Yorba Linda High School

Opinion: Earthlings: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yes, you guessed it, the Earth is still dying!

Okay, that may be a little sardonic and cynical, but sadly environmental devaluation is still a pertinent dilemma that should be treated with a continued sense of urgency, given that global warming still actively threatens the physical scope of the planet.

Last year, was a year in which many positive strides for ecological betterment were enacted, for example, the increased production of alternative forms of sustainable energy, the implementation of a tax on plastic bags, and increased social awareness.

Among these beneficial alterations, the sentiment of the matter far outweighs the negative, but we still have increased greenhouse gas and carbon emissions by almost two percent, leading to the destruction of stratospheric ozone, melting of the ice caps, expanding the threat of natural disasters, and rising sea levels. And according to InsideClimate News, this is an all-time high, differing from a 0% increase in 2015 and a 0.2% increase in 2016.

Granted we have progressed substantially from years past research-wise, we still have an immense amount of ecological improvement to be performed to even remotely pull ourselves away from the precarious burden of climate change.

But why has this increase occurred, and is it even possible to reverse it? The prospect of this is not necessarily unattainable, but in light of increased deforestation, deepened use of nonrenewable energy, and expansion of the animal agriculture industry all stemming from a drastically different political sphere, the efforts of bettering the prospects of global warming under a new administration is almost uncertain.

Whether or not you agree with the ideals of the current president, the stubborn refusal to accept the imminent damage done to our planet is extremely alarming. To have one of the most powerful figures in the world denounce scientific evidence because it is not traditionally “a republican viewpoint” just goes to prove the continued human ignorance towards the tonicity of the planet.

Since the U.S. retraction from the Paris Agreement of 2015 last June, carbon emissions have only increased. And if we haven’t realized it yet, the fate of the planet depends on the social accord to change our destructive ways. We can’t just ironically characterize coal as “clean energy” when our only motive is economic gain, but rather we should recognize that this is not a sustainable way of living.

We must remember that the environment is not a psychological or political countenance to bullheadedly argue against, but instead a universal aspect of the human condition that should be absent of selfish refusal. As a society we must abandon our political convictions and the mentality that if it doesn’t serve the particular party we belong to, we simply won’t listen to it. The only way to effectively prosper environmentally is to listen and conceptualize contemporary solutions rather than egocentrically denying scientific facts.

But what can even be done to aid this pivotal earthly condition? For one, we can proactively make the effort to conform to renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, and hydrologic power. Another extremely beneficial way to alleviate this critical situation is by adopting a more sustainable diet decreased of animal products, thus conserving water and decreasing fossil fuel emissions from animal agriculture firms.

The environment should not be a topic to incite a political or economic war over, but a global effort to improve the critical condition of the one place we have to live. It is a chance for further unification within our communities and an ecologically sustainable future, but that only can be a possibility if we prioritize this global crisis. Hopefully by the combination of scientific advancement and social awareness we can stimulate an even faster recovery of the environment in 2018.

If we enthusiastically invert to a sense of appreciation for a planet that has readily provided for us rather than continuing a cyclic environmental ignorance towards the prosperity of the earth, we have the opportunity to exceed the countenances of our past and promote the concept of global restoration.

(Photo Courtesy of Aguanomics)

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