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Climate Chaos: A Scope Into the Next Decade of Environmental Changes and Potential Natural Disasters

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

In the past century, humans have advanced technologically and intellectually throughout the 20th century. With the invention of air travel, the streamlined economy, and the ability to mass-produce goods, the climate has taken a big hit. The easier life becomes for humans, the worse off the environment is, but now we have the opportunity to change that, and help improve our lives and the health of the planet.

The Ozone layer:

The Ozone Layer is one of the most important natural barriers that exist for the planet, and with the invention of chlorofluorocarbons, it has been damaged and depleted to the point where it was almost irreparable. Without the protection of the ozone layer, the Earth is susceptible to the powerful UV rays of the sun and to the radiation that the sun emits. With the damage to the ozone layer, we are also more susceptible to illness and disease such as skin cancer, and eye damage, so it is imperative that we protect the ozone layer so that the planet and the life on it are able to survive.

Antarctica ICE Shelf:

In March of 2022, an unusual event occurred on the eastern side of Antartica; an ice shelf completely disintegrated in the span of two weeks. Events like this can greatly contribute to rising sea levels and cause loss of land. These ice shelves act as a safety net for the continent, so if they continue to disintegrate, then this can cause more and more sheets of ice to melt and flow into the ocean. The melting of ice sheets and ice shelves brings up the question of how long we have until it becomes a problem we cannot ignore. This was not as pressing of an issue until it occurred on the East side of Antarctica. This was a more stable part of the continent, and because the shelf collapse occurred here, experts are worried that rising sea levels are a more imminent problem than expected.

Forest fires:

In the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of forest fires that have occurred throughout the world. On the western coast of the US, states like California and Oregon have been catastrophically impacted by these raging fires which have destroyed entire towns, and hundreds of acres of land. The issue is that it is only increasing in frequency, as the lack of moisture in the air has fueled the occurrence of these events. Fossil fuels, the release of emissions, and several other issues have made these a prevalent threat to the environment. The increase in forest fires has been seen throughout the world, with some of the countries being hit the hardest being Turkey and Chile. It is essential that we come together to try and reduce our role in accelerating climate change.

How to help fight climate change:

There are lots of ways that individual people can help combat climate change; from turning off lights in rooms when they’re not in use, not leaving the water running, and recycling whenever possible, small steps each person takes can add up to do a lot of good in the world. Due to the nature of the society we live in, it is not easy to completely eliminate your carbon footprint, but small changes such as walking instead of driving when possible, using public transportation, avoiding plastic bag usage, and getting more reusable items can help lower your carbon footprint and potentially aid in reducing the impact of climate change later on.

The time to act has come; we are in the middle of a climate emergency and it seems like the path humanity is going down is only going to do more harm than good. By taking action and actively trying to fight climate change, we help ourselves and the planet. We only have one Earth so we have to protect it.

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Nandini Kritam

U Mass Amherst '25

Nandini is a junior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, who loves writing, listening to music, photography, and drawing. She loves finding niche topics and writing about the world and her experiences!