Climate change will have irreversible impacts on future generations

Helena Savage

By Helena Savage

At this point, climate change is irreversible, and we now need to heed this devastating environmental plunge in attempts to lessen impending impacts. With the global temperature expected to rise a stunning 1.5 degrees celsius by 2030 (when we will be in our 30’s), it will reach “the crucial threshold” for Earth before we feel the dangerous effects of extreme weather conditions, according to CNN writers Brandon Miller and Jay Croft.

A common pattern we fall into is blaming past generations for our current climate change issues.  While this is a valid point, it is also not accomplishing anything. In order to stop the temperature from rising even more, “global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45 percent,” according to CNN, meaning that our use of fossil fuels will need to be severely restricted. Coal production and other factory uses also will need to decrease significantly, much more than even dictated by the Paris Climate Accord.

Therefore, action is needed from higher figures of authority in the U.S., as well as the people of our nation; however, the Trump administration continues to take the economic side of environmental issues. According to a CNN news article written Oct. 15, “President Donald Trump has said he doesn’t believe that climate change is a hoax,” but in an interview he stated “it’ll change back again.” This is exactly what the country does not need during this environmental crisis. Trump has not only voiced his opinion on climate change, but he has also made this opinion evident by destroying many environmental protections, and by promoting increased use of coal, the No. 1 fossil fuel harming the ozone layer.

To further show the Trump administration’s impact, National Geographic writers Michael Greshko, Laura Parker, Brian Clark Howard, and Daniel Stone created a list of their anti-environmental change. Significantly, on Oct. 24, the “first oil and gas production wells” were approved, which will now allow offshore drilling in the arctic, specifically, “from an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea.” The creation of a man-made island is another issue in itself because it further depletes the natural landscape of the Arctic. Since the Arctic is already in serious danger, in my opinion, this might have been one of the most counterproductive actions that a presidential administration has ever allowed.

The drilling company Hilcorp expects to destructively take advantage of this new drilling area. According to this National Geographic source, “Hilcorp says it hopes to extract 60,000 to 70,000 barrels per day from up to 16 wells on the island, for a total haul of 80 million to 130 million barrels over 15 to 20 years.” To make matters even worse this oil will be transported by an “underwater pipeline,” stated within the source. I believe that pipelines are detrimental to Earth’s foundation, and they disrupt many habitats which will continue to harm Earth. They transport oil in an anti-environmental way which could create potential risks for oil spills in the Arctic if this pipeline were to malfunction. I do not understand the notion to further destroy an already endangered habitat, that is suffering from the threats of mankind as it is.

Although the Trump administration has recently signed a bill to clean up the plastic makeup of our oceans, and reaffirmed the ban on mining around Yellowstone park, there is still that issue of coal emissions across the nation. The Trump Administration also took the USA out of the Paris Accord which goes against the movement to fix climate change. Therefore, I believe these small actions are a ploy in attempting to artificially profess his concern for an issue, he deemed fake up until this point.

Climate change is a very serious issue, and the sooner people recognize its relevance we can begin to prolong its effects. With the recent outbreak of scientific claims regarding climate change, people have begun to take interest, as one would hope. For example, on Oct. 25, in an article by Dan Charles for NPR, he writes about “five foods, and food-growing places, that will see the impact” severly of climate change.

Wheat, coffee, almonds, corn, and peaches are among the crops mentioned in the article. It is estimated that “wheat, the source of bread and a foundation of life in much of the world, will suffer from hotter temperatures,” according to Charles. In addition to wheat and peaches are expected to take a huge hit in production. Peaches need to be able to bloom after chilling during the winter months, and they cannot bloom if the winter temperatures do not last long enough. According to Charles, “The peach trees currently grown in California’s Central Valley require about 700 “chilling hours” during the winter;” therefore, life might not be too peachy if we don’t switch the climate controls of Earth.

Rising temperatures are a similar trend seen that will affect the growth of corn, almonds, and coffee as well. This should bring serious concern to our current generations, as they have evolved into major coffee addicts. According to Reuters (source below), in a study conducted previously this year “sixty-four percent of Americans age 18 or over said they had a cup of coffee the previous day in 2018.” After seeing these results, coffee drinkers around the nation might seriously want to take note of climate change.

Alongside these endangered crops, the polar ice caps are slowly disappearing, and “seasonal ice now grows to a depth of about six feet (two meters) in winter, and most of it melts in summer,” according to a NASA report. NASA has stressed the melting and thinning icecaps importance due to its drastic impact on the whole world, specifically, regarding rising sea levels. (The short video found at the bottom of this article goes into detail about NASA’s claims). The thinning of polar ice is awful since they are home to multitudinous species and have been a fascinating part of the planet for centuries. With the thinning of polar ice caps comes the disappearance of an entire arctic civilization built around the necessity for cool temperatures.

According to the city of Virginia Beach regarding a rise in sea levels, “the VIMS report recommended a planning scenario of 1.5 feet for the region over the next 20 to 50 years, but notes that 3 feet is possible in the 50-year horizon.” Noted in the same source is that “sea level has increased by almost 1 foot since the 1960s.”. This is our city and our current home that could be at risk of going underwater in the near future. I hope that the people of our city can summon the courage and desire to fight climate change. Climate change is real and very serious. It cannot just be talked about, we need to take action as a country, and globally unite before it really is too late.

As established countless times within this editorial, climate change cannot be stopped. It is the silent wave of disaster that has just erupted a widespread panic across the world. However, it has always been occurring, people have just lived their lives for so many years, indifferent to the fact that Earth can only suffer so much pollution, trash, and destruction from humanity.

Yes, humans are not the only cause of climate change, that is certain, but we are the most harmful and damaging cause. Every day we leave massive carbon footprints that simply cannot be undone. If we do not change our ways of life now, the dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World might not have been the most fictional portrayal of Earth’s future, and we may find ourselves in an inhabitable planet in less than 30 years.

Video about thinning polar ice caps:

Sources utilized within this editorial: Feel free to visit any of these sources for some interesting information regarding climate change.