Academic Blogs

Student Blog: Why we need to fight Global Warming

15 April 2019

I would like everyone to close your eyes and imagine where you see yourself in twenty years.  

Who are you with? What are you doing? What kind of surroundings are you in?

Thank you. Now open your eyes.

If you’re anything like me, you may-be found yourself picturing yourself with your future family. But I also think that most of you probably imagined yourselves having fun, enjoying being around outside like you used to do with your family when you were a kid. Playing and running in the parks, hiding under the big bushes, climbing tall trees, rolling down the hills in the green grass. It used to be so much fun and I’m pretty sure you want your future generations to enjoy those unforgettable moments as we did. I know I want that for my children, for their children and so on.

But that will not happen if we keep on living life like this.

I know you might think: what is she talking about? So let me explain myself. What I mean is that we should all be helping these things to happen or even make them better, instead of making the chances and possibilities smaller.

What do I mean with making the possibilities smaller? What I mean, is that our world is facing a very terrible problem – climate change and global warming.

What are climate change and global warming? Firstly some people think they are the same, which isn’t completely true. Global warming refers only to the Earth’s rising surface temperature, while on the other side climate change includes warming and the side effects of it — like melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more frequent droughts. In other words, global warming is one symptom of the much larger problem of climate change.

Of course, there are some people who deny that climate change and global warming are even happening.

For example, I’m sure most of you know who Donald Trump is. If not let me quickly introduce him to you. (Don’t worry — not in person!)

Donald Trump is a very powerful man. He is the president of the United States of America, unfortunately, he is one of the people in this world that claims that climate change and global warming aren’t occurring, a statement which has a dangerous influence on some American citizens.

Trump posted 115 tweets expressing climate change denial between November 2011 and October 2015.

He once said: ‘‘In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!’’

What Tump doesn’t realize, or pretends not to realize so that he can keep the deadly planet-heating fossil fuel (coal, oil and shale gas) industries in business, is that global warming leads to climate change — the world is heating up, but this leads to extreme weather conditions — hot and cold. The weather patterns that we know will change as the planet heats up. Natural disasters will become more common. You just need to take a look at the news to see that. Just this week twenty three people were killed in a tornado in Alabama —and it is not even tornado season. Thousands of people are dying in droughts. Cities and lives are destroyed by hurricanes.

These claims that climate change and global warming are just myths or made up things from scientists to get people’s attention are dangerous because they give people an excuse to continue living as normal. If we continue as though life is normal, our children are not going to get to enjoy the world that we do.

Climate change is not something scientists made up. There’s proof from a century of records that global warming is actually happening and will continue happening if we don't act now. Humans have been poisoning our atmosphere with carbon dioxide for centuries, and United Nations scientists say we are now on track for global heating that could threaten the survival of the human race. If we do not stop the global average temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius, then many species are going to be wiped out. So it is imperative that all of us work together to reduce our carbon footprint.

You might be wondering: what is a carbon footprint? Carbon footprint is the term used to describe the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of our individual activities. If you ride your bike everywhere, shop vintage clothing and go on camping holidays, you will have a low carbon footprint; if you take a taxi everywhere, shop fast fashion and go on long-distance airplane flights, you will have a high carbon footprint. I will talk more about how each of us can reduce our carbon foot print later on.

So what evidence is there that our planet is becoming dangerously hot?

One example that we have all experienced in just the last few weeks, is that winters are changing in a big way. We have all been skiing in slushy Spring snow — and in February. And it’s not just here in Switzerland; in both Northern Hemisphere countries, like Canada and the US, and in Southern Hemisphere countries like Argentina, winters are getting shorter and warmer, with ski seasons starting later and finishing earlier. We are losing around 30 days minimum from the number we used to have. I mean, Christmas used to be white — nowadays it getting less white each time.

As a result of warmer, shorter winters, another huge problem we face is that glaciers are melting. This is extremely dangerous for the survival of humans because glaciers provide drinking water to millions of people around the planet. If the glaciers all melt, not only will this lead to destructive sea rise, but enormous drinking water shortages. Water is our most important human resource. Do we really want it to start disappearing?

Moreover, rising sea levels and drought caused by the planet heating up may also lead to climate refugees — people who are forced to leave their homes because of climate change. The homes of countless innocent people are going to be lost and destroyed, leaving them with no home, which forces them to migrate to places that may already be over-populated, and in turn, leading to conflict. The US military is already putting preparations in place to prepare for global conflicts as a result of climate change.

As you can see, when it comes to global warming, there are many problems that will happen as a result. So we need to act. Immediately.

I know you may be thinking: what can someone like me do? —I’m not the executive of a fossil fuel company or the president of a country.  And it is true that these are the people with the most power. But that does not mean that we have no power. If each individual acts, then that has the power to become millions of people acting. Now imagine all those millions of people working together to cause and inspire change — that would definitely make a change, and a huge one.

So what can we do?

There are so many ways — little or big — in which each of us can help save our beautiful planet by reducing our carbon footprint.

First of all, one of the largest contributors to carbon AND methane emissions is the meat and dairy industry. If you try to reduce how much meat and dairy you eat, that will make a difference. If you decide to become vegetarian, that will make even more difference. If you decide to go vegan, which more and more people are doing, that will make a big difference.

Another way that we can help reduce carbon emissions that doesn’t involve major personal change is by shopping locally made products. So if you are buying milk, buy it from a local dairy. It might be a bit more expensive, but it it means that it isn’t contributing to carbon in the atmosphere by being shipped a long distance.

Obviously, every time we travel by car, we are spewing deadly gases into the air. If you have ever stood in the garage while the car’s engine is running, you will have felt that heat and felt how hard it is to breathe. We don’t want that to be our planet. However, there are ways to fix this. Carpool. Ride a bike. Take the bus. Suggest to your parents that they buy an electric or hybrid car. And while we’re at it, think about whether it is possible to even fly a little bit less.

I know we all love shopping — I know I do. But did you know that the fashion industry is one of the worst contributors to climate change? The emissions of the factories that make the clothes; the emissions of the transportation of the clothes to the shops; the emissions created by the shoppers themselves. So to help what we can do is support the most sustainable brands, shop locally made products, or even shop less!

In our day-to-day life here at Surval, there are small changes we can make to save energy. Turn off lights. Turn down the heating. Remember to unplug your charger once your phone is charged.

And finally, think about how we can use our voices, perhaps the greatest power we have to create change. Most of us aren’t yet old enough to vote, but we will be soon and our parents already are. Let’s make sure that we are voting for the politicians that believe in climate change and are trying to change political policy to protect our planet.

And there are so many more things that we can do to reduce our carbon footprint — all we have to do is google it!  

The point is that we can all help. Even if it’s something really small, we are still making a difference. Even better though, is if we can try to be part of a big change. Look at Greta Thunberg. She is the sixteen year old Swedish girl who, last Autumn, started going on strike from school every Friday to protest about climate change. Her point was: what is the point of getting an education if politicians aren’t listening to what 97% of the world’s scientists are warning us about global warming? At first, it was just her all by herself outside the Swedish parliament with her Climate Strike sign. Now, millions of teenagers around the globe are striking regularly on Fridays to protest against climate change. Greta Thunberg is one person who inspired all that action.

Every big change starts with a small action made by someone; why not be the someone that makes the next important change?

Thank you!

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