Climate Change//photo courtesy of Google Images

By: Kristina Craig, Contributing Writer.

The existence of climate change has long been a topic of debate, but it really shouldn’t be. The evidence supporting the existence of climate change is overwhelming.

NASA has found data showing that the global temperature of the Earth has been rising since the 20th century, and that 95% of this global warming is due to human activity.

An excessive amount of greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere by us. These gases have trapped in extra heat, which has caused glaciers and ice sheets to start melting, our oceans to become warmer and more acidic and extreme weather events to become even more intense.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the global temperature of the Earth could rise anywhere from 2.5, to 10 degrees fahrenheit over the next century. For the entire global temperature of the Earth, this would be massive change with serious consequences.

What would happen if we let climate change progress? First, we would see a greater increase in hurricanes like Harvey and Irma. The warmer atmosphere and oceans would become a breeding ground for powerful storms.

The hotter it gets, the more dangerous these hurricanes become. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there will be places that will get no rain at all, becoming dangerously hot and dry.

Recently, just outside of Portland, Oregon, a huge wildfire set ablaze a large portion of forestation. The flames were massive, hard to control and quickly engulfed huge sections of the forest. The intensity of this fire was increased by climate change.

The New York Times spoke to meteorologists, and they confirmed that Oregon has been unusually dry, having seen little rain. This lack of moisture allowed the fire to become as massive as it did, and this unusual dryness was brought on by climate change.

Across the entire world, anybody living at or below sea level will find themselves slowly submerged in water. As glaciers continue to melt, they will add more water to our oceans.

This will cause the sea levels to rise, which will slowly submerge all places bordering the sea, and any place at or below sea level. We can already see the effects of this happening in the Solomon Islands, located near Australia.

As of 2016, five islands there have been almost completely submerged. The habitable land on these islands has vanished, and the families living on them have been forced to move. The effects of climate change happening now are severe, and the effects to come will be even more so.   

So why are there people who still don’t believe in climate change? Renowned scientific organizations like NASA has continually shared the data they’ve gathered, supporting that climate change will only continue to get worse, and we can already see their predictions starting to come true.

So why do our current political leaders still act like this is a problem they can choose to ignore? Even our current president, Donald Trump, is a climate change denier.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accords; he’s employed people who have direct ties to companies who hurt the environment, like Rex Tillerson; he’s supported projects like the Dakota Access pipeline, a project that tramples over indigenous people’s rights as well as environmental rights and has continually stated that climate change is a “hoax”, sometimes going as far to say it’s “created by and for the Chinese”.  

Why aren’t we taking the necessary steps to alleviate the effects of climate change?

Other countries are already shifting to renewable forms of energy. For example, Sweden is aiming to become completely free of fossil fuels, Denmark gathers almost 40% of its electricity via wind energy, and about 78% of Germany’s electricity comes from forms of renewable energy.

Why doesn’t the U.S. follow in these countries footsteps? America is a great and powerful country, we should be the ones who are leading the way.

Right now, the only people who can make a positive difference is us. We can make change by educating ourselves, and then making our voices heard. That is the best thing we can possibly do.