Do you really know what climate change is?

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What is climate change and how does it affect you? (Kris Krüg/Flickr).

Camille Yoels, Environmental Editor

Global warming and climate change have always been a fear of mine since I was young, but I never saw any changes, so I did not know how significant they are.  However, climate change affects all of us. In 2019-2020, many extreme weather events occurred including wildfires blazing through California and Australia, many category five hurricanes, Arkansas’ river flooding, and floods in Indonesia.  Additionally, Jan. 2020 was the hottest January recorded for the past 141 years. Our earth is giving us all these warning signs, but is it too late? Our best scientists have warned us in order to undo the most extreme weather events of climate change, 2020 must be the year for extreme climate action. 

It may not feel like it, but the earth’s climate has been rising since 1906. You may be wondering, what’s the difference between climate change and global warming? Global warming indicates that all the earth is doing in response to human actions is warming, when in reality far more is happening to our planet than the temperature just rising. The term climate change encapsulates more of the overall effects. The world’s climate is changing and it surpasses warming. Sea levels are rising, which are changing the ocean’s circulation patterns, which in turn are creating more extreme weather events like hurricanes. Climate change also links to massive fires, which are rampant in places like California. Extreme weather events have opened the doors to what will be the biggest social threat to society in the future: climate refugees. This will most likely impact the poorest areas and people throughout the planet. By wealthy people with privilege choosing to not change their actions, they are choosing to turn their backs on the majority of the population who live in developing nations. 

Personally, climate change horrifies me, but I can’t let my fears dominate my life. What scares me the most about climate change is the idea that soon it will be irreversible, and we are wasting time. The people of our world put this problem off for so long to the point where we might not have enough time to save our home. If everyone could do a little more reusing and recycling, it would make a huge difference. Anyone has the ability to do more, but they choose not to.  They don’t do anymore because they believe it will not affect them. That’s where the problem lies in our society, the selfish people. We won’t change because we are scared. Everyone is scared. The selfish people, the snobby people, poor and wealthy people. We have to stick together as a species and save our earth. 

When learning about climate change, you might feel discouraged, and small, but there are so many little things that everyone can do to improve our environment. Being more environmentally cautious is helpful because, over time, it will be so routine. There are many basic things at home you can do, including turning off lights, carpooling, taking shorter showers, recycling, using shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bottles, stop using plastic straws and bags. Also, decomposable everyday items are extremely useful and more hygienic. Self-hygiene is extremely important, and environmentally friendly products are much better for the earth and you. 

We can save the earth, but only if we do it together.