By Carolina Puga Mendoza

carolina.pugamendoza@franklincollege.edu

The world is coming to an end, and people don't seem to care.

Weather is constantly fluctuating between hot and cold, animals are going extinct and the environment is ceasing to exist while people look for someone else to be held accountable. Even though we are the ones to blame, we fail to take responsibility.

According to Spencer R. Weart, former director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics, in his book “The Discovery of Global Warning,”people first charted changes in the atmosphere in the 1800s. The earth has called out to us for generations, but people refuse to take action.

The United States is used to letting these issues continue since our government, as the leaders of a capitalist superpower, fail to see them as critical to our economy.

But ignoring problems only allows them to multiply, creating a larger challenge. The list of consequences grows and grows, including everything from health issues, air pollution, extinction, limited food safety and, of course, the death of our planet.

The consequences might sound harsh, but according to Franklin College biology professor Alice Heikens, people already knew this would happen.

“Our earth is getting warmer, but we predicted this,” Heikens said. “I can pull out notes from [a class] I taught in environmental studies when I first came here 30 years ago. How many times do we hear about forest fires? We predicted this; we said these things were going to happen and they are coming true today.”

Climate change is not only affecting the weather, but also the environment, the economy and wildlife. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a global network for nature conservation, 2018 was recorded as the fourth year in a row with warmer weather. This rise in heat resulted in 14 natural disasters, costing the U.S. government about $1 billion, according to the WWF.

Global Change, a national research program concentrating on climate change, broke down how the phenomenon affects regions individually. The Midwest is seeing increased flooding; the West is experiencing more heatwaves and drought; the Southeast is facing more hurricanes. Other changes include rising temperatures, wildfires and extreme precipitation.

Still, every action matters. Even the smallest change in our daily lives can improve our hopes of saving what’s left.

Heikens suggests that students walk more instead of using cars, or turn the lights off when they aren’t needed. She said when buying a car, investigate the car’s mileage because that’s one of the major contributors to a person’s carbon footprint.

Heikens said students can even be environmentally conscious when buying a home. Students should look into the energy it uses and its insulation, for example.

“We know how to solve it,” Heikens said. “We’ve known how to solve it for decades. We simply don’t want to make the changes that are required because we would have to change the way we live.”

Young people across Indiana already started sharing their concerns through protests and a massive student-led strike in March. They are calling out their government for failure to act on an issue that’ll ultimately rob us of a future.

It all starts with a voice. When will you find yours?

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