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“Climate Change is Destroying Our Earth, and We Created It” – Letter to the Editor

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Here is the one response we received to September’s prompt. Although we would have loved more participation, Irene Y (’23) wrote a very well-considered response about the urgency of climate change. Here it is:

“Climate change is a phenomenon that is destroying our Earth, and we created it. The wildfires and the smoke covering the Bay Area, and even states like Oregon and Washington, have especially made me reflect on what we are doing to stop our excessive emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. I’ve realized not only how much we take for granted the simple act of breathing, but also the preciousness of our planet, as it is the only home we, and many other species, have got for at least the next couple of centuries. Unfortunately, against evidence that climate change is real and detrimental ([verified] by many organizations, including NASA), some people don’t believe that the Earth is slowly showing signs of becoming uninhabitable. Yes, Earth does have a natural greenhouse effect that warms the Earth’s surface and maintains its temperature. However, due to our burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, we’ve increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, resulting in higher temperatures that have begun to warm the ocean and melt glaciers and ice sheets, increasing sea level. Higher temperatures have also caused extremities in weather and changes in the seasons’ timing, further leading to shortages of food and water. Now that a basic background of climate change and its effects has been established let’s get to the point of what steps the next President and the 117th Congress should take to address climate change. A good starting point that’s relevant to the 2020 Presidential Election is rejoining the Paris Agreement. In 2016, the first groundbreaking international commitment to fighting climate change was created, called the Paris Agreement. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 195 countries, including the [member states of the] European Union, signed on to this treaty “to keep global warming to well below 2°C (3.6°F)—and make every effort to go above 1.5°C (2.7°F).” Despite this meaningful campaign towards change, in 2017, Trump decided to withdraw from the alliance, claiming that it was an “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement.” Thankfully, because of official withdrawal procedures, the U.S. cannot back out of the treaty until this year, ensuring that this will be a major topic in the presidential debate. Rejoining the Paris Agreement would keep the U.S. accountable for its emissions rates, thus drastically reducing the 14% of CO2 emissions per year that the U.S. is accountable for. Of course, this is just one of many suggestions that can be found across the Internet to the beginning of a series of changes that can be made to mend the damage we caused. I recommend this CNN article as a basic idea of an example of a list of changes that can be made through governmental policies.”

Other Sources:

Response was lightly edited for clarity. Image Credit: Associated Press


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