We can all stop denying it: globalwarming is a real problem. The 1990s was the hottest decade in history,and this phenomenon is not going to stop. Scientists predict that by theend of this century Earth’s climate will have risen between threeand ten degrees. Politicians will argue that the process is natural,that Earth naturally goes through periods of warming and cooling.Scientists, however, have proven that even if the Earth is warmingbecause of its natural cycle, the release of greenhouse gases has spedup the process. There is one thing that no one can argue: if wedon’t do something, the consequences will be harmful to our planetand life as we know it will end.
What are the consequences ofglobal warming? We are already seeing some, including strongerhurricanes. Drier climate, rising sea levels (New York could beunderwater in 50 years), extinct species, and others will occur if weallow this to continue. Have you seen “The Day AfterTomorrow”? Studies show the events in that movie to besurprisingly possible - though exaggerated, we could be looking at asimilar situation.
And who are we relying on to fix this problem?Our politicians, people who will be dead before they have to experiencethe consequences. And guess what? They are not doing a very good job.The United States is one of the few nations that has not signed theKyoto Treaty, an agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and othergreenhouse gases. We can’t rely on politicians. We are the oneswho will be dealing with the consequences in 50 years, so we need to dosomething now.
What can we do? Miraculously, the solution issimple, we just need to work together:
- Turn off lights. Usingenergy doesn’t just run up your monthly bill, it also hurts theenvironment.
- Take shorter showers. There are other places tosing that don’t require running water.
- Unplug applianceswhen not using them. Even when they’re not on, they use energywhen plugged into the wall.
- Use compact fluorescent bulbs.They produce the same amount of light as regular ones but use lessenergy and last ten times longer.
- Plant a tree. They’repretty, they’re good for the environment - what’s not tolove?
- Recycle. It’s simple.
- Raise awareness.Sadly, if only you are doing these things it won’t make much of adifference. We all need to do them.
We do not need amazingtechnology to change our course, we just need to make an effort to stopglobal warming. It’s a problem. Here’s the solution.What’s more important: another ten minutes in the shower to singyour heart out, or a clean, people-friendly world?
Be a leader.Save the world so that you and your children and your children’schildren can live in it.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.