An Existential Threat


Alexander Hafemann

Sophie Jeffery

Global warming is one of our biggest concerns for the future of planet Earth. We hear about it all the time, and are aware that it poses a danger to the world we know. However, people do not seem to realize that extreme climatic changes will occur during their lifetimes. I, for one, would rather grow up in a safe world that functions the way it was meant to – not the twisted, dangerous, place that we humans are creating.

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that left many people alarmed. As of 2017, the global temperature has increased by 1 degree celsius, and is increasing by about 0.2 degrees every decade. The report stated that the increase in global temperature will reach 1.5 degrees celsius by 2050. It has been claimed by many scientists that 1.5 degrees celsius is the on the brink of sending our world into one giant mess of extreme temperatures, storms, and floods. However, if we do not make changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, then we will surely surpass the 1.5 degree mark. In short, we have a little over 11 years to make some drastic changes to our lifestyles, or else our world is going down the drain.

We always hear about how little changes to your daily life – such as turning off the lights when possible  – can have a huge positive impact on the environment, but that impact can only occur if everyone makes those changes. I feel that people don’t understand the urgency of the situation at hand. We’ve all seen sci-fi movies of dystopian futures with messed up climates, and that is the sort of place we are heading towards if changes do not happen. People do not realize that by hurting the world right now, will definitely hurt them later in life. It’s very likely that these changes will occur during our lifetime, and there’s not much wiggle room to avoid change. Change is necessary, and if change doesn’t happen, then a destructive world is inevitable.

Most aspects of our lives can have an impact on our climate. When we drive cars or planes, we dump so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. When we use electricity, we demand the use of nonrenewable products (such as coal) that when burned, are harmful to our atmosphere as well. When we use paper, we promote deforestation that’s destroying natural habitats everywhere. When we breed and raise livestock, especially cows, we release so much methane into the air as well. The problem with releasing these harmful gases into the air is that they never leave our atmosphere; they linger and cause heat energy to build up inside Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in global warming. Global warming is the cause of rising sea levels (which will flood places near us such as Boston), stronger storms, and ocean acidity. Worst of all, we humans are not the only ones that are in danger in a changed world; all the plants and animals and organisms around us that we love are starting to die too because of changes to their habitat. All natural treasure we enjoy such as beaches and mountains will go to waste. We need to learn to be a little more selfless, and to consider the troubles of the world along with taking care of our own problems.

It really shouldn’t take too much to give back to the world. People should just be mindful of their electricity and water use, as well as conserving as much paper as possible. While this will be an unpopular opinion, people should also consider not eating beef anymore to keep methane levels under control. Always use both sides of a sheet of paper. Please be mindful of where you dump your trash, especially plastic and styrofoam that should never be exposed to the natural world. Finally, it’s necessary to spread awareness of how dire of a situation we are in, as some political leaders have put the issue of climate change on the back burner, but we cannot afford that. For the sake of making the future as bright as possible, take a little tie out of your day to help the world, and you’ll be glad later when we manage to keep temperatures under control.