Opinion: U.S. needs to take climate change more seriously

Melting+glaciers+are+just+one+indicator+that+climate+change+is+happening.

Matteo Basilici, Imaggeo

Melting glaciers are just one indicator that climate change is happening.

Landon Pollack, Guest Writer

As climate change becomes more prevalent than ever before, the United States must take these issues seriously and switch to clean energy, before it is too late.

Within the past weeks of September alone, Americans have witnessed catastrophic disasters from wildfires to hurricanes all around the country. Eliza Mackintosh of CNN states, “All of these extreme weather events can be linked to global warming, caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from humans burning fossil fuels.”

The trapping of these greenhouse gases gives way to a crushing phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect; gas emissions acting as a blanket around the earth, absorbing and containing more and more of the sun’s heat in our atmosphere. According to scientists at nasa.gov, “A stronger greenhouse effect will warm the ocean and partially melt glaciers and ice sheets, increasing sea level. Ocean water also will expand if it warms, contributing further to sea level rise.”

Global warming, backed by scientific evidence, is an ever increasing threat to our environment and society, yet our current administration strongly disagrees, and this is a disagreement that needs to be addressed. Clifford Krauss from The New York Times states, “European leaders have made tackling climate change a top priority while President Trump has called it a ‘hoax’ and has dismantled environmental regulations to encourage the exploitation of fossil fuels.”

With greater gas emissions and administration in denial, dismantling environmental regulations, it is obvious America is moving in the wrong direction, which is also the opinion of environmental science teacher, Melissa Spigutz. She said, “Our administration doesn’t see it as real or as a threat, that is caused by humans – they might be trying to pull a stance where it doesn’t exist at all. There is the plan to pull out of the Paris climate accord, which is a global effort to reduce emissions, because it has an impact on everybody on the planet.”

Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord this fall is outrageous. Brady Dennis from the Washington Post states, “[It is] a move that will leave the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases as the only nation to abandon the global effort to combat climate change.”

Furthermore, Spigutz said, “What we’re seeing is [Trump] valuing the economy and profits over people and the environment. We rely upon the environment for survival so it needs to be intact and clean.”

High school senior Kathy Du and vice president of Mayfield’s Environmental club, shared her concern and provided some perspective on this topic. “ A large issue with the United States’ approach to climate change is that it focuses more so on the economy and businesses and their losses if more environmental regulations are put into place” she said.

While Americans act ignorant and believe that the effects of climate change are far down the road, Spigutz begs to differ. “I think we are seeing them now. In the United States our hurricane season has started earlier, storms are even more powerful, there’s more of them…the countries that aren’t as developed as us are already bearing the impact right now, and they are the ones who have the least to do with any of these emissions going into the atmosphere. I’m not sure what has to happen to get more people on board” she said.

Amid this devastation, what can we do as individuals to make a positive impact? Voting and raising awareness can play a major role in tackling climate change and taking steps in the right direction.

“The best step to take to combat climate change is to build a greater army of those who care about the environment and also vote for officials who try to help the environment. This is how we can slow down the effects of climate change. The more people that care, the more that will change for the better,” Du said.

Voting the right candidates into office definitely has a strong influence. Spigutz said, “If we could all have our personal impact, we really need to be voting and you know voting means for voting people into the office, but also spending money on things that are going to have a larger impact.”

The technology and brains to switch to renewable energy already exist. What is the big hold up? The United States must take action now to ensure a sustainable future, for if we don’t, our future and existence might be much more difficult.