Climate change cannot be ignored

Time to admit our wrongdoings, take action for global warming

I will never forget the small, squeaky black chairs of the old movie theater in our hometown.

My parents insisted on going to see the film, “A Day After Tomorrow.” Being roughly 8 or 9 years old at the time, the idea of the earth and my existence being obsolete seemed unimaginable.

The extreme snowstorms and tornadoes tearing entire cities to shreds and the deep, unknown ocean taking over what’s theirs — I was mortified.

Not by the natural disasters that occurred in the hypothetical doomsday, but by the fact that all of these horrible incidents could potentially happen merely from our messy imprints.

That’s when I took the initial steps and started becoming eco-aware and friendly. “Reduce, reuse, recycle,” became the motto of my livelihood, and I pushed anyone I met to follow the steps to help save our planet.

But it wasn’t enough. Students and faculty still couldn’t take the one second necessary to separate trash from recycling, lights continued to beam throughout the night in closed facilities, and people fell back into the mindset of our world being invincible.

For journalists, the key to clear and accurate reporting requires the writer to be objective. To see the whole truth and to be fair about it. Journalists, as well as average citizens, should exercise their ability to suspend judgement when looking at the facts; it’s crucial when digesting new information.

Oftentimes, we choose to look at the facts that better suit our worldview, instead of taking into consideration all the facts presented.

But objectivity isn’t always valued the way it should be. In the government there’s loyalty to the truth, and loyalty to your team.

Loyalty to the team, unfortunately, is often prioritized over the truth. Administrations, in a sense, are a team sport; the only way to get something done is to work collectively, and that occasionally means withholding the truth.

As Trump’s administration has made themselves comfortable from the get go, the questioning fear of whether our government will take charge or turn the cheek to climate concerns leaves a good amount of American’s in constant panic.

Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who was nominated to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated to a state committee, “Science tells us that the climate is changing and human activity in some manner impacts that change.”

Furthermore, citizens should look at humans’ ability to measure the extent of that impact by continuing debate and dialogue, Pruitt said.

Pruitt, as well as other politicians, would claim natural factors could be the leading cause to change in climate. For example, they may prefer to believe that the sun is suddenly producing more radiation, which would ultimately heat up the Earth.

But satellites keep a close eye on the sun’s constant activity, and scientists have considered and dismissed any natural factors that could be a sole cause in higher climate temperatures.

Sophisticated computer analysis, in addition to scientists’ theories, have confirmed that the human release of greenhouse gases is the largest contributor to recent warming.

A couple weeks back, Trump admitted to abandoning Obama’s climate change legacy, as well as dissolving several other significant policies that deal with “curbing” global warming.

So, imagine your life in five years, dealing with the effects of Trump’s policy changes.

What looks different? Do you still enjoy the sweet delicacies of chocolate, coffee, sushi, honey or a deep breath of fresh air?

Now think about this: since 1951, the earth has increasingly warmed up more every decade, with 2016 being the warmest year on record yet. Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.3 percent per decade, resulting in higher sea levels and less sea life.

Not only that, but there have been longer droughts and a sharp increase in devastating natural disasters and diseases that have fundamentally changed and displaced millions of people’s lives.

These statistics and facts could seem like gibberish to some Americans, but in reality, it’s all man-made. And these serious issues cannot be ignored much longer, or those very tangible things you once had precious access to will be gone.

“The absence of certainty is not an excuse to do nothing,” Charles Todd Whitman, former President George W. Bush’s EPA administrator, once cautioned.

And here we are, seven years later, and the United States has elected Donald Trump as our president. A man who has famously and falsely claimed climate change to be a “hoax.”

Luckily, about 70 percent of America is beginning to listen to the facts of global warming, compared to the 13 percent who openly deny, according to a national poll by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Although this acknowledging number has risen since 2010, when only 57 percent claimed to believe, it has still slightly decreased since the first signs of warming began in November of 2008.

Being an advocate for global warming does make you a “tree-hugger” or an “environmentalist,” but instead allows us to stand together as citizens, admit our wrongdoings and take action before our beautiful home is turned to ruins.

Katie Ward is a junior communication major.

This article was posted in the section Opinion.
Katie Ward

Katie is a senior studying communications

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