The True Costs of Climate Change
Written by: Hallie Wong
I find that the best thing about nature is the beauty of it. The brilliant colors of flowers in the summer and spring, the fiery vibrancy of the leaves that fall in autumn, the shimmer of the sun glimmering through the clouds onto the snow in winter. And those are just the sights. Then, of course, there’s beauty in the symphony of sounds that echo from nature. The thundering rush of waterfalls, the whistling gusts of the wind, the pattering of rain dripping from the clouds. Then the tastes! Sugary honey fresh from the comb, ice cold water from streams, crisp and sweet fruit from the trees and the bushes. The scent of flowers in the wild, of dark soil under fingers, of salty sea water on the beach. And of course, the feelings! The touch of coarse sand in your hands, of velvety flower petals on your skin, of cold wind slipping across your face.
I grew up in Colorado, so I’ve seen all this. Just writing this, I can easily picture every single thing I’ve written, effortlessly conjuring the scenes into my head. I have lived here my entire life, being able to hike trails, paddleboard lakes, ski mountains. The last one is my favorite. I’ve been skiing since I was four years old, racing down the slopes, right behind my parents, trekking through powder to the lifts, sipping hot chocolate as a blizzard raged outside. Unfortunately, that’s all starting to go away.
When we first moved into our house, in 2007, it was April, and there was a foot of snow on the ground outside. Today, only ten years later, it’s March, and outside, it’s been 70°F and sunny all month. When I first skied, there was often a fresh dusting of snow on the ground, and we’d have to bundle up tight to keep warm. Now, the snow is slushy, and we ski with our jackets unzipped and skipping our gloves all together.
It just makes me sad, knowing that if we continue on the path that we’re on, one day, we won’t even be able to ski anymore. Snow just isn’t what it used to be, and someday (maybe soon) it will cease to exist altogether. I would hate to see the day when grandparents are sitting around, telling their grandchildren of that mystical time called “winter” when it was still cold outside, and white covered the ground. As I said before though, if we continue on this path, that may become a reality.
So, what’s causing this, exactly? Everyone’s heard of climate change. Yes, there are some who will still deny it’s existence, but the truth of the matter is: the Earth is heating up, and humans aren’t helping solve the problem. Most scientists agree that “the Greenhouse Effect” is the primary cause of climate change. This happens when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. We, the human race, use fossil fuels (such as coal, natural gas, and crude oil) to power everything. The thing is, while we may think of these resources as expendable, they aren’t. Not only are these nonrenewable resources, but they also pollute the air, only continuing to heat the atmosphere.
Naturally, the next question is: What are we going to do about it? There is no single solution to the issue of climate change. The first ideal solution is a new way of energy efficiency. The energy that’s used to power houses, run cars, and heat buildings is the single largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, and thus to global warming. Retrofitting our current methods of energy usage, and finding a better usage of renewable resources, would greatly benefit the earth. Along those lines, we should also begin to phase out the greenhouse gases that we currently use. We can replace them with the renewable resources, moving towards a the reversal of global warming and a sustainable world, benefiting both the earth and it’s inhabitants.
In conclusion, climate change is ruining the earth. Everything that I love about nature is melting or not growing or dying because of what’s happening. The best and most helpful thing that we can do now is to just do everything we can to help save our planet, by implementing renewable energy in our communities, planting trees, and finding news ways to make our way of life energy efficient and non-harmful. This shift is possible and its already happening in many ways. Let's make these changes together and walk down the path to a sustainable future.