Why Climate Change is No Joke

Why Climate Change is No Joke

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

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Banning Abortion Kills Women, So Stop Saying Anti-Abortion Activists Are 'Pro-Life'

“Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.” —First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1995
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With the recent introduction of a bill that pretty much outright ban and criminalize all abortions in the State of Ohio — one that is very much illegal and very much unconstitutional — as well as the passing of a bill that would ban abortions after fifteen weeks in the State of Mississippi and other anti-abortion laws all over the country, it’s time to take a look at what “Pro-Life” really means.

Every person who says that they’re “pro-life” cries that abortion is murder. “Babies have a right to life!” Well, yes that may be true, but what about women who already have their lives?

Abortion is a very difficult, extremely emotional decision, and I pray that I never have to make that choice, but women have abortions for a variety of reasons — including their own health. For some women, pregnancy is dangerous; it might kill them. If a doctor tells a women that her life is in danger and her only option is terminating a pregnancy, why would anyone want to deny her the choice to save her own life? Doesn’t she have the right to life; the right to continue living the life that she already has?

People also cry about the horrors of late-term abortion, but late-term abortion is an extreme case and only makes up a minuscule percentage of all abortions performed in the US. Late-term abortion is not something that doctors just do because someone doesn’t want a baby; these pregnancies that are terminated late are wanted, but they can’t happen for some reason or another.

Many of the babies that are aborted late-term often suffer from genetic mutations or disorders that would make their lives extremely short and painful, if they’re not stillborn. So, the parents make the difficult decision to end the pregnancy so that their child doesn’t suffer. Why would anyone want a baby to suffer unnecessarily? Why would anyone want to make parents watch their child suffer, knowing that their child is going to die anyway?

Abortion is also an option for women who become pregnant out of rape or incest. Why would anyone want a woman to have a permanent reminder of a traumatic experience for the rest of her life?

“Pro-Lifers,” also cry “Adoption! Adoption!” but what about the kids already in the system? Why do we want to add more children to a system that is already over saturated? People say that women should give up unwanted children for adoption instead of aborting, but nobody wants to take care of them and the thousands of other kids in the system who need homes.

There are a variety of other reasons that lead to a woman choosing to have an abortion; however, none of those reasons matter or, frankly, are anyone else’s business. A woman’s right to choose is HER private, medical decision. It’s her life and her body.

Would it ever be acceptable to tell someone they can’t have plastic surgery or that they’re not allowed to have a life-saving cancer treatment or they are banned from seeing the doctor when they’re sick? Wouldn’t that be ridiculous? People would be outraged if there was a group of people telling everyone they can’t make their own medical decisions.

So, why is it okay for a group of people to call for the ban of a medical procedure and harass women for choosing to get that medical procedure?

Making abortion illegal doesn’t get rid of abortion. It only increases unsafe abortions — the kind you think of that happened in the “olden days” before Roe v. Wade of women in alleys using coat hangers. If a woman wants an abortion, she’ll find a way to have one, and those ways are often dangerous.

When abortion is completely illegal, women die unnecessarily.

They die from infection and procedure and pregnancy related complications. Why would anyone want these avoidable deaths, when legal abortion is a safe medical procedure that is performed by actual doctors in sterile environments?

If so-called “pro-life” people want to reduce abortion rates, then why don’t they support access to birth control and comprehensive sex education — two things that have been proven to reduce abortion rates because they reduce unplanned, unwanted pregnancies?

The “Pro-Life” movement only focuses on the unborn babies — lives that aren’t even guaranteed to begin with. It treats women like baby making factories by placing the life of a fetus ahead of the life of the woman. The movement doesn’t care if women die as long as their babies are born no matter what because, “The Bible says abortion is a sin.”

Well, news flash. The Bible says a lot of things are sins: divorce, adultery, lying, swearing, premarital sex, and the list goes on and on. If we’re basing our laws in a democracy off of what the Bible says is wrong, then why aren’t we trying to throw every divorcée in jail and harassing every couple that goes into a courthouse to get divorced? Why aren’t we condemning people who have extra marital affairs?

Anti-abortion laws are anti-woman. It’s just another way that women can be treated like second-class citizens, being told that they can’t make their own medical decision and that their life isn’t valued over the life of a fetus that’s not even capable of life on its own until its gestational age is around 24 weeks — a time that most abortions in the United States are performed long before.

And for Ohio to try to outright ban abortion, that’s what the Ohio legislators are saying: they don’t care about women or see them as worthy of life when compared to a fetus. It makes me ashamed to be an Ohioan, and every other Ohioan should be ashamed too because if this somehow becomes a law and somehow isn’t struck down by the Supreme Court, women all over the State of Ohio will die from avoidable infections and complications.

So, “Pro-Life?” Why don’t we just come out and say it? “Pro-Life” isn’t really “pro-life,” just like “Pro-Choice” isn’t “pro-abortion.”

“Pro-Life” is “pro-fetus and pro-fetus only,” and women be damned because to the “Pro-Life” movement, their lives don’t matter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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