There has been an ongoing debate for the last 10 years about whether climate change is real or fake. Climate change is real; there is science to support my opinion. This controversial issue is usually what separates Democrats from Republicans, but it should not. This is not an issue of politics, but an issue of human decency. We all live on this earth, and it doesn’t matter who is a Democrat or Republican, we all contribute to the pollution that is causing climate change. Therefore, we all need to play a role in helping to control it.
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and large scale shifts in weather patterns. Climate change has an effect on every part of the earth–animals, oceans and the air we breathe. I like to think that taking care of the earth can be compared to taking care of a home. Earth is the home to all biological beings, so shouldn’t we do our part to clean it and take care of it? You would not let your home become dirty and ignore it, so do not do the same to Earth!
Oceans cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface and make up 95 percent of the space available to human life. The greatest concern facing the oceans is that, due to global warming, the chemistry of the water in the oceans is changing, this is called ocean acidification. The oceans are home to thousands of different species of sea creatures and microorganisms. This rise in acidity is harmful to not only the sea creatures, but to the plants and microorganisms. The excess carbon dioxide is causing the acidity to rise above the level that is suitable for life.
One creature in particular that is suffering is the coral reef. The coral reef’s role is to provide shelter and protect shorelines. One of the species that the coral reef provides shelter to is the zooxanthellae, and in return, the zooxanthellae provides oxygen for photosynthesis. Zooxanthellae are single-celled organisms that live within many other marine organisms, like coral reefs. As one can see, the marine ecosystem is one that depends on all of its creatures. If one part of the ecosystem fails, it will not be long before the whole thing collapses.
Another effect of climate change that has directly harmed people in the United States is droughts. Droughts are defined as prolonged periods of time with low rainfall, which ultimately leads to a shortage of water. Water is the single most important resource to sustain life; without water, all life would cease to exist. As the most important resource on the planet, we should do more to protect it.
Currently, there are severe droughts in the southwest portion of the United States. Droughts do not just refer to a shortage of water, but a shortage of resources. Water impacts a large number of industries in our country, like agriculture, transportation and energy. For example, the agriculture industry depends on water to care for livestock and crops. In 2012, drought struck several major breadbasket regions and added to food instability. In countries already facing food insecurity, cost spikes can lead to social unrest, mitigation and famine. Secondly, in transportation industries, droughts have affected the water levels on rivers like the Mississippi. This is incredibly dangerous because the boats that are used for transportation need at least nine feet of water to safely move. Thirdly, the energy industry relies on water for cooling down power plants and to maintain safety operations. In addition, water is also used to create hydroelectric power.
Taking care of the environment is not anywhere close to how high it should be on people’s list of priorities, but it has been receiving more attention now than it has in previous years. With the rise in popularity of social media, certain groups have been advocating for a cleaner earth. One of my favorite initiatives that has taken place is the ban on plastic straws in support of sea turtles. The video that started this movement showed a straw being lodged in a sea turtle’s nose. This video was definitely upsetting. We need to be more cognizant of our pollution and realize that our actions have consequences. I am sure that the individual who had this straw would not have done so if they knew it would end up harming a sea turtle, but these are the things we need to think about. I feel that this is a great utilization of social media and more people need to join in.
Those who say they do not care, or that environmental issues do not affect them are either ignorant or selfish. If you live on this earth, then these issues do affect you. Yes, the earth may not die in your lifetime, but that is not the correct mindset to have. We want the earth to be around for generations to come. It does not take much effort to do your part: clean up after yourself, choose biodegradable alternatives, recycle and donate if you are able to.