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The Aquilian

The Climate Crisis

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What makes us human? I’m serious; take a minute and think about it. What differs us from animals? Consider what you did just there, not thinking, but the subconscious choice to think. Our lives are based entirely on choices— from what to get for dinner to who to marry. We choose what clothes to wear, what house to buy and how to interact with our peers. So why shouldn’t we be able to choose what climate we want to experience? I am not talking about playing God; I am talking about choosing where to go on vacation, when to go outside or even where to live. With the rapidly changing climate, we are losing our ability to choose.

Most northerners look forward to winter. They love the snow, the cold and all the winter activities that come with the new season, but three months in, it starts to get tiresome. They start to hate the cold, the snow, and the winter activities, but that’s part of the process. It is our choice to hate winter, our right to wake up in the morning and curse the snow. 

Climate change is taking away that right to choose. If there isn’t winter, those choices are automatically not available. Realistically, those northerners are not going to lose their winter; they are just too far north. For me, in Washington, D.C., it is a real possibility. In the last two years, we have had snow less than six times, and only a few of those times did the snow last for more than a few hours. If we keep destroying the climate, the Washington D.C. area and other places like it will cease to have winters. The summers will grow longer and hotter and be harder to escape from. 

Climate Change Drought - Free photo on Pixabay
Photo from https://pixabay.com/photos/climate-change-drought-environment-4803653/

I am not writing this saying we must beware of what might happen; these changes are already occurring. On January 14, 2022 NASA released data stating that 2020 had tied for the warmest year on record. It is tied with 2016. The two hottest years of the last two centuries are within four years of one another. As the arctic ice sheets continue to melt, this trend will continue. It has been well documented that right now, right now, we are going through a sixth extension phase: the ​​Holocene extinction. Almost all scientists agree that this phase is here, now. This is our world. This will be our world. We will lose ecological diversity, and destructive weather events will become more frequent. We have set our world on a course of self-destruction, and without change, we will kill the beauty of Earth.

We have done irreparable damage to our planet, but it is not over yet. The beauty about life is that it evolves; we can still save life as we know it, but it will be a sacrifice. We must change our ways of life. We must move away from all fossil fuels, as soon as possible, but more importantly, change our diets. 

The meat industry produces 18% of all global greenhouse emissions.  We must decrease our reliance on animals for our food. In the U.S alone, we consume 27.3 billion pounds of meat in a year. There are also around 70 billion farm animals on the planet at any given time. The animals, the processing facilities, crops  and copious amounts of water needed to feed and keep these animals hydrated is unsustainable for our planet. If we have any hope of saving our planet, we must eat more fruits and vegetables. Biologically, we were raised to be omnivores with an emphasis on plants; that’s why we have back molars, to be able to chew plants and break them down. 

We need to live cleaner lives in our diets, what we drive and how we spend our time. Saving the planet will not be easy; it will take a group effort, but we can do it. We have the choice to save or destroy our planet, and I say we save it. We have to… for humanity.

 

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