July 19, 2018 | ° F

Climate change is still happening

Action must be taken to address impending environmental issues

The People’s Climate March last weekend in New York City was the largest of its kind, with an estimated 400,000 people representing a diverse range of organizations, religions and backgrounds. The march was timed to align with this week’s United Nations climate summit in an effort to mobilize the movement and demand action from governments that have by far been too slow to address an increasingly urgent situation. 

Climate change is currently threatening to completely shape the future of our planet, but one of the biggest obstacles we face is getting strong support to seriously address it from lawmakers. Even though more than 95 percent of climate change scientists say that humans are majorly responsible for the issue, fewer than 60 percent of Americans agree. The debate surrounding this makes up the biggest portion of media coverage on climate change, portraying it as a polarized issue that is still up to debate. We should instead be focusing on feasible ways of creating an environmentally friendly lifestyle that is affordable, practical and easy to transition toward.

The research on climate change is often converted into a few oversimplified facts for the public, warning of the impending destruction of the planet over the next 50 or 100 or 500 years. Generally speaking, it’s difficult for the average person to easily access and understand the research that scientists are engaging in to support the claim that climate change is an important and relevant issue. Much of the information is either ignored, or taken in but not implemented properly. We all know that it’s important to recycle, to conserve water and not to litter, but how strictly do we follow these rules? How much are they encouraged? There are a lot of people who still aren’t sure what’s recyclable and what’s not — a lot of the time, we just toss our trash into whatever can is most convenient. Luckily, being green is very marketable, and consumers often prefer the environmentally friendly option. Governments should do more to compel industries to comply with higher standards when it comes to the environment. 

Climate change is so politicized already, and the science of it is so inaccessible sometimes that it can be difficult to portray the issue as an emotional one — which is normally an easier way to gain strong support. Climate change is something that’s happening all the time, and there’s not much of a sensationalized story to be made of it in the media. Recognizing the importance of acting now to prevent serious consequences in the future is difficult enough, since no one likes to deal with hypotheticals. It’s important to think beyond the immediate physical ramifications of our actions, and think critically about what it means for the future of our society if we continue to ignore the obvious. On an individual level, every environmental effort counts. But also try to engage in the conversation about climate change and educate yourselves to help promote a healthier, sustainable lifestyle.

The Daily Targum

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