The Cougar Chronicle

Climate change, it’s on us

Kathleen Carpio, Student Life Reporter

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Is climate change a myth? What records tell us is that it is no myth, it is our reality. The argument isn’t whether or not climate change is here. It already is here.

 

According to National Geographic, the Earth’s average temperature has risen over by more than one degree over the last century and a half. This change may seem small but its effects are lasting. We see it in the ever changing weather patterns. This last summer, California has experienced heat in some pretty extreme levels as high as the triple digits.

 

This intense heat is also believed to have fueled the fires that affected the communities from San Diego County to Redding, burning more than one thousand homes as mentioned in the Los Angeles Times. What this tells us is that there is no room for argument on the existence of climate change. It has already made its presence known across California.

 

The argument that really matters here is what can we do about it?

 

In most cases, the first step in finding a solution to a problem is to find out the cause and as it turns out, the cause lies within us. By now, we have heard the term “greenhouse gases” at least once in our lifetime and it certainly won’t be the last. Greenhouse gases are the particles that trap heat around the Earth and as National Geographic points out, we’re the culprits behind the high greenhouse gas emissions.

 

It’s a hard pill to swallow in accepting the idea that climate change is due to human effort. No one really wants to be the villain in a story but in the presence of climate change, it is a perspective we have to get used to seeing.

 

The usual causes of greenhouse gas emissions may not be news to anyone on campus, but is important to keep in mind as it reminds us that our lifestyles have an impact than we think.

 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation is a huge factor in greenhouse gas emissions which are produced by fossil fuel burning for our personal vehicles, trucks, ships and planes. Another leading factor in greenhouse gas emissions is from electricity use, which may be powered by fossil fuels, gas and natural gas.

 

If we were take a look at these leading causes in greenhouse gas emissions, transportation and electricity usage is a lifestyle application that applies to many of us on campus. Yes, we may be the villains in this story of Earth and climate change but what this information serves to tell us is that we do not have to stay the villain.

If the human use of transportation and electricity are the leading causes of climate change then we have the choice to be more mindful in how we use these resources. Some mindful options may include carpooling with a friend to class or work. The alternative options don’t end here. It may sound like too simple of a fix or too small a change. However, the same argument was said about the Earth’s average temperature having an actual impact on climate.

 

What seems small now will have lasting effects in the future, it all just depends on the little actions that we collectively do as a human race.

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