by Bailey Colgan
From day one, Mother Earth has provided a safe and fruitful environment for her inhabitants. She gives us shelter, food, water, and everything that we could possibly need to survive. She provides us beautiful creatures, breathtaking sights, and everything we would need to live a fulfilling life. We should all be grateful for what we have on this Planet. We should all be treating it with respect so that we can all live healthy and happily ever after. However, that is not the case. We are killing Mother Earth.
“How can we tell?” you may ask. Well, from the NASA Global Climate Change website, there is compelling evidence that says so. There is plenty of documentation of global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, decreased snow cover, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and so much more. All of these are caused by humans. Because of our “great” innovations, we release an alarming amount of harmful and unknown factors into our atmosphere which is catching up to us.
From this past year, you should be somewhat familiar with this current crisis; between the student boycotts, the media, and this girl called Greta, it should be a household discussion by now. Climate change is not a new subject of conversation, however. It is not an unknown topic of discussion. It has nothing new to do with politics. Climate change has always been around. We are not just now experiencing the harmful side effects of our technology; it has been around for ages. We just haven’t always seen the differences that are being made; we haven’t seen the big picture of consequences of what our actions are causing.
Okay, now that we have established that Earth has been affected by us, how do we know what is causing all of this? Causes of climate change are more common than you would think. To break it down, we are living in a greenhouse. Since everything on Earth depends on the Sun’s energy, light passes through the air and clouds to the surface of Earth where it is absorbed by everything. Then after the energy is absorbed, it is radiated up into the atmosphere in the form of infrared heat. This heat is absorbed by “greenhouse gasses,” which then bounce the heat back to the surface. Gasses that contribute to the greenhouse effect include water vapor which acts as feedback to the climate, methane, which is produced through natural sources and human activity and is a more active greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide but less abundant in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, which is a minor but very important component; it is released through natural sources and human activity, and it is the “…most important long-lived “forcing” of climate change.” There is also nitrous oxide, a powerful gas caused by human activity, and chlorofluorocarbons, synthetic compounds regulated in production; they contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer.
Now, you may be wondering what we can do to help reduce our influence on the destruction of Earth. The answer is sustainability and the use of government resources. NASA’s sustainability policy is “…to execute its mission without compromising the planet’s resources so that future generations can meet their needs.” This means that they use careful measures to reduce the environmental, institutional, programmatic, and operational risks. Sustainability objectives include increasing energy efficiency, increasing the uses of renewable energy, conserve and protect water resources, eliminate waste, prevent pollution, and increase recycling; evaluate agency climate change risks and vulnerabilities, raise awareness, and so much more. Raising awareness is one of the most important solution we have. If everybody becomes aware and educated on the subject, then we can all begin to do our part. Unfortunately, a career in sustainability is uncommon and unpopular; it is important to teach kids and students of all ages about sustainability, so that they may pursue a career in finding a permanent solution. Children should also be educated on the matter, because it is their Earth that is in need. These are just some things that individuals have been able to complete. What about the big guys in charge? Our current President, President Biden, is creating a “Clean Energy Revolution” in which he plans to “implement more permanent climate legislation including parts of the $2 trillion proposal to cut planet-warming carbon emissions to zero by 2035 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”1
However, all of this can take years to achieve. Do we have that long? Everything and everyone on Earth are being affected by climate change. Our health as humans is becoming more vulnerable, the creation of diseases, low air quality, heat stress, and so much more. It is incredibly important to take action as soon as possible, even if that means starting small. Changing your habits is a good way to start, reducing your usage of plastic products, recycling, etc. Everyone should start taking part in the movement against climate change and start doing their part. Before time runs out, participate in putting an end to climate change. Save our Mama!
“Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” Accessed March 15, 2021. https://climate.nasa.gov/.
Emma Newburger. “Biden’s Climate Change Agenda Will Face Big Obstacles with Evenly Divided Senate.” CNBC. CNBC, January 30, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/30/bidens-climate-change-agenda-to-face-obstacles-with-senate-.html.