Not that I blame our planet–that magical orb without which we would not exist. She gives us life, food to eat, water to drink, and air to breathe. She is the source of all known life in our solar system. In return, we pour pollutants into her atmosphere. We dump chemicals and pile up landfills on her surface, contaminating our ground water. We throw hazardous waste into her oceans. And she’s starting to resent us.
That’s right. She’s starting to resent us. This is only the beginning. For decades, scientists have warned us of the consequences of choosing consumerism over consideration of our planet. We’ve chosen the easy route instead, denying that climate change or global warming even exist. Conservatives have pointed out that the earth was already warming naturally, while environmental scientists have stated that the earth wasn’t warming up this quickly. The creatures on this planet don’t have enough time to adapt. And that includes us.
This isn’t just about increased temperatures and melting ice caps. Those were the preliminary signs. Now, we’re dealing with the aftermath. It isn’t pretty.
On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas. It was a Category 4 storm. Our scale only goes up to 5. Over 50 inches of rain was dumped on Texas, and parts of Houston and other cities suffered from major flooding. Over 70 people have been declared dead as a result of this natural disaster. It also caused upwards of $200 billion in property damages. Texas has never seen the like before.
Last Thursday, Mexico was hit with a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in over 100 years. Over 90 people have died as a result.
Where I live in central Washington, we too are feeling the effects of extreme weather changes. Every year, the droughts last longer, and extensive fires break out. Fires surround where I live, and that includes fires not only in Washington state. Canada has been fighting fires all throughout the summer. Montana, Oregon, and California have also suffered. As a result, smoke has hung over my area in a haze for a solid two months. School days have been cancelled, tourism has disappeared, and we haven’t seen the sun in months.
I’m not sure if the Earth is mad at us, but she sure is acting like it. A lot of suffering through cataclysmic storms, droughts, fires, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes have already occurred. Then, there’s today.
Today, Florida is getting hit with Hurricane Irma. It is the strongest hurricane in recorded history. Our hopes and prayers go out to the people of the Caribbean who have already survived this storm and must piece their lives back together, and to the people just now dealing with the enormity of a Category 5 Storm. I’m so sorry, Florida.
So, climate change is real (obviously). What can we do? There are things we can do, but at this point a lot of the damage is irreversible. There will still be consequences for the last century of abuse to our planet. However, we can recycle, start fixing our possessions instead of buying a new one every 5 seconds, maintain our cars rather than switch them out for new ones all the time, invest in alternative technologies, replace our lightbulbs with LEDs (this one is actually a big deal), plant more trees, have fewer children, and most importantly write our congressmen!! Gods help us, it’s the politicians who hold the real power to changing environmental policy. They hold private energy and vehicle companies accountable. Vote!! The EPA could also use some support from us before Trump does away with it entirely. We need the Environmental Protection Agency to set up regulations and clean up our messes.
Other countries need to do the same. We need to start caring about our home. There’s no other planet like it, and we need to stop damaging Earth any further.
I repeat: this is only the beginning. The 16 hottest years occurred in the last 17 years. Every storm seems to gain in strength in the Atlantic, and people are dying. These conditions aren’t going to improve. They’re only going to get worse.
So, brace yourselves. There’s a lot of momentum behind climate change, and we cannot even fathom the full extent of the damage that’s already been done.
Photo from The Telegraph