Editorial: Facing an environmental crisis

Climate change is negatively impacting the planet


Anna Velazquez

"We have 12 years to save the planet. We must end global warming before it ends us."

An increase in wildfires.

The rapid melting of ice caps. 

The endangerment and extinction of animals.

The continuous rising of sea levels.

A vast amount of change can happen throughout the span of a couple years, but the most drastic change taking place is in the fate of our environment. The environment is finally facing the consequences of our actions whether they be daily activities like driving cars to work or trivial tasks, like recycling a plastic water bottle, that could make all the difference. 

Climate change is often associated with global warming; the two are interconnected. Global warming falls into the category of climate change, although it only focuses on earth’s surface temperature. Climate change is the main theme, with rising surface temperatures, melting glaciers, frequent droughts, heavier rainstorms and intense heat waves as only a handful of its upsetting effects.

It’s a progressive issue that has been on the rise for decades. With the increase in warfare, technology and population, the global carbon dioxide emissions from human activity have increased by 400 percent since 1950. With CO2 levels at a record high, the air quality is declining and oxygen is displaced by greenhouse gasses. This causes more difficulty breathing and can even lead to respiratory issues, such as wheezing, asthma and infections.

This issue is not a political debate but a scientific fact. It has affected every part of the world and will continue its impact as the years pass. Not enough people pay attention to the negative effects climate change has on our planet. With a copious amount of people still not believing in the continuously proven fact that the climate is changing and we are to blame, arguments that have begun all around the world. 

An obvious cause of the changing climate and decrease in overall environmental health is human activity. It is predicted that 95 percent of human activity is what has caused the rising temperatures of the planet throughout the last 50 years. A number of scientists believe 100 percent of global warming is due to humans.

The last decade is currently being recorded as one of the warmest in history. Several parts of the world have experienced a dramatic increase in temperature such as parts of South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. On the contrary, parts of North America experienced temperatures colder than usual. The negative effects of climate change will only become more prominent as the years go on.

These effects are no longer predictions scientists have had; they are reality. It has already had visible effects on our environment, such as persistent droughts, intense heat waves and the rising of sea levels and heat waves. The frightening aspect is that global temperature will only continue to rise as the decades come.

It’s time to speak out, take action and become involved in the cause. Climate activists like 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year, 17-year-old Xiye Bastida and 16-year-old Isra Hirsi have travelled around the world speaking on the issue, talking to politicians as well as leading protests and strikes. The younger generation has become the face of this fight, but adults make up the majority of the votes, meaning they are equally as responsible for taking action.

If we don’t change the way we are living, in the next 10 years the earth’s temperature will rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which would lead to the world’s ecosystems collapsing. This would lead to permanent reduction in carrying capacity for all organisms, resulting in mass extinction. Humans are as responsible for the destruction as they are for recuperating the environment.

We have 12 years to save the planet. We must end global warming before it ends us.