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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

News media platforms keep saying climate change is serious and that if we don’t act on it now its effects will be irreversible. But, many of us may not know exactly what to do to help or are still not fully aware of what is causing climate change.

So What is Climate Change?

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts can be naturally caused through variations in the solar cycle, but since the 1800’s, humans and our activities have been the main driver of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels has especially contributed to climate change. 

What are Fossil Fuels?

Fossil Fuels include coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are formed from the fossilized buried remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Due to their high carbon content, burning generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth that traps the sun’s heat and raises temperatures. Carbon dioxide and methane are also greenhouse gas emissions that come from gasoline and coal.

For more than a century, burning fossil fuels has generated most of the energy required to propel our cars, power our businesses, and keep the lights on in our homes. But unfortunately, we are paying the price for it. Using fossil fuels for energy has negatively affected humanity and the environment. We can see this through air and water pollution and global warming—and these aren’t even all of the effects.

What is Being Done?

So if fossil fuels are so bad for the environment why aren’t more people talking about it? Actually, there are many protests currently happening against fossil fuels that don’t receive the media coverage they deserve. In fact, over 1,000 scientists from 25 different countries have staged protests after the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report, which urged that rapid cuts in greenhouse gasses must happen by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects. These scientists call themselves the Scientist Rebellion and are saying that current actions and plans are inadequate.

In Los Angeles, Peter Kalmus, a NASA climate scientist, and many other scientists chained themselves to the JP Morgan Chase building. Out of all the banks in the world, Chase funds the most new fossil fuel projects. Kalmus, along with many others, was arrested that day.

What You Can Do?

Clearly, seeing scientists who have been studying this field for years protest and plead that change needs to happen now isn’t enough to convince politicians and higher-ups. So, we should also do our best to cut back on energy, attend protests, and assist advocate groups. Here are a few examples of how you can help the fight against climate change:

  • Turn off lights, computers, televisions, video games, and other electrical equipment when you’re not using them.
  • Buy equipment that uses less electricity, including lights, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, and washing machines. 
  • Limit the use of air conditioning.
  • Carpool.
  • Use your voice to contact local government officials and speak up for environment-friendly legislation.
  • Eat less meat and dairy—consider trying meatless Mondays!
  • Cut back on flying.
  • Use eco-friendly transportation such as bikes, electric scooters, and skateboards.
  • Opt out of investment funds that include fossil fuel companies.
  • Avoid single-use items and fast fashion.
  • Stay up to date on climate protests near you.

Check out this link from the US Environmental Protection Agency for more ways you can help protect the planet.

Alejandra is a fourth year global studies major with a minor in professional writing. She was born in LA and has moved around a lot eventually ending up studying in sunny Santa Barbara. Her hobbies include writing, drawing, and fashion. She also dreams of owning her own clothing line/business.