Fighting Climate Change from Medford, NJ

Aidan Khelil, Writer

There is a growing consensus among most human beings that the health of the earth is a rather important part of daily life. This is unsurprising, given humans have yet to discover another planet like Earth. However, our sudden appreciation for the earth comes as a result of humanity’s growing concern towards its future. Currently, the planet is warming globally at a rate unprecedented in natural history, and humanity is scrambling to put a stop to it.

Climate change brings with it a variety of consequences, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. These can be things such as rising sea levels, more frequent and intense droughts, floods, storms, heat waves, and warming seas. These events are not only disastrous for people around the globe, the animals and environment suffer as well. Climate change can cause the extinction of entire species, and it is becoming clear that humans themselves are not immune to being wiped from the Earth.

Much of the concern about the future of the planet has been exacerbated by the recent appointment of Scott Pruitt to the position of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, who was Nominated by President Donald Trump for his position, claimed on live television that he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global temperature increases, contradicting the confirmed findings of many esteemed environmental scientists.

On top of Pruitt’s controversy, many people are looking back to 2012 when Donald Trump claimed through his Twitter account that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” At the time of his tweet, many did not think much of his opinion, but now that he has the power to allocate national resources to and from climate science and research, the country has begun to regard him and his constituents critically.

While Trump’s outright denial of planetary warming is rare, Pruitt’s belief is not an uncommon phenomenon. Most if not all scientists agree that Earth is warming rapidly, but many believe that this warming is part of Earth’s natural cycle of heating and cooling.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of scientists agree that humans are causing the rapid climate change we see today. In 2013, a study in Environmental Research Letters reviewed 11,944 independent papers having to do with global warming or climate change. Out of these, 4,014 papers actually discussed the cause of recent global climate change. 97.1% of the 4,014 papers reviewed supported the consensus that the many fossil fuels pumped into the atmosphere by humans are causing global warming.

That is, objectively, an overwhelming majority of scientists that agree that human-caused climate change is a problem we are facing. Knowing this, what can people do to halt or slow the march towards possible destruction?

Students can do many small things to cut back on the amount of fossil fuels. From simply carpooling with friends to writing a letter to your local congressperson to voice your discontent with how the government is handling this worrying trend of rising global temperatures, there are an endless number of ways in which students can become involved in fighting climate change. In the past, Shawnee High School has run an Environmental Club aimed at educating the community on the link between human activity and the environment. Whether you are looking to create massive change by yourself or just seeking to volunteer in a local protest or movement, anyone and everyone can play a part in ending climate change.