by Samantha Hamilton–
Evidence of climate change is causing many people to question how much longer life will be sustainable on Earth. According to NASA research, “human activity is the leading cause of climate change rather than Earth’s natural processes.”
Celebrities and politicians are using their platforms to inform audiences about extreme weather events occurring around the world. Encouraging all to adopt a greener lifestyle and decrease the emission of greenhouse gases that pollute our atmosphere. Dr. Lisa Kennedy of the Virginia Tech Department of Geography explains that allowing these gases to occupy our atmosphere is the strongest supporting evidence that humans are responsible for impacting Earth’s climate.
Virginia Tech students organized a campus protest to bring climate change awareness to a local level within the Blacksburg community. Student protester Reiss Gidner says the goal was to get more attention for the need of congressional legislation.
“Not only was it students at Virginia Tech but it was also Blacksburg Highschool students coming together to demand change,” said Reiss Gidner. “We came together with actual demands that resulted in meetings with the board of directors and President Sands to look at what we can change to use renewable energy.”
With all the conversations surrounding climate change, there have been individuals neglecting that the issue is even real.
“People want to criticize anything that isn’t perfect. This scientist says this is going to happen and temperature will rise this much and then this scientist said something else,” Kennedy explains. “They just want to dismiss it all because scientists don’t absolutely agree because every model doesn’t agree, but it’s important to note what the models do agree on…that it’s warming.”
Kennedy thinks individuals overlook the significance of their own efforts to protect the environment since they are only a small part within it. “I really believe that every person counts, and I think sometimes it’s easy to back out of doing anything because we think what good is it? I’m just one person,” said Kennedy.
Gidner believes it’s time to apply pressure on huge corporations that pump pollution into our air and oceans. She says, “until we have economic policies that can influence the environment and get corporations to actively participate in cleaning up the environment, then not using a plastic straw isn’t going to change anything.”
Organizations like 4Ocean created campaigns to raise money to rid our oceans of waste. According to their website, “6,824,167 pounds of trash removed from the oceans by paid 4Ocean employees since 2017 through the sale of our products.”
Global Warming is threatening little time remaining for change. Gidner admits, “I think we have time if we start yesterday. We need to be aware of our carbon footprint early and consistently aware of how all our actions affect the environment.”
Dr. Kennedy and Gidner remain hopeful that through education we can teach our youth to live greener lifestyles and encourage everyone else to do the same. Kennedy says, “We only have one shot, this next generation can help save us.”
Image linked to full version of infographic on Piktochart.com