Climate change is obvious now more than ever

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Hannah Hale

hhale3@radford.edu

There have always been the same debates on climate change. Is it real? Is it just the natural cycle of the Earth? Questions like these have been driving people to write about climate change as unimportant or normal, and this could mean neglect and devastation to our planet. The evidence of climate change, and the sources of the problem, are rooted in science. The facts presented will be coming directly from the official NASA climate website.

The increase in global temperature was alarmingly obvious in Radford over winter. February had temperatures in the high 60s, sometimes even reaching 70 degrees. That is completely abnormal for the area that early in the year. The global temperature has been increasing since 1880, but the most warming has occurred in the past 35 years. Alarmingly, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. This rise in temperature is directly related to human activity such as harmful fossil fuel emissions, raising masses of livestock, and waste deposited in the oceans. The ocean temperature has raised due to the water absorbing the increasing heat. This threatens marine life. Have you heard that the Great Barrier Reef is dying? That is one of the reasons why.

While on the subject of the ocean, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution. The amount of carbon dioxide the ocean absorbs is increasing by around two billion tons per year. Have you noticed a lot of heavy, intense rainfalls? We had a really bad storm just recently, and the numbers of these storms are increasing everywhere. The arctic sea ice has been decreasing in size in the last several decades. The glaciers are retreating all around the world. An example of this is the snow cap on Mount Kilimanjaro is slowly disappearing.

The important thing to remember is that there are so many things we can do to try and help prevent, reverse, or slow down the negative effects of climate change. Ditch disposable plastic and use reusable cups, bags, straws, and to-go ware. Walk or bike around more to decrease the amount of time you spend driving. Shop local and secondhand shops rather than buying from big chain companies. Limit your online spending to prevent needless packaging when it is delivered. Stop eating meat and help save thousands of gallons of water. Take shorter and less frequent showers to decrease water waste. Unsubscribe from magazines or other paper mail services that you do not need or use.

The bottom line is that our world needs us to preserve its beauty and life. We need to learn how to be less wasteful in the face of a wasteful society. Call your representatives. Protest and find marches near you for climate awareness or fundraising. Write letters to officials. Spread the word about climate change and the dangerous path we are all on. The little actions one person can do to create a change can make a huge difference. Start living for the good of others and the good of Earth.