Updated: Mar 18
Why should I care about climate change?
Many people might say, “What’s the big deal? Scientists are freaking out about it, but stuff seems pretty much the same to me. So it’s going to get a little warmer and ice is melting, what about it? I love warm weather anyways!”
Well, there are many reasons why everyone needs to be at least somewhat aware of what climate change really means. Awareness of real world issues can change the world! No matter what problem it is, or how debatable you think the topic is, we all have a role to play.
At the onset of this article, I need to clarify something: This topic is NOT all about doom and gloom, and it’s not meant to make you feel hopeless; just the opposite in fact! However, you must be aware that this topic is of critical importance because of what’s at stake.
Circumstances like those resulting from hurricane Harvey and Katrina, and all other major hurricanes are tragic. Unfortunately, these types of hurricanes and other storms, according to the data, are the result of the earth fighting to stay balanced, and may occur more frequently, and get more intense as time goes on.
Two main points:
In the simplest of terms, the idea is that Global Climate Change is caused by heat that stays in the earth’s atmosphere longer than it should. There are tons of reasons why that’s the case, but that’s a slightly different topic (feel free to read this article if you want to hear more about it!). Because of this, significant and generally negative things happen often called “global warming” but more scientifically known as “global climate change”.
The fact of the matter is that climate change is a worldwide phenomenon, and is directly related to human activity. The reason scientists know that these changes at least somewhat our fault basically stems from the fact that within the last 120 years, the population of the entire earth has gone from a TOTAL of 1.8 billion people in 1900 to what it is today, 7.5 billion people in 2017.
That’s over FOUR TIMES what it was 117 years ago; Earth’s population has doubled since 1970. It’s kind of a big deal. There’s no possible way that all of us can live here on earth and not have some measurable effect on the planet.
Now while I understand that this is a HUGE range in estimation, the measurable changes we can see will cause some seriously staggering problems. For instance, on a worldwide scale, sea levels are projected to rise between 2 and 10 feet within the next 100 years. All kinds of storms are going to get more intense; many important species of plants and animals may go extinct, and the economic damage that’s going to take place is going to really mess up every country with an ocean view (just like texas after hurricane Harvey).
Honestly, that doesn’t really matter how big this range in estimation is. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if it’s our fault or not. Even if sea levels rise by just ONE foot, the whole city of New Orleans is completely flooded, many ports of call will be lost, hundreds of thousands of people will ne displaced and suddenly homeless, investments of time, money, and huge losses to property or equity will occur.
At two feet, more than 10% of the state of Florida is flooded.
At 2 to 3 feet, all of New York City will be flooded on a regular basis, and Venice, Italy (already struggling to deal with it) will essentially be destroyed.
Have you ever heard of the Maldives? It’s an absolutely beautiful country entirely made of a bunch of tiny islands to the south of Africa. The average elevation of the entire country is only about 1.5 to 2 feet above sea level. In the case of just one foot of sea level increases, the entire country is going to be flooded or destroyed within the next few decades (so go and visit! Tourism might theoretically help save the entire country.)
Like I said before though, this article isn’t all doom and gloom. Here’s a few quick facts for you that can help you make a huge difference. First off, the idea of sustainability isn’t something that has to be painful and sacrificial. You may not think so, but you can actually improve your quality of life AND be sustainable at the same time! It’s all about perception.
Once again, here are a few small things you can do to incorporate sustainability into your daily life. I’ll lead off with an easy one.
First: We’ll start off simple: re-use just one sheet of paper at work per day instead of tossing it. When you fill a notebook, flip it over and write on the other side of the paper. Write things in boxes to stay organized, or use a digital calendar or your phone to record phone numbers or notes or whatever. By the end of the year, you will have saved thousands of gallons of water, saved money, saved more than one tree, been better organized, and have contributed to saving people and animals from deforestation.
Second: Eat just a little less meat. I know, your inner Ron Swanson is glaring daggers at me. Trust me, I love bacon, beef, and chicken as much as the next person. And I know that sounds like a sacrifice, but a few different ways to think about it will improve your quality of life. It’s theoretically healthier for you, and it’s way cheaper to eat fruits and veggies (if you ABSOLUTELY need meat, try ground turkey, it’s a surprisingly good alternative!). Just ONE POUND of pork or beef takes over 1,500 gallons of water to raise, so, you want to conserve water but still enjoy a long shower? Eat one less pound of meat per week, and you could take a 30 minute shower every day and still technically be saving water.
Third: Drink one less beer. I know I’ve probably taken it too far now. But hear me out: half a pint of beer can take more than 36 gallons of water to make. Beer makers can attest to this one.
Fourth: Butter? Takes over 2,000 gallons of water per pound. This one’s easy, one less tablespoon on your toast isn’t going to ruin it. But what it will do is save thousands of gallons of water, and make it slightly healthier for you over the course.
Fifth: Buy secondhand clothing, and donate clothing when you don’t feel like wearing it anymore. Not only are you saving money, providing someone else with clothing, and contributing to your local business, you’re also saving water, and it’s one less thing that someone on the other side of the planet has to put together. For a look into how your shirt from Forever 21 or H&M potentially impacts people across the globe, I highly recommend watching The True Cost.
If you applied just one of these suggestions, you’d increase your quality of life, contribute to the fight against climate change, increase your knowledge of plants and animals alike, and help someone else, somewhere else.
If you want to know more about opportunities to help others and learn about the earth, contact me any time!