The climate is undoubtedly changing. Years of scientific research, debate and discussion have all reached this conclusion. And with recent hurricanes hitting the US and Central America, understanding and combatting climate change is more important than ever.
You will have definitely heard the news of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the summer. Hurricane Harvey first landed in Texas as a Category Four storm, and then less than two weeks later Hurricane Irma left a trail of devastation through Florida and various islands in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria which hit only in the last couple of weeks. The tropical storm has resulted in mass flooding, damaged houses, electrical power failure and almost 70 reported deaths. Many of the places most affected, in particular Puerto Rico, don’t have the resources to efficiently protect themselves, causing widespread damage and billions of US dollars in damages. Surely these disasters are enough for us to take note, and question our own role in climate change?
Understanding and combatting climate change is more important than ever…
There are many different factors that affect the climate, though the greatest influence is certainly human activity. The increased use of fossil fuels in industry and the home have significantly raised the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere leading to the ‘greenhouse effect’. This principle is taught in many schools and is the effect widely agreed on by climate scientists to be the principle cause of our changing climate. Not only is this theory supported by leading scientists in the field, we can see the effects first hand in the increase in natural disasters, such as hurricanes previously mentioned.
However it isn’t just climate change which continues to affect our lives. The over-use of natural resources, wasting water and not recycling food packaging all leads to a planet that is slowly dying from the impact of human activity. The rate at which we are using resources and producing waste is unsustainable and at some point our attitudes and behaviours have to change.
The rate at which we are using resources and producing waste is unsustainable…
But what can we as students do about it? It is easy to feel helpless; huge countries such as the United States of America and China produce huge amounts of waste and carbon dioxide. Yet I believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and future generations to start making changes and minimise human impact on the environment. Although it seems ridiculous given recent global events, climate-change sceptics still exist, making it even more critical that we each do our bit to make a difference. After all, we are the generation that will be most affected by the consequences of climate change. We are the generation that will have to live in a world that is rapidly changing and deal with the results of our current society’s over-dependence on fossil fuels. Even though we are students, on small budgets and with few resources, we can make a difference. Together, small acts can lead to big changes. Through educating peers and the members of the local community, and small meaningful changes in your daily lives we can definitely help our planet – and it doesn’t have to be a hard work!