Change for climate change

Spencer Batute and Katie Loughran

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California is burning, millions are choking in New Delhi, and coastal cities across the world are crumbling away to rising sea levels. The warning signs are here: climate change is upon us.

Earlier this week, 11,000 scientists around the world officially backed a BioScience study detailing global climate change over the past four decades and issued a state of climate emergency.

Nations and individuals have moral obligations to fight human-induced global warming and take back a future that is rapidly disappearing.

But, how can we address this problem? What can we do as individuals and as a society to combat this danger?

The issue of climate change includes everybody, across all groups and borders. The road to global health must be paved by everyone.

On the political scale, our governments can do much more to help combat pollution. First and foremost, carbon emissions should be managed by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and investing in technology to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Promoted in a study released this week, is the idea that wealthier nations should end subsidies to fossil fuel companies and help fund the industries of less developed nations.

A more extreme but potentially necessary solution surrounds the management of populations through birth rate limits. Strategies such as the one or two-child policy have been discussed and attempted in different parts of the world. Despite the widespread controversy and criticism that accompany these types of policies, we are left with fewer options to take when our government continually opts out of potential solutions like the Paris Climate Agreement. 

By opting out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the United States has established a global precedent of putting economic growth above the welfare of the planet’s citizens. We need to rejoin the Agreement and push for reciprocal international climate deals. 

Climate change is not a partisan issue — it is a challenge that affects the world’s population. It’s not an opinion, nor is it something to be taken lightly. There is no middle ground or centrist approach that can effectively combat the crisis we’re currently facing. 

As individuals, we must continue to use our voices to enact desperately needed change. We need to shift our focus on sustaining ecosystems and not GDP growth. Large companies and faceless corporate enterprises rely on us, the consumers, to keep themselves above water. We create the demands that they supply, not the other way around. By placing more emphasis on renewable sources of energy or more recyclable products, we can change the direction of many forms of mass production. 

We can also take steps to reduce our own carbon footprints by incorporating more plant-based meals into our diets or cutting down on meat consumption. This is not to say that everyone must cut out all animal products completely, but instead, adopt more vegan or vegetarian options from time to time. 

Though taking small steps within your own life may not feel as impactful, it’s absolutely crucial that we maintain this type of mentality. Productive social change can only occur if we work together with the same goal in mind.

 The climate crisis will not be solved by those who deny it or remain complacent. Act now before it’s too late.

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