ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA
In the Antarctic a fiery sun scorches the floor. In the tropics a drought desolates the land. As the ice caps melt away and global sea levels rise, the countries of the world, namely the United States and China, remain perched on the smokestacks that led to this global crisis.
Indeed, climate change is a process that historically has occurred in the span of hundreds of thousands of years through the planet’s natural greenhouse effect—where greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat into the atmosphere which gradually warms the Earth. However, in the wake of the industrial revolution, the abundance of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere has amplified climate change’s global effects.
Leading the world in CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and second only to China, the United States is a key contributor to the outright destruction of the global climate. Thus, as the planet’s future spirals, it will take the combined efforts of the globe to mobilize against this planetary threat.
The debate of climate change is nothing new, but after years of inaction because of a government that drastically benefits economically from vast industrialization, and newfound data suggesting the cataclysmic effects that will occur in the next fifty years, the topic of climate change has become more important than ever. With that in mind, it will take the combined efforts of the world to protect the planet’s climate from further destruction. But change begins with us.
As Democrats and Republicans announced their 2020 presidential candidacies, the subject of climate change has once again surfaced amidst the heated debates of our nation’s economic crises and international relations. This topic continues to be hotly argued with no help from the forefront instigator of political controversy, our very own president, Donald Trump—who unsurprisingly continues to insist that global warming is nothing more than a hoax created by China.
By Trump’s avid and consistent dismissal of climate change throughout his candidacy, he has consequently bred a new wave of global warming denialists. Now, with a GOP party that actively repudiates climate change, legislation that would aid in the climate crisis are always shot down on the senate floor.
In fact, the legislation designed to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions would regulate industry to switch to renewable energy. As modern civilization’s carbon emissions and industrial activities are at an all time high, leading experts are forced to face the significant impact global warming causes. Each and every day, the population’s carbon footprint treks deeper than ever, spanning across thousands of miles, with no end in sight.
Fossil fuels, carbon emissions, pollution, toxic gases—you name it. Annually, billions of dollars are fueled into the world’s largest corporations that produce harmful materials as byproducts of their work. Yet again, these concerns are nothing new. Ironically enough, the biggest polluters on the planet are the ones who do the least to counteract its effects; and, for decades, environmentalists’ apprehensions have fallen upon deaf ears.
Take, for example, the Green New Deal, a bill, like its name entails, would staunchly reinvigorate the private and public sector of the economy through renewable energy sources. Yes, the bill was fiercely criticized from both sides of the aisle because of its economic proposals. However, the rationale behind the bill’s rejection has cemented climate change into a partisan issue—demeaning any type of reform on energy as socialisy.
During a CNN town-hall style debate, several Democratic presidential candidates passionately declared their stances as the matter of climate change and environmental justice took the floor, for almost the first time in our legislation’s history.
Most notably of the night came the solutions from the party’s foremost candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and several others who argued about the severity of climate change on people of color and of low income, citing how Hurricane Dorian spiraled out of control and wrecked havoc upon thousands of lives.
Even then, none of our candidates have been able to reach a viable solution. Climate change is not just something that can be solved by spending another trillion dollars dedicated to environmental research programs. As Harris states, the only way to truly “deliver justice” to those who are suffering is to first evaluate how much needs to be done.
In essence, what our administration fails to realize is that change is possible; it will happen and it begins with us. Though formidable, the existential threat of climate change needs to be addressed by our current and future legislation. As much as those individuals may choose to even reject its existence, let alone utilize the right funds for proper environmental solutions, it must be realized that our world is changing.