Posted on June 10, 2022 at 2:45 pm
Climate change is a monumental issue that is not recognized by enough people. According to the United Nations website, climate change is mainly caused by burning fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. These fossil fuels are often burned through generating power like electricity and heat, powering industrial and manufacturing processes, and transportation. Deforestation also contributes to the increase in carbon dioxide. The UN also lists the many negative effects of carbon dioxide as hotter temperatures (thus more wildfires and higher ocean temperatures), more severe storms, increased droughts, and more. The article “CO2 and Ocean Acidification: Causes, Impacts, and Solutions” from the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States (UCSUSA) highlights how the ocean has absorbed “29% of this additional carbon” that humans have been adding on with fossil fuel use. This has caused the ocean’s surface waters to become 30% more acidic, according to the same article. All of these negative effects contribute to entire ecosystems collapsing and making the world a much more dangerous, unhealthy place to live. Going to Mars isn’t going to solve the destruction resulting by climate change and is frankly rude to the animals and plants that are left behind to suffer with the effects of climate change that humans have caused.
Producing a sustainable environment is critical. Even if the issue is acknowledged, significant steps to reduce the effects of climate change are rarely taken. Based on recent studies, if humans further the current dependency on fossil fuels, this non-renewable source will run out by 2050. Multiple disastrous problems have already happened or are going to occur in the near future; now is the time rise to the challenge and help reduce these effects. Recently, in the state of Delaware, plastic bag use has been banned in large-scale grocery and retail stores. Unfortunately, other states and other states around the United States are slower to take action. Delaware is admirable for being one of the first to ban plastic bag use but more actions need to be taken in order to fully ensure a future sustainable community.
In America, according to a survey by Yale’s program on climate change and communication, 63% of Americans know what climate change is but don’t actually know what causes it. 75% from the survey would like to know more and would also support educating children in schools about climate change. Yale’s survey reveals how a major issue is that misconceptions about climate change cause many to doubt climate change’s validity. A solution to this problem can be brought about by the youth. In Delaware, students can advocate for climate change through protests that include multiple other schools and advocate Delaware’s Department of Education to implement climate change programs into schools to raise awareness. Not only are Americans under-educated, but they also show enthusiasm to learn more, based on the survey. Asking Delaware to establish an educational program will prevent the unawareness and doubts on climate change and thus help more Americans to take steps themselves to lower the effects of climate change.
The younger generation can also take steps to make sure that the local and state government decision makers make it clear that humans as a whole are responsible for the drastic effects of climate change. By taking responsibility for climate change, effective public policies can be made and implemented to help the environment. According to statistics from the UN, only 1/4 of the energy used around the world comes from renewable resources like wind and solar power. This number is not nearly enough but it is a step towards a sustainable environment. Students in Delaware (college or high school) can do research on alternative sources and push for state leadership to recommend using these sources. Youth can also advocate for constructing cities based on New Urbanism instead of globalization trends. Rooftop gardens, eliminating grass lawns that take up large amounts of water, and other practices can also help the local environment.
In addition, many Americans and people around the globe believe climate change to be too large of an issue to be helped by the individual. However, the United Nations, on their website, reveal 10 action steps that can substantially help one’s local community. These steps include saving energy at home, walking, biking, or using public transportation, eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and less meat and dairy, reducing, reusing, and recycling, changing one’s home energy source to a renewable source, using and buying eco-friendly products, utilizing electric vehicles instead of gas powered vehicles, throwing away less food, rethinking long-distance travel (since airplanes burn large amounts of fossil fuels), and speaking up in one’s community. Students in Delaware can use these action steps in their own homes and detail the better effects to the community, raising awareness and promoting sustainable practices. Once the population in Delaware becomes accustomed to new changes that the government recommends and the youth set an example for, then the government can also eventually by law mandate restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, trash production, and using non eco-friendly products for companies and families. Although some will complain about these measures restricting one’s personal freedom and expression of lifestyle, the youth can back up the government by explaining that the long-term effects will be extremely beneficial. Adjusting to a new type of lifestyle may be hard for now, but in the long-term, it can save generations from suffering and struggling with climate change and running out of fossil fuels.
In conclusion, a message for the local and state decision makers, as well as all people, is that climate change is not a far-away prospect reserved for the youth to solve; it is happening right now. Fossil fuels power cars, trains, airplanes, buses, stoves, air conditioning and heating systems, trucks, manufacturing facilities, electricity production, industrial processes, etc. If the population does not slowly transition to other sources of renewable energy, fossil fuels will run out in less than 30 years. Already, the world has become aware of the effects of globalization and how inter-connected countries and their economies because of the issues with Russia in Ukraine. Running out of fossil fuels will cause an even bigger impact. The youth in Delaware can help speak up for the climate and when state and local government decision makers make the appropriate decisions, Delaware can set an example for neighboring states. Little steps, like using the action steps provided by the UN, will result in big changes. Hopefully, the entire country will follow sustainable practices for the environment and trail-blaze a path towards a sustainable environment that utilizes renewable energy and New Urbanism instead of focusing on trends to make everything the same. Focusing on the unique needs for each different environment will help immensely. Overall, everybody, no matter where or when or how, can do their part to save their environment and reduce the effects of climate change.