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Culture > News

We Need to Change: Exploring the Planet’s Clear Signs

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

Let’s take a moment to explore how the government’s negligence and big corporations are responsible for the irreversible effects on our environment.

In recent and continually relevant news, we’ve seen how the planet is crying out to the people who inhabit this space. We need to be better so we can stop the rapid deterioration of the Earth. We’ve seen these warning signs with the immense fires that are raging through the Amazon. We’ve also seen the highest levels of CO2 in the atmosphere ever. We see it with incredible pollution in the oceans that are killing off and endangering wildlife, we see it in the rise in the ocean levels due to the melting of the Ice-Caps, we see it with the appearance of the biggest and deadliest storms we have ever seen in recorded history. All these issues and many more have made it apparent that we need to change, that our planet is suffering and getting worse with each passing day.

On Friday, September 20th, 2019 there was a global outcry to pressure world leaders to pay attention to the issue of Climate Change and Global Warming. There are various arguments that came from these protests against our current way of life: the dependency on fossil fuels, wasteful and unsustainable economic model, alarming rates of carbon emissions from big industries such as the meat, dairy and fast fashion industries, among others.

But even with all these signs, we still have politicians and people in power denying that Climate Change is real, that our consumerist, wasteful habits aren’t affecting anything in the slightest. It should be noted that many who deny it are doing so mainly because they were backed by big corporations who are the ones responsible for the pollution, the waste being produced at an alarming rate and of using materials that are harmful to our health and wellbeing (emissions of coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels). This makes them side exclusively with the corporate machine and not with the facts or the people they’re supposed to represent.

The denial of scientific facts is very common, this is seen almost exclusively in right-wing politicians and movements, like the Trump administration in the US, and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, for example. We also see the negligence of people in power when faced with possible damage to the environment that can be catastrophic, like with the possible dumping of radioactive water into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan and, also, with the expressions and plans that the Brazilian government under Bolsonaro have for the Amazon Rainforest.

As individuals, we can make an impact by making some changes in our day to day life. Some really great examples are ditching single-use plastic and replacing it with reusable and more sustainable options and investing in things that will lower the rate at which we produce trash and that can also save us money in the long run. Examples of this are carrying a reusable water bottle, reusable straws made from silicone, metal or glass, reusable coffee cup, reusable bags for groceries and shopping, refusing single-use plastic containers and bringing your own instead when you eat out, thrift shopping instead of buying fast fashion at big stores, using a toothbrush made from bamboo or recycled plastic, buying or making your own reusable cloth cotton rounds, etc. These are some of the many ways that you can lead a more sustainable and ecofriendly life and reduce your impact and carbon footprint on the planet. Is adopting a vegan diet or just a more plant-based diet.

It’s also important that we act at a more macro level. We must wake up to the facts and look beyond when it comes to our politicians. We must look closely at the people who “represent” us, look at the candidates, at their platforms, at what they can offer us, our communities, our countries, and the environment. We need to contact politicians and make our voices heard so they can make changes to better the lives of the people they’re supposed to represent. If that doesn’t work then we take it to the streets and make them hear us and see our discontent. Because we had often ignored that at this point in time we need people that care about the issues that affect us, climate change and the environment being the focus of this piece, but it also applies to other very important issues that affect our communities.

A 22-year old writer and Comparative Literature student with a Certification in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Passionate about poetry, storytelling, languages, translation, editing, art, pop culture, cinema, theater, and social justice. Writing has always been her passion and she wants to use her words to effect change, to contribute something meaningful; focusing on topics of social justice such as feminism and activism to shed light on vulnerable commmunities and amplify the voices of those who are often ignored.