Climate Change is Ruining Our Future

By: Ava Mohler and Maya Messick


The future is not looking bright in terms of the health of our planet, by the midcentury, the Arctic is predicted to be ice- free. That means loss of habitat for hundreds of thousands of animals, not to mention the California Wildfires that have destroyed an unprecedented amount of 4 million acres of California this year alone. Climate change is a serious issue that many turn a blind eye to, although many effects of climate change have already taken place.

We have established that climate change is “bad” but, many do not actually know what it is. Climate change is the gradual increase of the general temperature of the atmosphere due to the “greenhouse effect” which is caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and other pollutants in the Earth’s atmosphere. This means changes in precipitation patterns, more droughts and heat waves, hurricanes will become stronger and more intense, sea levels will rise, and the Arctic will become ice-free. These things will dramatically alter the world as we know it.

Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you make in a lifetime. This includes your house, car, clothes, the food you eat, everything. The size of your carbon footprint depends on the many factors that make up your life. To leave less of a carbon footprint, you must first know your carbon footprint. There are many Carbon Footprint Calculators online, where you fill out a quick survey and it will give you the size of your carbon footprint, and ways to make a smaller one.

When you burn fossil fuels, they release greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These pollutants trap heat in the atmosphere and are one of the main factors contributing to climate change. There are four types of fossil fuels: Petroleum, coal, natural gas and Orimulsion. These Fossil fuels are all around us, and we may not even realize it. Petroleum is found in many fuels and oils and is used to fuel the machines that make many of the synthetic materials we use daily. Natural gas is used for electricity generation and heating your home. Coal is used for generating electricity. and Orimulsion is used for power generation as well. Although it may not be possible to completely stop your use of fossil fuels, there are some alternatives, these include; Solar power, Windmills, and Hydroelectric. You could also Invest in an electric car instead of one that burns fossil fuels. Just partially using Hydroelectric, Solar, or Wind power will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.

By using alternatives to fossil fuels, you can reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere. These include Solar power, Windmills, and Hydroelectric power. Solar power uses the Sun’s UV rays to create electricity. Windmills use wind that turns a turbine to create power and Hydroelectric creates electricity by using running water to turn a turbine, which creates electricity. You can get solar panels installed on your roof, which can be pricey though it reduces your electricity bills and is an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. If you live by a body of running water such as a river, you may already have Hydroelectric power. Whether you use these alternatives or not. It is important to try and be more eco-friendly to keep our planet healthy. Consider walking instead of driving to your friend’s house, taking the bus or train to work, or carpooling. Buying second- hand clothing can also help to lower your carbon footprint. You do not need to use these alternatives to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle.

Each year, we produce roughly 300 million tons of plastic. To put that into perspective, one ton is a small car. While many forms of plastic can be recycled, some of them cannot, such as Styrofoam. Even when placed in the recycling bin, 79% of those plastics end up becoming trash. This means that much of our waste ends up in landfills and sometimes the ocean. These animals may consume the plastic, which could lead to them choking on it, suffocating, or starving to death because they believe they are full. It could also result in becoming entangled in bags or other forms of plastic. Another majorly impactful way our oceans are harmed is through oil spills. These spills can affect marine life in the area for years afterward. While the oil mixed into salt water may create beautiful colors, deep down, it kills and injures thousands of animals. It clogs blowholes of whales and dolphins, causing them to die, covers the fur of some animals, resulting in them being exposed to colder temperatures and hypothermia, and more.

Deforestation is another huge negative impact in our rapidly evolving world. Up to 7 billion trees are cut down every year. These trees not only provide oxygen, but also serve as homes to many animals. Everything from monkeys, to birds, to bugs, may have to move because their home was, in a literal sense, destroyed. Less trees can also mean erosion, even floods. Because so much of our oxygen is produced through plants, deforestation rapidly contributes to global warming. By 2050, over 28,000 species are expected to be extinct due to this mass disruption in nature. In 100 years, it is estimated that there will no longer be any rainforests, leaving even more animals homeless, and eventually, extinct. While the U.S. is a mere 5% or less of the world’s population, it uses more than 30% of the earth’s paper. These facts may be horrifying, but it does not mean we are left helpless. We can choose to buy recycled products, recycle the paper we do not need anymore, use less paper at work, school, and home, raise awareness in your community, and more.

Climate change is set to have an unprecedented effect on our future. Though, there are many ways to help. By reducing your use of fossil fuels, you can reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere. You can do this by using renewable energy sources like Solar power, Windmills, and Hydroelectric for power. Or you could simply do less driving or get clothing from the thrift store. Whatever your contribution may be, it is important to keep the health of our planet in mind, because climate change is real, and it is already started.