A year ago, I knew almost nothing about climate change and why it was important. Like millions of citizens in the U.S., I was more focused on the emerging controversies of the 2016 election. I was captivated by the horse race journalism. It seemed like every other day there was a story about a candidate who did or said something that people either praised or despised. Topics that I hadn’t even realized were such severe problems, like immigration and political correctness, were suddenly being talked about on both the left and the right. Yet, there was a problem: these topics were not the most important issue.
Today, very little news is being published about possibly the biggest threat to our national security: climate change. Global warming and controlling carbon emissions was almost completely left out of political debates this year. The fact that it was not talked about, decreases its significance and more frighteningly allows people to continue pretending that it is not a big deal. However, the fact of the matter is, our world is in trouble and we need to do something now or we face the risk of decimating life as we know it.
When people hear the term “global warming,” they stop listening. They do not know why it’s important or they deny its existence all together. But you don’t have to be a scientist to understand why global warming is a threat. Most people are aware that glaciers are melting and that sea levels are rising, but they are unaware of all the implications that also come from the rise in global temperature. Global warming also causes “extreme weather,” including devastating spikes in hot and cold weather and “heavy precipitation” (IPCC 7). The heavy precipitation causes excessive flooding, while other areas experience severe droughts. Storms will become more life-threatening and wildfires will become even more difficult to control (Before the Flood). Additional problems will arise because “the ocean will continue to warm and acidify,” which will hurt the biodiversity of marine life (IPCC 10). The extinction of marine life will then cause excessive famine around the world since so many people are dependent on fish and other marine life as a food source. The scarcity of resources could result in wars across the earth for both food and water (Before the Flood).
Climate change is not being taken care of at the rate that it should be. Although the Paris Climate Summit was a movement in the right direction for decreasing carbon emissions, there are few methods to ensure that countries follow this agreement (Before the Flood). To make matters worse, actions made by President Obama may be circumvented due to the new shift in power from Democrats to Republicans. President elect Donald Trump has openly denied global warming and called climate change a “concept…created by the Chinese” (Trump). However, much like Fredrick Douglas’s belief about slavery, “there is nothing to be argued” (Foner 195). Global warming, like the immorality of slavery, is not a topic that should be up for debate. Allowing people to doubt climate change with such clear evidence present should not be acceptable. The science is there and the longer our politicians wear green tinted glasses, the longer they will continue to say that climate change is not real. Denying science is putting any positive efforts to help the environment on hold. It’s important to hear the opinions of others, but the longer we debate about the existence of climate change, the less time we will have to fix its detrimental effects.