Changing Environment


Photo credits: Rolling Stone. This image shows Texans walking through frigid weather to get their groceries.

The changing environment has been a consistent threat to all living beings on Earth. In the past couple of decades, the problem has progressed and is in dire need of correction. With temperatures rising worldwide and the ozone layer degrading, it is up to the people to prevent further damage. Bill Gates even went as far as to say that solving the coronavirus pandemic will be easier for mankind than dealing with the effects of climate change. 

News channels worldwide have been buzzing about the winter weather crisis in Texas. Three extreme winter storms swept the state this year during the month of February. Residents encountered extraordinary amounts of snow and agonizingly cold temperatures. Most notably the storm caused power grid failure, resulting in citizens left to suffer in frigid weather without proper heating. To top it off, when the power finally returned, homeowners were left to deal with frozen and damaged pipes. At least 58 people lost their lives due to circumstances caused by the storm, such as house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, and car crashes. This is just the most recent example of the threat posed by extreme weather events that are becoming more and more frequent, which begs the question as to why all this is happening. 

In addition to the changing environment, these issues stem from varying political beliefs about climate change. Texan lawmakers lacked consensus on whether climate change is a problem that was even worth addressing. During the time of the storm, there was no standard winterization plan: power plants were not ready and Texas was not connected to any other power grids. This highlights the lack of initiative taken by politicians within the state to fight, but also to even address climate change. 

Upon looking internationally one can see other countries are also struggling with climate change, however, several lawmakers abroad are taking the initiative to deal with the issue. A notable example is how Chinese government officials are dealing with the Chinese ozone layer problem. The main culprit of the depleting ozone layer, the primary source of protection against ultraviolet rays, was China’s emission of CFC-11, which is a chemical primarily used for home insulation. Studies also show that 40% to 60% of total emissions were coming from eastern China. After reviewing the results, Chinese authorities immediately took action and enforced new measures that clamped down on emissions of CFC-11. This is all in an effort to protect the ozone layer that is expected to be healed by 2050. This example matters because it shows the potential positive impacts of authorities who recognized their mistake and quickly changed for the better. 

Students at Hackley School can become active participants in furthering the efforts against climate change. It is important for students to understand that their voice is just as important as any other activists, if not more. The HEAL club aims to spread awareness about such issues and urges more students to join the movement. If making one’s voice be heard is an uncomfortable act, students can also simply be mindful of the decisions they make on a daily basis, such as recycling. Hopefully, as students, we can all do our part to fight for our future and our planet’s future.