Our Climate-Changing World

Our Climate-Changing World

It may be gone before we know it.

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I have always been in love with nature. I love sitting outside at my grandma's house and watching the sun set behind the tall cornstalks. I love hiking in the woods and exploring all of the trees, flowers, plants, and animals God created. I love going to the beach and lying in the warm sand and touching the salty sea with my toes. I love sitting outside reading and soaking up the sun all day, even though it feels like a few seconds.

The sad thing about it though is that all of these things I love to do may turn into things I loved to do.

Our world is at a tipping point. Either we do something now, or we, along with all of the organisms that call Earth home, will pay the consequences. Climate change is a real thing, a real issue we are dealing with every single day of our lives, yet most people don't even consider climate change as a real concept.

We are experiencing changes that are unprecedented and will make lasting impacts on us. The oceans are expected to rise between one to four feet within the next 100 years. This number might not sound like that big of a deal, but the last time something like this happened was 40 million years ago.

While the day to day temperature may not be as warm or hot like some people think of as the main factor of climate change, the planet's surface temperature is rapidly increasing. Since the 1800s, the temperature has increased by 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit. This number, again, doesn't sound like it will do much damage, but this amount of increase will be enough to melt the ice caps, make the ocean levels rise, and produce storms that are unrivaled.

Diseases are starting to become more rampant and widespread, making the latest anti-vax campaign even more alarming. The measles, an extremely rare disease that typically only affects 1,000 people a year, prompted a county in New York to declare a state of emergency because so many people were being diagnosed with the disease.

There are many simple things we can do to help slow and prevent future climate change. We can walk or bike somewhere instead of driving. We can take shorter showers and turn the water off when we are brushing our teeth. We can reduce our usage of our electronics. We can be more conscious about what we are eating, maybe choosing a salad once in a while over a hamburger. We can recycle and use less plastic. The things we can do are quite simple, but they are very necessary if we want to protect our planet.

This article isn't meant to scare you; it's to inform you. Climate change seems like a scary thing, and it is, but it doesn't have to be. The more we do to protect our planet, the more improvement we will see. Our world is changing quickly, but the sooner we can understand this, the more we will be able to do to slow, and possibly reverse it.

Go outside and fall in love with nature. Fall in love with lying outside reading a book. Fall in love with hiking in the woods. Fall in love with exploring all of the beautiful animals, flowers, trees, and plants God created.

The more we go outside and explore our world, the more we will want to save it.

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Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?

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When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

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Vinicius Amano

@viniciusamano

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This Company Is Cleaning The Planet Pound By Pound

There are tons of small steps that can be taken to decrease your impact on the planet.

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Recently, a movement to abandon plastic straws has taken the world by storm, it seems.

This comes as a response to the environmental problems raised by plastic items, such as straws, specifically pertaining to sea turtles.

Any step in the right direction is still productive and beneficial, and making a minor change such as this one can still contribute to a great ultimate result.

Some, however, are taking bigger steps and greater initiative to make changes that are directly visible.

4ocean, a company selling bracelets made from recycled materials, is making waves in the ocean cleanup crisis. Founded by Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulz, 4ocean's $20 bracelets fund the removal of one pound of trash from oceans and coastlines for each purchase made. An incredible 4,525,472 pounds of trash have been removed by 4ocean in under two years.

The bracelets come in varying colors, with varying backstories. The company takes on partnerships in order to make contributions to other ocean cleanup, marine life conservation, and environmental movements and funds.

4ocean could be a major player in maintaining our oceans and making the planet beautiful, and safe, again for all living beings. $20 may seem steep for one bracelet, but when you consider all of the good that will come just from that one purchase alone, it is absolutely worth it.

On a smaller scale, minor lifestyle changes can still make a difference, such as stopping the use of plastic straws and other items. We all have to start somewhere in this journey, and all that matters is that you start. Anything that benefits our planet and environment in any way is still a contribution, no matter how small.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Stop running water while brushing your teeth, and only turn the tap back on when needed. Wash laundry in cold water, and clean your dryer's lint regularly to make items dry faster. Take shorter showers.

Meatless Mondays, or any day of the week, are another great way to cut down on your negative impact on the world, and this is something I am specifically a big advocate of as a vegetarian. There is really no excuse to continue contributing to an industry that is so immensely harmful. Love burgers? The Impossible Burger is frighteningly realistic, and completely plant-based. Boca offers veggie burgers and"chik'n" patties, which will make you forget you aren't eating actual chicken. Even aside from these two options, there are tons of other products out there that will make the switch easy. If going full vegetarian or vegan is too much too fast, simply cut down on the amount of animal products you are consuming.

Or, if contributing to funds, charities, and businesses that are pushing for a healthier planet is more your speed right now, take that initiative. Make purchases from 4ocean, and other companies like it. If enough of us get on board, spread the word, and follow through, you never know what kind of beautiful results we might see.

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