To the editor:
Climate change may be one of the biggest problems to threaten humanity. It is a very controversial topic, but respected scientists agree that climate change exists and is currently affecting our society. With the planet’s change in weather patterns due to climate change, we are going to see some more important species at risk of extinction. Climate change is happening now, and it is affecting everyone on the planet. The most important thing to realize is that this is everyone’s problem. We all can do small things to raise awareness or reduce our energy consumption.
Increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 can affect the earth’s climatic system known as the greenhouse effect. This phenomenon is what helps our planet sustain life. Before we started using fossil fuels, our planets’ amount of CO2 was a comfortable 280 parts per million (ppm). Today, we have increased CO2 to about 387 ppm. An anthropogenic change in our atmosphere to this magnitude will affect weather patterns and cause temperatures to steadily rise and in some cases drop. Climate change is making rainfall heavier, droughts more severe, and hurricanes stronger. People in poorer countries will be affected the most, especially countries located on and near the equator. The United Nations is currently formulating a plan of action to protect Africa for when climate change begins to hit them hard. This is unfair and an injustice to the people living in these poor nations.
Climate change can also contribute to the depletion of important resources and habitats such as tropical forests. As much as 80 percent of the world population depends on medicinal plants that grow in rainforests. Forests of all kinds help to minimize the effects of climate change, but are declining dangerously more and more every day. Economically speaking, the major decline of our rainforests will have a negative response in more than one way. The United Nations Development Programme estimates that the value of medicinal plants in developing countries is more than $30 billion per year.
We need to be investing more in alternative energy. There are lots of ways we can reduce our carbon footprint as a country, and we just need to get people to look at the facts and make small changes in their homes and life-styles. Our country is trying to find new ways to adopt clean energy. Transitioning from a fossil fuel economy to a clean energy economy will not only help end the war on natural resources, but will also create jobs in today’s bad economy. Globally we have seen many changes. Sweden has reduced their carbon emissions by 40% in the past 30 years by adopting renewable energy. That is a great feat! There are many ideas we must put into effect, and to do that we need compliance from the very sources who are contributing to the problem. We must reassign, redesign, and respond, quickly, to ensure a healthy future for us all.