Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n10)
Letters to the Editor - by Levi Wojtalik, Ben Ewer, and Noah Howson who are 8th graders at Center For Inquiry IPS school #384.
posted: May 12, 2017
Dare to be Aware. . . .of Climate Change
According to Tech Times, over one-hundred million people living in coastal regions will be displaced by just a one-yard rise in sea levels due to melting glaciers. 97% of scientists strongly believe this is because of the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, creating a change in global or regional climate patterns- therefore, heating the planet. For many, this phenomenon is given the title, "Climate Change." But there are some who have dismissed the reality of things and who have convinced themselves that these conditions are in some way pseudo. Our objective is to inform our fellow stewards of this planet on the validity of this matter and to forewarn them of the desolating possibilities for the future.
Temperatures on Earth have increased approximately 1.4 degrees since the early twentieth century. All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. In addition to this, for three consecutive years now, the planet has experienced record temperatures, 2014 being named the hottest year in history, followed by 2015 and then 2016 acclaiming that entitlement also. Global sea level rose about 6.7 inches in the last century, however, the rate in the last decade is nearly double that of the last century. Both the thickness and extent of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. Glaciers are retreating in most areas around the world including in the Alps, Himalayas, the Rockies, Andes, Africa, and Alaska.
These are all prime examples of how the climate is undoubtedly changing and how these changes are occurring in an extremely rapid manner-so brisk that is has become an international dilemma. The question still remains as to what could happen if no global preservation efforts are put into place.
Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are expected to continue to increase, most likely influencing an increase in Earth's average temperature, reduced ice, snow cover, and permafrost. Additionally, an increase of acidity in the oceans and the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of extreme weather/Earth related natural disasters are predicted to occur. Along with higher sea levels and shifted ecosystem characteristics, scientists also believe that the way the Earth is so intensely changing will impose increased threats to human health. This is presumed to be a byproduct of the carbon in the air that is penetrating and depleting essential layers of the atmosphere, specifically the Ozone layer. These protective layers help keep out destructive electromagnetic waves from the sun, such as ultraviolet rays. These rays, as you may know, cause sunburn and can lead to deadly cancers and illness later in life. When these defensive layers are subtracted from, the effects of the rays that can now reach the Earth would be extremely consequential.
As is probably most obvious, the rapidly rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have resulted in sea level rise, stronger storms, global warming, more droughts, and a loss of sea ice. If these conditions continue to progress and become worst, the possibilities for the future become more and more devastating. It is fundamental and almost our duty to inform others of these facts and to instruct them on how action must be taken to prevent further extremities for the future.
Go to https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-about-climate-change or http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/Solutions/What-you-can-do/ for ideas of ways that you can take action at home, work, school, and more to help protect the climate, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, and save money. Take action today! Small steps add up, if we all do our part.