Climate change must be solved


Rachel Leman

I read the news for politics. I find American politics fascinating and important for my life. I vote, so I read the news. While recently there has been no shortage of political news, there’s simultaneously an abundance of weather-related news. I used to skip over those stories because I didn’t find them as interesting as the straight-up politics. But then a UN climate change report came out and said we only had 12 years left of moderate climate change consequences. That’s when I realized that these weather stories were just as political as everything else.
Climate change is real. Anyone who says differently isn’t paying attention. In my lifetime, there have been more major hurricanes around the world within the last few years than I can remember of any other time. Hurricane Katrina used to be the only one ever acknowledged. Now there’s Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Patricia, Michael. The list just keeps growing.
There’s also rapid changes in weather, from one extreme to the other. Cold temperatures are colder and hot temperatures are hotter. Droughts, rising sea levels and wildfires are already happening at an increasing rate; now scientists are reminding us we’re dangerously close to it getting so much worse.
By 2030, if humans don’t collectively decrease the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, 99 percent of coral reefs will die, the number of heat-related deaths and climate-change related poverty will skyrocket, plants and insects will lose half of their habitat and all currently observed effects will be worsened. There will be more hurricanes, more droughts and more wildfires. In short, it’d be catastrophe.
That’s all easy to say, but it’s much harder to stop. It’s not as much on individual people as it is on the collective world governments. This isn’t an issue about sovereignty or war or money. This is about the survival of humans as a whole. Political parties and alliances aside, something has to be done.
Think about it like “Game of Thrones.” (If you’re not caught up, spoilers.) Jon Snow is King in the North. The North has declared independence from the Iron Throne, but Daenerys Targaryen disagrees. They are political enemies, but they both know the true threat is the white walkers, so they band together to defeat them. Of course, we don’t yet know if they win, but we do know that they have agreed to put their political differences aside until the real enemy has lost.
Climate change is our Night King. It must be defeated before any other political problem. For us individuals, our role is simply to vote for the candidates that will support this pressing endeavor. We have 12 years to elect senators, representatives, judges and presidents that will work to stop the catastrophe that currently awaits our species.
Let’s save the apocalypse for fiction.