Environmental issues have always been a hot-button political issue, and they have become even more important after the 2016 election. There are a lot of different aspects of the environment that have sparked debate, from rising sea levels to fracking. One of the most important factors affecting our environment today is the rapid and exponential rise of the overall global temperature.
2016 was the hottest year on record. The hottest year ever before that was 2015, and the record holder before that was 2014. In fact, 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. The data agrees — temperatures are rising. There's no denying it. The temperature is rapidly increasing at an average rate of .17 degrees Celsius since 1980. This is detrimental, because the change in temperature can cause a range of effects from rising sea levels to harsh weather and heat waves. Hurricane Harvey is a prime example of deadly weather that was helped along by climate change.
However, the rising temperature is bigger than Hurricane Harvey. If we were to reach a temperature that has risen more than 2 Degrees Celsius, we will be in huge trouble. These two degrees are so important because they will most likely result in longer droughts and heat waves, which will in turn affect our food supply and our ability to sustain the earth's population.
Now, how can you, as a college student, help? Simply be aware of your impact and spread the word. Make sure to recycle, be environmentally efficient, turn off the lights when you leave a room, bike to work and, most of all, lobby for change in environmental law.
At the end of the day, we only have one planet and one environment. We have to take care of the world we live in. We are heading toward the brink and if we go over the edge we won’t be able to save ourselves, and, many people refuse to see the effects of climate change all around us. They say "as long as it doesn't happen to me I don't care." However, it is happening to them. Without a major change right now, our children's generation will mostly likely live in a dying world. It is our problem, so we need to look towards our futures and recognize the importance of rising temperatures and climate change in general. .
Lead Image Credit: Vlad Shapochnikov via Unsplash