agriculture) is heating the Earth’s surface to unprecedented levels. 


The consequences of this is paramount, and triumphs over any other environmental issue. “Ice is melting in both polar ice caps and mountain glaciers. Lakes around the world, including Lake Superior, are warming rapidly — in some cases faster than the surrounding environment,” Geology Professor Josef Werne said in an article for LiveScience, “Animals are changing migration patterns and plants are changing the dates of activity.” Climate Change does not just stop at destroying glaciers and altering the course of geese.Up to half of plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked,” Melanie Gade writes in an article for WWF (World Wildlife Foundation), “Places could lose 25 percent of their species according to a landmark new study by the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and WWF.”


If the information above scares you, good. The situation is dire and will require immediate and aggressive action to combat it. But it’s not hopeless. Furthermore, this does not have to be an issue delegated to the world’s leaders and scientists. Readers and teens will find in this article that there are many things they can do to lend a much needed hand. Firstly, there are the seemingly small, but not any less crucial, aspects that anyone can do. This includes using less hot water, turning off the lights, changing light bulbs, walking more instead of driving cars, etc. Alone, these acts might seem inconsequential, but if even a dozen people committed to them, change would occur. Recycling alone can save two towns of carbon dioxide each year; having your thermostat lower in the winter prevents two thousand pounds of carbon dioxide; showering with cold water saves up to 500 pounds. All it takes is for these habits to become ingrained into your daily routine, and soon enough it will just become the norm. 


Of course, for those who are more serious on tackling the monster force of Climate Change, there are other courses of action to take. If one finds themselves in a financially fortunate state, consider a donation to one of the following charities: Center for Neighborhood Technology, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace Fund, National Wildlife Foundation, etc. No need to stress if you don’t have the money to generously spare, consider signing petitions that urge congress to take action for environmentally-focused bills, or join local marches that’s missions are to prompt our nation’s leaders to take a firm stance on the right side. For information on how to do any of the above mentioned things, the site provides direct links to access the aforementioned leagues and locations. 


Deep breath, you’ve reached the end of the article. From just reading about Global Warming, it is easy to feel depleted and that it a pointless fight destined to reach the conclusion of environmental collapse. However this does not have to be the case. As with all things, there is reason to have optimism and faith that things will work out. Human beings have a knack of coming together when it really matters; when it seems all hope is lost. But we can’t just have faith that other people will do what needs to be done; actions must take place and it must take place from all of us. The days of hoping Global Warming will simply cease to be are gone, and in its place is the present situation that requires we stand together under one common goal. For when people unite in the face of dark times, there is nothing that can’t be done, or in this case, undone.