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Climate Change Is Real. And It’s Here.

Many of the things we consider entertaining or alluring today derive from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. We are living in a time where people have found their attention diverted to insignificant matters like the latest celebrity gossip or the most recent updates on social media rather than crucial information and revelations like events occurring on a local, national and global scale. Although broadcast news offers a glimpse into our current social as well as our political status, it offers little information on the current conditions of our ecological, environmental and general global health.

Climate change refers to the rise in warm temperature on the Earth’s surface. Much of human activity, like the daily use of cars, as well as our current fossil fuel industries and power plants, have caused a shift in the temperature that has led to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being trapped onto the Earth’s atmosphere. These gases cause our rising global temperature to slowly deteriorate the planet. Although the prominent shift in our climate has become a pending topic for decades now, affirmative action and overall attention to the fatal circumstances of our warming temperatures and rise in greenhouse gas emissions, has been close to minimal. It is just now that drastic events like the polar vortex in Chicago, the wildfires in Southern California and the unanticipated snowfall in the Los Angeles area have caused people to start taking into consideration the drastic changes our climate is currently experiencing.

Although most individuals claim to be aware of climate change and its imminent disaster, many lack genuine knowledge on the topic and interest to learn more about it. In order to fully engage in conversation regarding potential solutions to climate change, we must educate ourselves in order to truly comprehend its significance in order to take both individual and collective action to improve the health of the planet and provide a safe and prosperous environment for future generations.

Image via Pacific Standard

In the early 1900s, climate change commenced due to persistent growth in the amount of greenhouse gases stored within the Earth’s atmosphere. In a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists have concluded that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to net zero by the middle of this century in order to have a realistic and hopeful chance of reducing our global temperature to 1.5C. Although we have just begun to experience more severe forms of global changes, scientists warn that if emitters fail to bring all gas emissions to a halt before the temperature reaches 2C (preferably 1.5C) than the Earth will begin to experience severe and irreversible changes to its local and global environments. Additionally, it must be noted that the 2C global temperature cap derives from scientists’ best-case-scenario research and predictions based on our consumption of natural resources and burning of fossil fuels. Although conversation regarding affirmative action has become prominent, we must acknowledge the irreversible effects our planet currently faces in order to fully grasp the consequences that ensue when time is wasted trying to spark conversation on change rather than actually initiating it.

Image via Connect4Climate

Although most forms of extraction and greenhouse gas emissions derive from corporate action, significant changes must be initiated from an individual level. This means doing your part to eliminate or reduce greenhouse gases. Start by educating yourself and others on the topic and the severity of its circumstances. Eventually, you can begin to take personal action to maintain a different lifestyle that steers away from the production of greenhouse gases, like a potential pursuit of veganism or vegetarianism. Of course attaining a lifestyle without meat or dairy isn’t exactly a reality for many individuals, which is why other small initiatives like biking or eating more organic can be considered as well.

Proper acknowledgment and education on the past, present and future effects of climate change is the beginning of potential solutions. Individual affirmative action must be ensured before fighting the problem on a more national and global scale. If nothing is done to halt gas emissions before the global temperature reaches 2C, then you can certainly expect a major impact on the economies, agriculture, weather patterns, infrastructure and life overall.

Saira is currently a fourth-year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she is studying Sociology and pursuing a professional certificate in Journalism. Saira's ambition to work in the entertainment and journalism field after college is what originally sparked her interest in joining the Her Campus team.
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