Is it Getting Hot In Here or Is it Just Me?


Via Dennis Burden/Shutterstock

Throughout history, the centuries have been defined by periods of conflict, revolution, and war. In the 1800’s, there were revolutions worldwide. In the 1900’s, we mobilized for two world wars and one possible one. We’re now in the 2000’s, the twenty-first century, and it has become clear that our struggle will not be defined by war or revolution, but by global climate change. The century has just begun, and already we are seeing the warmest years since we’ve started recording, we’re seeing island nations desperately cling to the land, typhoons hitting Eastern Asia at an unprecedented rate, drought, floods, hurricanes more dangerous and frequent than any in previous years. The west coast of the United States is on fire, and so is Southern Europe. The Sahel, the region between the desert and the jungle in Africa where agriculture is possible, is shrinking and moving further south. Polar bears are descending on Russian towns because they are fleeing the shrinking ice sheets on the North Pole.

So, surely, such a massive global conflict should ensure that we mobilize on an unprecedented scale, like we did for war last century, but looking around, this appears to be the opposite of the case. The previous generations are clinging to their nationalism and wealth, Donald Trump says that we should put the interests of American coal and oil before the interests of climate change, which he’s claimed is a Chinese hoax. As a result, we’ve pulled out of the Paris Climate agreement. Brazil recently also elected a nationalist leader, which spells bad news for the Amazon rainforest, formerly one of the largest carbon sinks in the world.

In the United States, there’s a plague of climate denial. If they don’t outright deny climate change exists, they downplay the effects of it. Some say the climate has changed before, which is true, but they disregard that it has never changed as rapidly as it is now. Some say it’s the sun that’s responsible, but there are several things disproving this. For the last 35 years, the sun has actually been cooling. Also, if it were the sun, we would notice the effect on other planets. Those who say there’s no consensus disregard the fact that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming. The models produced by these scientists have been reliable for predicting the temperature since the 1900s.

The negative impacts of climate change far outweigh any benefits. Climate change causes ocean acidification, an increase in tick and mosquito population (and diseases associated with them), the polar vortex going further south, and the several changes in weather that I’ve already mentioned.

There’s a lot to feel hopeless over, but we need to remain vigilant against climate change. On a local level, we need to support council members (and mayors) who are willing to make South Bend more sustainable. On a state level, we need to pay attention to who wants to pass green legislation in the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives. On a national level, we need to elect politicians who want to pass legislation to fight against it, like the Green New Deal, a proposition that would aim to minimize the damage of climate change (and also combat income inequality, as a bonus).  On an international level, we need America to be a shining example of an industrialized nation mobilizing on a massive scale to fight against climate change.  If you’re interested in politics, lobby for our planet, if you’re interested in science, invent something to get us out of this mess, if you’re interested in writing or art, make others passionate about this issue. We need all hands on deck, we need you to do your part, and fight against climate change, before it’s too late.