How Should the United States Address the Issue of Climate Change?
January 10, 2017
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One of the most divisive issues of the 21st Century has been climate change. It has caused many a rift between our political leaders and was one of the hottest topics during this year’s election. Although it may seem like the only issues brought upon by climate change are ocean levels rising and the average temperature increasing, there are other issues that come along with those that are rarely addressed. The fact of the matter is that 97% of the United States is aware of climate change, but only 49% believe that it is caused by human activity, and only 63% perceive it as a threat (Gallup Poll). These numbers reveal that we are not educating our people enough on the consequences of climate change and how much of a threat it actually poses to the human race.
Climate change is a highly debated and contested topic, even our President-Elect has said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” (Twitter). It is our nation’s responsibility to educate our citizens about the causes and repercussions of climate change. As aforementioned, only 63% of the United States perceives climate change as a threat, but everyday it constantly threatens our lifestyle.
The opposition often argues that there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of climate change. Most of the time people that argue the existence of climate change are people that have major stakes in companies that profit off of industries that cause climate change.
Our government needs to educate our people about alternative, renewable energy sources such as wind, water, and solar. Our traditional sources of energy, coal and oil, have done damage to our ecosystem, and if we switched to renewable energy we could help stop the irreversible damage being done to our ecosystem that directly affects our way of life.
Our government also needs to educate our people about the long term, detrimental effects being done to our ecosystem, because most people just think of sea levels rising when they think of the consequences of climate change. Our dependence on fossil fuels is causing our sea levels to rise, causing more frequent and more severe weather, higher death rates, higher wildlife extinction rates, more acidic oceans, a proliferation of mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, and more (National Geographic). If people knew the repercussions that go along with climate change they might make more of an effort to be more aware of their actions that might affect our ecosystem.
As well as our government educating our people about alternative energy sources, they also have to make an effort to switch to renewable energy sources. If we just preach about a problem and don’t set the example by actually making an effort to create change nothing will happen. Recently the whole country of Costa Rica converted to only using renewable energy sources and they successfully made it almost three hundred days without using any burning of fossil fuels or traditional energy sources (Science Alert).
Obviously something like this would take awhile to put into action, but you have to start somewhere. It starts with educating our people about climate change and educating them about the very real, scary threat that it poses. Until people know the threats we cannot force them to participate in something they don’t understand. It is our government’s responsibility to make change and to protect future generations from the consequences of climate change.