It’s getting too hot in here


By Emma Goodwin

Climate change is an issue everyone in the world knows about. Even if people don’t make a conscious effort to combat global warming, most people at least know that it’s some sort of problem.

Publicizing this problem, the fictitious HBO show “The Newsroom” recently made substantiated claims about climate change that essentially pointed to the apocalypse. One character representing the Environmental Protection Agency said, “A person has already been born who will die due to the catastrophic failure of the planet.” While watching, I thought, “Wow, that sucks for their fake world,” believing it to be a work of fiction.  

By following the news, I know climate change is getting worse every day, but I didn’t think things were that bad.

Maybe I was expecting a thirty-day warning from a group of scientists saying, “If you don’t stop being careless with the environment within the next month, we’re all going to die.”

That would have been nice.

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Even though “The Newsroom” dramatized the findings for television purposes, their claims are true and the planet and its inhabitants are in danger.

My goal has always been to leave this world better than I found it for my future family. But now we face a harsh reality: We might not leave a world for the next generation at all.

I believe that climate change is the number one danger to face this world at the moment.

This is also the opinion of Greenpeace, Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, The White House, EcoWatch, Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon — to name a few.

If you’re wondering why this is our opinion, or why we think global warming needs to be approached with reinvigorated immediacy, you should know all of the immediate effects global warming is already having on our lives.

The planet’s human-caused increase in temperature and CO2 levels causes all of the changes listed below.

Climate change is also believed to have influenced 400,000 deaths annually, as of 2012. Scientists and doctors also estimate up to “7 million people may face premature death as a result” of air pollution.

“If the world warms by just [3.6°F]…which may be reached in 20 to 30 years — we could see widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense storms,” reported The World Bank.  

Tropical regions that provide us with large amounts of food could be effected in the next ten years, decreasing crop yield.

With rising sea levels, U.S. cities face the risk of flooding. If this happens, 90 percent of New Orleans’ homes could be submerged and 300,000 residents would be forced to evacuate as early as 2030. There are seven other cities facing this same risk.

Global warming is also destroying species, increasing the risks and repercussions of natural disasters and increasing heat-related illnesses and disease.

But all those things are still not enough for some people to see global warming as a risk.

Our choices now are causing all of the things listed above — things that will happen in our lifetimes. If we don’t try to stop this, we’re knowingly putting ourselves at a great risk and further contributing to the destruction of this planet.

It’s frustrating that climate change is such a prevalent issue that everyone knows about, but only 36 percent of people think it’s a serious issue.

If it were taken as a serious threat to humanity, the amount of CO2 in the air would be decreasing, not increasing. Same with yearly average temperatures. There also wouldn’t be almost twenty members of congress, including the Speaker of the House, who are adamantly against making pushes toward environmentally-friendly bills.

Climate change has turned into a political debate between parties instead of a danger almost universally agreed upon by scientists.

Speaker of the House John Boehner has recently said that the US-China environmental deal is “hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families.”

There’s no point in trying to save American jobs when climate change is threatening American lives. We have to be alive and healthy if we want to be around to work.

But all of my pent up anger isn’t going to do anything to fix the issue that is plaguing every species on the planet and the planet itself. It’s time to start making a change by banding together and making a conscious effort to start improving the environment.

We need to remove politics from the environmental conversation and give up on the common, blatant ignorance that global warming won’t have an impact on us until the far future.

Some of the effects of global warming might be 15 years down the line, but the choices we make now determine the near future.

These are our lives and this is our planet. Unless we want to destroy it, we have to take action now.

Emma is a sophomore in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected].