We often ask ourselves, can we actually influence the world to make a change? Would stopping the emission of greenhouse gases or perhaps a micro lifestyle change like recycling our plastic bottles make a difference? But as we look further into recycling, if done so by the majority, positive changes to our environment become inevitable. According to Stanford University’s website in Recycling Land, Building and Real Estate, “recycled, composted, and otherwise source reduced 62% of its waste and reduced landfill by 35%. The results are cleaner air and water, less pollution, more forested land and open space, and reduced greenhouse gases.” This reveals that if we recycle as a mass movement, it would reduce our collective carbon footprint. Which means a reduction in carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds that are released into the atmosphere as a result of our active pollution. Consequently, this brings us to a larger issue: Can we completely stop or prevent global warming? And what can we as students do to influence the world to go green?
According to climate.gov article “Can we slow or even reverse global warming” the author David Herring states the reasons why we can just radically stop global warming. In fact, the article expresses that we cannot stop global warming overnight or even at least for a couple of decades. This is because the planet takes a while to respond. Moreover, experts believe that if humans would radically stop emissions of greenhouse gasses, earth’s temperature would continue to rise for a few decades. Ocean currents would eventually release its excess heat and once the heat is dissipated the earth would begin to stabilize and global temperatures would gradually begin to decline. So in order to stop climate change we must stop various human habits in general and if we do, the results would take decades.
This does not mean it’s too late to avoid or limit some of the worst effects of climate change. As students we are the rising generation and as such we should prioritize keeping the earth clean. According to NASA, there are two solutions, “Responding to climate change will involve a two-tier approach: 1) ‘mitigation’ – reducing the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; and 2) ‘adaptation’ – learning to live with, and adapt to, the climate change that has already been set in motion.” Furthermore, there are two options presented, ether to migrate, meaning changing our actions to protect our environment, or adaptation, which in this case means acceptance and acknowledgement. Consequently, both approaches are important because as individuals we should acknowledge that the earth is our home and is our responsibility to protect and preserve life. If we keep releasing greenhouse gases the area will become more polluted with contaminants and toxins that are harmful to our health.
Climate change is a global, complex problem that involves economic, social, and political aspects. In addition, morality and ethics also are involved, which means the ramifications are immense. The huge impact climate change is having and will have should serve as encouragement because it does not mean global warming is impossible to stop, but instead pushes humanity to work together to improve the environment in which we live in. Some solutions are to push for cleaner forms of energy such as improving public transportation, investing in better energy efficient structures and mechanics. Other steps could include reducing debris and plastic across the land and creating a more sustainable structure in which everyone can participate.
“Is It Too Late to Prevent Climate Change? – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA, NASA,
Herring, D., & Lindsey, R. (2020, October 29). Can we slow or even reverse global Warming?: NOAA Climate.gov. Retrieved February 12, 2021, from https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-qa/can-we-slow-or-even-reverse-global-warming #:~:text=Yes.,(%E2%80%9Cblack%20carbon%E2%80%9D).&text=Once%20this%20excess%2 0heat%20radiated,space%2C%20Earth’s%20temperature%20would%20stabilize.