Climate change is real; we all must help fight it


Photo credit: Christian Riegler

Cynthia Scharf encourages change among students and teachers at the Wendt and Szabo lecture and simulation. Hackley’s HEAL has taken measures to assure such change by organizing events such as the FreeBee.

By Jamie Leonard, Guest Contributor

That Earth’s climate is changing is indisputable. According to NASA’s climate change department, 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and mainly caused by humans. This scientific consensus has been increasingly widely accepted among the American public. A 2016 Gallup poll found that 90% of Americans believe the climate has already begun changing or will at some point in the future. Even former Texas Governor Rick Perry, President Trump’s nominee for Energy Secretary, and historically, a prominent climate change denier, admitted during his hearing for the cabinet post that “the climate is changing” and “some of it is caused by man-made activity.”

Still, many powerful politicians today, including Perry, either fail to understand or refuse to acknowledge several crucial points.

First, reliable, fact-based, peer-reviewed climate change models have confirmed that continuing “business as usual” will have catastrophic consequences for the entire world, America included.

Second, scientists agree that more than “some” of climate change is caused by humans; indeed, human activity is the main driver behind climate change.

Third, as Drew Jones and Cynthia Scharf, Hackley’s Wendt and Szabo Lecturers, clearly demonstrated, the U.S. has both the ability and responsibility to take significant action regarding climate change. The Paris Agreement is a good first step, but further action will be necessary to avert climate change’s most disastrous effects.

In the face of such an abstract and far-reaching threat, individual actions may feel ineffective and pointless. In fact, the opposite is the case. Individual action, now more than ever, is crucial, and solitary actions have the potential to inspire others, and snowball to create real, large-scale change.

One avenue for change is through political engagement. The current presidential administration openly denies incontrovertible climate science. President Trump has stated that climate change is a false theory “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He has consequently deleted all mention of climate change from the White House website, and has threatened to back out of the Paris Agreement.

If the president will not encourage action, it is the people’s responsibility. Educate yourself and others about the dangers of climate change. Call your representatives and urge them to support action. Add your signature to petitions. A series of marches to encourage action on climate change – possibly inspired by the recent electrifying women’s marches across the country – are currently being organized to take place in March. Go march; this is not a partisan issue.

Finally, you can take small daily actions to benefit the environment. Reduce use of plastic water bottles. Carpool when possible and don’t idle your car. Be mindful of waste. Get involved with HEAL, the Hackley Earth Action League, which organizes environmentally-friendly events every year like the FreeBee, and which will explore a campaign to encourage Hackley to divest from fossil fuels. Be conscious of your carbon footprint. The threat of climate change is real, and we all have a part to play in mitigating its dangers.