Why Climate Change is No Joke

Why Climate Change is No Joke

It's real and it's happening quickly...

Whenever I hear someone say, "I don't believe in climate change" I want to roll my eyes so far back in my head that I'll never see them again. Maybe this is dramatic, but it literally pains me inside to think that people are so convinced by politicians who are extremely unqualified to talk about climate change. I took a class about climate change, which probably makes me more qualified than Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice for head of the EPA, to talk about it. Seeing all the ways we are ruining our climate is scaring me- I mean just a week ago it was 60 degrees in February.

I don't know everything about climate change. I'm only a freshman in college and I'm almost certainly not a science major. However, what I do know is extremely frightening.

1. We are increasing our greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide

We are releasing fossil fuels in all kinds of ways- the biggest being cars, busses, factories, and non-renewable electricity. This is creating a growth of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as well as deforestation.

2. Global temperatures are rising

While increasing these heat-trapping greenhouse gasses, our planet is trapping more of the heat entering its atmosphere instead of sending it back into space. This is warming our planet significantly. We may not notice it everyday, but the warm weather in February, the earlier onset of warm weather, and the higher frequency of warmer days is attributed to this increased global temperature.

3. Ice is melting

With the rise in temperature, especially at higher latitudes, more of the ice on our planet is melting. This is where that picture of the polar bear on the small piece of sea ice comes from. As we're melting more sea ice and ice sheets (Greenland and Antartica) we are not only destroying the habitat for arctic animals, but we are making so that that ice can no longer reflect as much sunlight, warming the Earth even more.

4. Sea level is rising

As a result of sea ice and ice sheets melting, the sea level is rising around the world. Certain areas are experiencing more sea level rise than others, like Washington D.C. If we keep up the rate of warming we have now, one day people located inland will have beachfront homes.

5. Oceans are warming

While our planet warms, as does our ocean as the ocean has an extremely high capacity to store heat. This sounds good- that the ocean is taking up heat that would otherwise be in our atmosphere, but in reality because of this, we are seeing coral bleaching. Remember that whole story about the coral reef dying? Yup, that is happening- coral hold in algae which gives them their color, and as water warms, they can no longer hold this algae, so they expel it and loose their color in exchange.

These are not the only things happening with climate change, there are a myriad of other things that are happening with climate change, including species migration and increased intensity of storms.

I can't understand how people don't understand climate change is real- we see all these things happening around us that are directly caused by our emissions of greenhouse gasses. Sometimes I think it's too late to actually do anything about it- the effect of the carbon we have released will last for years to come, but there are so many things we can take that will help our planet out a little more. The first thing to do though is acknowledge that climate change is real and that we have to try living more sustainably- using reusable water bottles, avoiding carbon-emitting transportation when possible, and making sure we recycle are simple steps we can take every day to try to reduce our own carbon footprint.

To find out more about how to reduce your carbon footprint visit: https://carbonfund.org/reduce/

Cover Image Credit: National Geographic

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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There's More To Political Change Than Just Voting

We've got a long way to go, and casting your vote on Election Day is just one stop on the way.


I told myself that I would write on something else this week. Perhaps on a more lighthearted topic, I thought, but my heart is telling me otherwise.

We celebrated a small victory with the guilty verdict of Jason Van Dyke in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. Hours later, we suffered a great loss with the confirmed nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court Justice.

I have to say, I was surprised and delighted by the guilty verdict of Van Dyke. It gave me hope that perhaps this one black man out of so many that get slaughtered daily, did not die in vain. I was not surprised by the Kavanaugh decision.

Despite its unpredictability, it still made my stomach churn.

It made me wonder how long we will continue taking one step forward and ten steps back as a country. It made me overwhelmed, thinking of how much we have yet to fix in this country. It made me sad, knowing I am only one voice that feels so small against the many greedy, sexist, and racist pigs that run our country.

One thing to remember, however, is that although one voice may be small, 125.9 million female voices are not. 37.1 million black voices are not. 52 million Hispanic and Latino voices are not. 313.9 LGBT voices are not.

So, why are we letting such a small number of prejudiced and privileged voices make the decisions for us?

They let us believe that we have no voice. They have tried to make us believe that they have silenced Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, as they have countless other women, women of color, men of color, and LGBT folks. But they haven't.

Being a woman in America right now, as it has been for centuries, is scary. More than that, being a person of color or LGBT is and has been terrifying, more notably recently. We think we have moved forward, but something always seems to slap us right in the face with the reality that we may have moved forward, but we have a long, long journey awaiting us.

How do we shorten that journey? How do we make it more bearable?

The easiest option is, of course, to vote. I'm sure your newsfeeds have been flooded with articles and posts begging you to register, and to get out there and vote.

If only it were that easy.

More than voting, the most important thing you can do with your voice is using it for those who can't. Volunteer at shelters. Advocate for issues that matter to you. Call your local and state representatives. Campaign. Read up on different candidates, and find ways to best support them in the upcoming election. And most important of all – educate yourself. Fact check. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet – especially when reading opinionated pieces, like this one.

Your vote matters. But more than that, you matter. Your power as a United States citizen is vastly understated. It's time that we understand just how powerful we can be when we choose to take action.

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