“How Do You Think We Should Tackle Climate Change?” by americaspower is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Baby, It’s Getting Hot Up In Here”: Climate Change Code Red: Is It Too Late

September 10, 2021

The United Nations latest report on climate change states the world will most certainly face climate crises for decades, if not centuries to come. ” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said many things can no longer be ignored because they forever change Earth’s climate. The rising sea levels are noted to be “irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years. Our half-hearted, inconsistent, and complete disregard for greenhouse gases that have been emitted into our atmosphere has most certainly changed our world.  

Forest fires, an increased number of tornadoes, flooding, and the shrinking of the polar ice caps, which are increasing sea levels, are a few of the extreme changes we are experiencing due to climate change. Is it too late to make a difference? Is it too late to change our ways? And is it too late to give our children and grandchildren a chance at a life worth living? Not one they are just trying to survive in?

Not enough action is being done about the greenhouse gases that continue to be emitted into our atmosphere and have caused catastrophic weather-related events to be the norm. These weather-related events have left the world’s foremost authorities on climate change at the point where they can not hope for the Earth and its population to make a change that would reverse the climate’s drastic changes. Mankind has made the choice to have the dollar outweigh the value of things like clean drinking water.

As a student at Northeastern Illinois University, you might think; how can I possibly be part of the problem? I recycle. I never use plastic straws. I even use recycled materials in the clothing I wear. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, the average person produces anywhere from 150 lbs of garbage in a month making our yearly contribution to landfills at a little over 1,800 lbs, multiply that number by the number of people in the United States and the figure is staggering.  Researching the facts about what is filling our landfills, polluting our waterways, and making our air quality levels dangerous, the EPA’s website provides us with information on just what has changed over time and not for the good of humans or our Earth. The EPA gives us detailed breakdowns of what does and doesn’t get recycled each year and what we can do to help cut down on waste.  

Quiz yourself on climate change and you will be surprised at just how much you do not know.

To fully understand what is transpiring in our world you must look back in time and realize that much of what we have taken for granted has been forever changed and not for the better. Zero waste is something we can try to do to make a difference in our Earth’s climate. Enough of a collective amount of changes that each person makes can have an effect on our world’s climate in a positive way. 

In the midst of events like Texas’ February Freeze, the California fires, the massive fire in the ocean, tornados in the middle of major cities, and the fact that this past July was the hottest ever in the over 100+ years of keeping weather records, needs all of us to understand the repercussions of these events. Every one of us must realize that these events affect our health and safety too from where we live to the air we breathe and the water we drink. 

The thought that there are no longer things that can be done to positively affect climate change can be a reason to throw up our hands and just give up. People can do things that will make a difference, even if the difference is small.  Enough small events by every person can reverse the negative effects of climate change. So the next time you grab a coffee using a refillable cup instead of a cup made of unrecyclable materials. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, use beeswax paper to wrap that leftover pizza, and consider riding a bike instead of calling an Uber, if possible. Just imagine what can be accomplished if every human makes conscious choices to do things that can have a positive impact on our Earth’s climate.

One other thing to consider is how during the most trying time of our lives; living with the effects of the pandemic, our plant healed a bit. The air was clear of fossil fuels, no cars on the road, coral reefs started to grow because people were not swimming in the waters, and canals had wildlife not seen in some peoples’ lifetime. Think about what you can do daily to make a difference. “Baby it’s getting hot in here…”  will go back to being a badly written song. 

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