By: Emma Kolick.
Climate change has affected the environment in frightening ways, threatening the way billions of people live on a day-to-day basis. Places such as Cleveland, Ohio, have experienced an increase in temperature, with many experts expecting the temperature to continue to rise. This leads to frequent flooding and the ice covering the Great Lakes, such as Lake Erie, to melt sooner than it should. The heat relentlessly harms numerous ecosystems, causing hundreds of species to become endangered as global warming progresses. As the consequences of the increasing temperatures become more clear, many people in Cleveland, and around the world, are questioning why the environment continues to deteriorate.
Global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, that release greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The releasing of these greenhouse gases has caused the planet’s average temperature to rise almost two degrees in the past century. Along with the rise in temperature, global warming has been the cause of heavier rainfall, frequent droughts, hotter heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. While 97% of climate scientists believe that global warming is progressing due to man-made greenhouse emissions, numerous politicians see global warming as a made up theory. It is shameful for a vast number of politicians to disregard what countless experts have proven regarding the changing of our climate.
Global warming has become an ongoing controversy amongst world leaders and representatives in D.C. Democrats frequently see it as a serious issue, urging citizens to address the issue of climate change and take action to prevent the planet’s average surface temperature from rising more than it already has. Republicans tend to skeptically view global warming, and President Trump has gone so far as to call it a “hoax” invented by the Chinese to hurt America’s economy. While Republicans continue to blatantly ignore global warming, it still destroys much of the environment, leading to the ongoing destruction of countless habitats.
Many people believe humans as a whole have brought upon global warming. While it is man-made, just over 90 companies are responsible for nearly 70% of the production of greenhouse gases. It is difficult to comprehend that these corporations and the government could allow this to continue happening, especially when they have become increasingly aware of how dangerous these gases are regarding climate change.
Along with the rise in temperature, the production of greenhouse gases has affected the world in numerous other ways as well. Seawater is expanding as the heat persists and the Earth’s ice is beginning to melt, causing the global sea level to rise as much as eight inches in the past century. Scientists have also predicted the sea level to increase another one to four feet in the next eighty years. This would lead to devastating erosion, wetland flooding and loss of habitat for a variety of birds, fish, animals and plants. It seems as though President Trump and other representatives do not understand the urgency of this.
While the average temperature is relentlessly increasing and natural disasters such as forest fires seem to be occurring weekly, the President continues to falsely place blame on various other factors for climate change. On November 10th, Trump tweeted in reference to the wildfires in Southern California, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” Unless the President starts realizing how climate change is the driving force for tragedies like this, global warming will only persist as time goes on.
“It’s unsettling that the U.S. seems to be unconcerned with this. I’m scared for the future of the environment because of how much the temperature has changed in such a short time,” freshman Ava Koll said. “I feel like, within the next twenty years, I won’t be able to focus on my future because I won’t have a future to look forward to.” It is appalling how much the very thought of global warming can affect young teenagers mentally, while the President remains unconcerned, disregarding what countless scientists have said about climate change.
Though it feels as if global warming is out of our hands, there are numerous ways to help prevent this from becoming irreversible. America is a democracy, meaning we choose the people who make important choices for us regarding issues such as climate change. Voting for politicians who seem as if they want to make a difference in the way this is being handled, such as Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton, who both feel strongly about climate change, is one of the greatest ways to make a difference. While not everyone can vote due to their age, speaking out and listening to what other people have to say can make a significant impact.
If global warming continues at the rate it’s going, spending days at Lake Erie in the summer and walking through the snow-covered Metroparks in the winter may not be an option anymore. Instead of representatives in D.C. and President Trump blatantly ignoring what greenhouse gases are doing to the climate, the government should be focused on limiting the amount of carbon dioxide that is being produced into the atmosphere in order to preserve the Earth and everything in it.
**The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various column authors on this Website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Royal News Staff or North Royalton High School.
Emma Kolick is currently a freshman at North Royalton High School. She is involved in numerous clubs such as student council, Key Club, Spanish Club, Fish Club, and STAND. She is also a member of the girls track team. Outside of school she enjoys yoga, spending time with her friends, reading and writing. After high school, she plans to attend college and possibly pursue a career in education and journalism.