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Climate Change is Real and We Can Do Something About It

Before we begin, allow me to get some things out of the way. First, climate change is not a political issue that can be debated— it is a true and terrifying fact. Second, the weather is different from the climate, so just because the winter is cold does NOT mean that the Earth isn’t warming at an astronomical rate.

Now that we’ve figured that out, let’s continue. 

In case you weren’t already aware, we are going through climate change, and there is a lot of scientific proof: the sea levels are rising due to thermal expansion and the melting of the ice caps, the air temperature over the land and oceans has been increasing, glaciers are melting, the ocean heat content is going up, and must I go on? 

These events are occurring because of some of our not-so-good-friends, the greenhouse gases: water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide. These greenhouse gases soak up thermal infrared radiation, which essentially causes our planet to heat up. Sort of like a blanket, only not so happy and snuggly. 

Basically, these gases are being emitted at a very high rate due to fossil fuel production, burning fossil fuels (using vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, planes, etc.), livestock (especially the overproduction of livestock farms and slaughterhouses), landfills, and so on. 

So, how can we as individuals try and lessen our carbon footprint? How can we try to make things a little bit better for our one and only Earth?

To reduce the burning of fossil fuels, you can try carpooling with others, since one car is better than three. If the distance isn’t too far, a nice walk or bike ride would work splendidly— plus you’d get some nice exercise. Or, maybe if you need to continue using a vehicle to get to places and there is nobody to carpool with, invest in a hybrid or all-electric car. A bit more on the expensive side, but imagine all the money you would save on gas!

Though you probably don’t own a mass amount of livestock, you may eat a lot of it. The livestock industry has gone into overproduction due to high demand, so livestock actually has some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions. To curb this, simply try eating less meat. I’m not saying that you need to go completely vegan or vegetarian, but just try to go a few days or meals without eating meat— it helps a whole heck of a lot. Plus, you’ll be able to look at those adorable cows and pigs without feeling guilty about how you probably ate a member of their family in that bacon cheeseburger you devoured yesterday.

There are other things you can do to help. You can spread awareness by letting others know what they can do to help. You can join peaceful protests and rallies to let the government know that you do care about our Earth, and encourage them to take more legal action, like enforcing strict emission laws for companies that produce far too many fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. You can even join organizations and websites such as UCapture, which offsets carbon emissions when you shop, so you can decrease your carbon footprint by shopping online when you get a free account.

Climate change is something that impacts all of us, so let’s start making a difference.

Annie is a senior at Michigan State University studying for a degree in Elementary Education with a focus in Social Studies. When she isn't studying, she enjoys geeking out about all things Harry Potter, snuggling with her dogs, and binge-watching "New Girl" with her friends. No matter what, you'll always see her with a smile that's wider than the Joker's.
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