Climate change is an issue that has been brought up quite frequently in the news and always sparks a heated debate. Why do the American people refer to climate change as a political issue rather than the environmental issue that it truly is? According to NASA, climate change can be defined as “a change in the usual weather found in a place.” Looking at the recent hurricanes, and melting icecaps that have been in the media, these events can easily be labeled as a change in the usual weather patterns. Whether you believe that climate change is a threat to the Earth or not, it is important to become familiar with the studies and factual information that do an honest job of explaining climate change.

Climate change is a result of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor, building up in the ozone layer and creating a greenhouse effect, which causes a warmer environment. There are a lot of these extra gases being emitted into the atmosphere almost completely due to human activities such as deforestation, burning fossil fuels, break down of landfills, and farming.

With gases continuing to increase their presence in the ozone layer, causing the temperature of the Earth to rise, there are quite a few negative effects that could be looming around the corner. As temperatures proceed to get higher, the icecaps melt and ocean water expands, causing sea levels to increase. Different regions of the United States will become subject to unusual weather conditions. Here in the Midwest, floods, rain, and heat will ruin the industry we rely heavily on: agriculture. This could possibly result in an economic crisis, with fewer jobs and a less profitable primary business. Not only will America be affected, but this is a worldly issue. Weather will change everywhere, with an increase in hotter average temperatures, droughts, heat waves, and extremely strong hurricanes will eventually become normal in a matter of years unless action is taken.

A practical solution could be alternative energy sources. Windmills and solar panels will help to lessen the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Another option to consider would be battery powered cars, planes, trains, and other heavily polluting means of transportation.

Abby Yerkes, a senior at Westside, believes there is cause for concern. “I view it as something that could be dangerous to us personally because it’s something we can’t control and if it gets out of hand, the human race might one day wipe out. I think it’s a real issue because this winter we barely got snow around the time that we usually do. It was warmer than usual.”  Yerkes said.

If you would like to learn more about the scientific evidence behind climate change, I would strongly recommend a visit to climate.nasa.gov, the main information source for this article. The most important thing to do is to educate yourself, whether or not you truly believe climate change is a real issue that the people of the world face. Without possessing the knowledge of this dilemma, you will never be able to truly grasp the problem and form an opinion. Don’t let your ignorance of a potentially very threatening problem, hinder your willingness to take action.

story by natalie gill, photos by elliot evans

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