Climate change threatens humanity, Earth

By Monica Mitrovic
Copy Editor

Illustration by Sophia Espinosa

February 2017 was the second warmest February in over a century of modern record keeping, according to scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. But that does not mean climate change is real.

Sea levels rising, glaciers melting, coral reefs dying, oceans warming up and greenhouse gas levels increasing certainly do not prove global warming is real. It is simply preposterous, the naysayers say.

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” President Donald Trump tweeted in 2012. But the U.S. is the second-place winner in the greenhouse gas emitter race, right after China, according to The New York Times.

Despite what some people may believe, climate change is very real and very dangerous.

Even employees of Royal Dutch Shell, the multinational oil and gas company more commonly known as Shell, admit climate change is real. According to nltimes.nl, an investigation by De Correspondent, a Dutch news website, into Shell’s lobbying and confidential internal documents revealed that in 1986, Shell knew oil and gas consumption would destroy the planet. “It is possible that the environment will be affected to such an extent that some parts of the Earth may become uninhabitable,” Shell officials wrote in the documents.

And some parts of the planet have already become uninhabitable. Five islands that used to be a part of the Solomon Islands have disappeared underwater, according to The Guardian. Six other islands had large portions of land washed into the sea. On two of those islands, entire villages were eradicated and islanders were forced to relocate, the researchers found.

The archipelago has experienced sea levels rising as much as 10 millimeters over 20 years, according to research published in the online journal Environmental Research Letters.

In the U.S., residents in Florida will have to relocate because of large-scale flooding. “Using the most conservative estimate of sea rise – three feet by 2100 – the team found that 4.3 million people are projected to live in coastal areas across the country expected to flood,” a team of researchers for a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said, according to the Miami Herald. Floridians account for 1.2 million of that total.

Greenland is slowly but surely melting. “From the Arctic to Peru, from Switzerland to the equatorial glaciers of Man Jaya in Indonesia, massive ice fields, monstrous glaciers and sea ice are disappearing, fast,” Daniel Glick, a National Geographic writer, said.

When glaciers and ice sheets melt, sea levels rise, oceans expand in volume and waters warm. The increase in volume results in more surface area to absorb atmospheric heat. Atmospheric heat rises because of trapped greenhouse gases, which have risen because of human activity.

The world has lost half its coral reefs in the past 30 years because of rising ocean temperatures, according to Time. Coral reefs support a fourth of all marine species and half a billion humans. Besides the slowly diminishing supply of land plants, coral reefs provide a great amount of the oxygen humans breathe.

Climate change is real, and we must acknowledge that. Humanity will face its own extinction event if things do not change. Earth is facing a sixth mass extinction event of plants and animals wrought by humans, according to The Anthropocene Review. Humans disrupt ecosystems worldwide with their careless activities and are killing the planet.

We develop space travel projects for terraforming the moon or Mars because soon enough, Earth will die, and with it, humanity. We must not turn a blind eye for profit or gain. We must band together to come up with solutions to repair damage already done and to save the planet.

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