Conspiracy in the air

Abby Folkerts, Co-Editor-In-Chief

If you’re looking for a controversial topic to divide or unite a group of people, look no further than the epidemic that is most popularly known as climate change. Climate change is defined as a change in global or regional climate patterns. Although many of the world’s top scientists agree that human activity is largely to blame for the warming of the Earth, there are still people with opposition to this consensus.

Why there are opposers is very confusing to me, as there is literal scientific evidence that global warming and climate change is a real thing. Ranging from celebrities who actively advocate for the environment such as heartthrobs Ian Somerhalder and Leonardo DiCaprio, all the way to those who deny climate change every chance they get, such as President Trump and political leader Sarah Palin.

I, myself, believe in climate change and global warming. Climate change is really the only logical reason for why the world’s hottest desert saw snow earlier this year, why Iowa didn’t see consistent below-freezing temperatures until mid-December, even though in years past we usually see those temperatures in November, and why it was colder in our state late December-early January than it was in Antarctica. Not only was it colder here than in Antarctica, we have had weeks upon weeks of consistent below-zero temperatures, which is something we have never endured in previous years. Schools in the area were forced to delay for multiple days in a row due to the dangerous temperatures, as students were in danger to receiving frostbite in as little as ten minutes. Also, it is to blame for the devastating fires in California, and the horrid hurricanes that rocked Florida and Texas back in 2017.

Our Earth is the hottest it has ever been, contrary to what it might feel like outside walking to your car. Us, humans, are single-handedly changing the planet. We are putting way more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere than what is needed to sustain life. Fortunately, we do have trees and plants that are able to absorb these gasses and put oxygen back out into the environment, but many forestrial areas are being plowed down for buildings, and housing developments, thanks to our ever-growing population. Our population on Earth is a staggering 7.442 billion, and growing by every day.

Not only does climate change and global warming affect human life, and the weather patterns on planet Earth, it also affects the animals and other living organisms whom are living within the environment. For example, the coral reefs are on the verge of extinction because of massive infectious disease outbreaks, and coral bleaching. Prior to 1980, large-scale coral bleaching events, which is what causes coral reefs to become extremely fragile, was almost unheard of. According to a study which was published in the journal Science, the frequency of coral bleaching has become so significant, that the coral reefs no longer have time to recover in between coral bleaching episodes. When coral dies, it severely affects the shelter that is home to thousands of fish, lobsters, and many more organisms. As the coral dies, so do the animals and plants that require upon it for survival. Another species that is threatened to extinction are the polar bears. Climate change is very much to blame because the Arctic is progressively becoming warmer, and sea ice is forming later in the fall and disappearing earlier in the spring. While they aren’t at the top of the list for concern, they are vulnerable to endangerment.

So why exactly should you be worried about climate change and global warming? Well, its very simple actually. If we continue going down this path and not having a care about the environment, the result will be devastating. We will continue to have “once in a lifetime” storms such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey more frequently, which would inevitably wipe out small and large cities and everything in between, and leave thousands to even millions of people homeless. Us, humans, really need to pay attention to what scientists are saying and stop questioning the practicality of global warming and climate change, and take their advice to stop the progression of it. Whether you believe it or not, climate change is a serious epidemic that the world is facing. Consider walking or carpooling with a friend to reach your destination. You can also help the cause by simply picking up your waste, and recycling plastic containers and bottles. So the next time you think about throwing that plastic bottle out the window of your car, wait until you reach your destination to put it in a recycling can. If we all work together, we can combat global warming and climate change, instead of it combatting us.