The Earth is dying, and we should all care.
Science tells us that our planet’s temperature is climbing faster than scientists had previously predicted.
The discarded remains of our products – disposable coffee cups, Styrofoam takeout containers, empty shampoo bottles – the skeletons of our wastefulness, quickly transform our entire planet into a trash dump.
The bad news is that humans have contributed tremendously to this environmental catastrophe.
The good news is that this means we hold the power to do something about it.
Human actions are detrimental to the health of this planet.
Things that we do every day without thinking about: driving to work in a gas- guzzling car, eating a fast food burger from the drive-thru, buying a new pair of jeans from one of those trendy fast-fashion stores at the mall.
All of these things have often unforeseen consequences.
Landfills, fossil fuel usage, farming and deforestation are some of the biggest contributors to global warming, amongst many other human actions.
We all have a footprint and it is larger than we think. Each step we take away from sustainability is one more strike against the preservation of our planet.
Fortunately, steps towards eco- consciousness are merely shifts in mindset and action, meaning that many of us can make at least one simple change somewhere in our lives.
These can be small changes, like making ourselves more aware of the packaging that contains the products we purchase.
We can switch from liquid shampoo in plastic bottles to shampoo bars wrapped
in recyclable cardboard, use biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes and hairbrushes instead of plastic, use reusable straws and food containers instead of single-use plastic bags, buy clothes secondhand instead of in big brand name stores.
These can also be larger changes that impact our entire lifestyles. For instance, we can walk, bike or use public transportation to get to work or school. Learning how to recycle could be another example.
Unfortunately, these changes, however big or small, are oftentimes not accessible for all individuals.
This goes for both physical accessibility and financial accessibility. Some people may not have physical access to eco-friendly alternatives.
For instance, their local grocery store may only provide produce packaged in plastic and they may not have the time or resources to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Furthermore, someone’s local shop may stock sustainable options, but only offer them at a high price that lower income individuals cannot afford.
For example, they may sell shampoo bars for three times the price of bottled shampoo.
This is why individual actions, although necessary to the movement towards sustainability, are not enough. We need action from our governments and leaders as well.
Former vice president Joe Biden, the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election by various news sources, has a plan to challenge the climate crisis head-on. His plan outlines a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is a goal also set by the Green New Deal.
Biden has also vowed to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, a framework created
to counter greenhouse gas emissions, which President Donald Trump officially pulled out of in November 2020.
The enactment of Biden’s plan would set the United States in the right direction towards a more sustainable future.
A green economy would be good for us too. Increases in more sustainable practices, such as creating solar farms and wind turbines, would lead to more jobs for Americans.
Additionally, by helping to combat climate change, these jobs would help the planet have a better chance at a prosperous future, thus protecting the job market, and the earth overall, for future generations.
Global warming does not discriminate. It will impact every one of us in some way, shape or form.
In many ways, it already has.
We should all be environmentalists, if not for our own good, then to preserve this planet for future generations.