A Dozen Years from Global Catastrophe

Planet Earth will suffer if climate change is not combatted

Courtesy of The Heartland Institute

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Courtesy of The Heartland Institute

Ramone Martin, Staff Writer

For decades Earth has undergone a multitude of changes, but none may be as severe as the changes occurring today, and studies suggest that in as early as twelve years the world may be doomed. Due to the global phenomenon known as climate change, planet Earth is now on a time limit because of the rise of the world’s average temperature.

Climate change has been a topic of discussion for decades. Some have argued in the past that it was simply nature taking its course. However, with recent discoveries made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization run by the United Nations, studies say the rising temperatures are occurring at an alarming rate, and if not addressed, will lead to global mayhem.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the atmosphere has been exposed to 6,511 million metric tons of gases that consist of Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Acid. These large amounts of gases have caused the Ozone layer to allow in more sunlight and warmth which is, in turn, warming the oceans.

CJ Johnson, senior, stated, “With our oceans warming, we are experiencing more hurricanes, so not only is the climate change affecting us in the long run, but places like North Carolina and Florida are reaping the consequences now.”

According to the United Nations, with an increase of only 1.5 to 2 degrees in the world’s average temperature, water levels will rise to take the homes of roughly 30 million people. Rising sea levels will also see the end to major parts of the world such as Miami, Florida and Shanghai, China. Not only does this affect human lives, but natural habitats such as the Everglades National Park and 90% of the arctic poles will also cease to exist.

Climate change activism first began in the 1990’s when many nongovernmental organizations, such as ConservAmerica, noticed an increase in natural disasters, a change to the world’s sea levels, and a rise in global temperature. These efforts were led by groups such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where activists gathered in groups as large as 50,000 people to express their views on the dangers of the warming climate.

These movements began to grab the attention of powerful individuals, including the former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, who is now is the Chairman of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and the head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, who has also influenced over 1.2 billion people across the globe. These individuals are now using their status to spread the word about climate change being a serious threat to the world.

Identifying the contributing factors to climate change is a popular discussion, but finding a solution is where the issue becomes complicated. Switching from gas-powered vehicles to electric powered cars, avoiding the use of plastic, and avoiding harmful chemicals such as Carbon Tetrachloride (widely used in popular cleaners) have all been solutions that many people have resorted to. Dr.  Chariz Johnstone, a chemistry teacher at Long Reach High School, agrees, “It all starts with the lifestyles of the people.”

She explained, “A change in lifestyle is necessary because if we continue to rely heavily on plastics, and other objects that harm the environment, manufacturers will continue to produce them.”

Dr. Johnstone also remarked that to combat climate change, emission reduction would be a necessity. “Emission reduction starts at home. Big companies have certain sanctions as it is, but if we reduce our waste at home, less carbon dioxide emissions will be released because less waste will be burnt up.”

Everyone has taken notice of the issue, and people of all ages have begun to care. Urgency is among the people now and change is imminent. “This is our future; this is the life we are [going] to live with if we do not make a change to the way we do things on this planet, and it all starts with the people. It’s that simple.” These are the words of Isaiah Martin, a Long Reach High School Junior, who feels climate change is an alarming issue that deserves the attention it is receiving. Time is running out, and if the world hopes to conserve the luxury of stable living, many actions are necessary, and change is a must.