Greta Thunberg and Climate Change: Is It Real?
Olivia Burke, Staff Writer
Is climate change real? Yes. Do we need to do something about it? Yes. Are we doing enough for it? No. Greta Thunberg is a young climate activist from Sweden. Starting in the summer of 2018 and subsequently every Friday, Greta started sitting outside the Swedish parliament. This was a subtle climate strike that aimed to bring awareness to the climate crisis happening. Eventually, she gained worldwide attention and in September of 2019, she led the largest climate strike in history. In December 2019, she was named Time magazine’s 2019 person of the year. However, her work is not done.
Based on scientific evidence, the planet is heating up and it is due to human activity. According to NASA, “the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.” According to the Climate Science Special Report, since 1900, the sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches but almost half of that rise occurred since 1993, and by 2100, it is expected to rise about 1-4 feet. Over the next three decades, annual average temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This will cause glaciers to melt at faster rates, ice sheets to decreasing in mass and extreme weather events to rise, such as hurricanes and forest fires.
Climate change is more than simply “the world getting warmer.” Even a slight rise in temperature caused from the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can cause disastrous consequences to weather patterns, coastal communities and places with low precipitation. The problems caused from this are exponential and will continue to get worse if nothing is done. The question then arises: are we doing enough to stop it, reverse it or even slow it down? According to Greta Thunberg, the answer is no.
This is a problem that should be at the forefront of every nation’s agenda. This will put future generations at risk. The danger with climate change is that it is a delayed process. For example, we are still suffering the consequences of burning fossil fuels from the industrial revolution. We can work to make our actions “more green,” but patience and faith is needed because it will take time to see real results, according to NASA. Individual actions can be done to help the environment such as cutting back on single use plastics, being cognizant of electrical devices that don’t need to be on all the time, carpooling more and buying local and less meat. However, it is up to big factories and corporations to make the biggest impact, which will only happen if the current administration believes that climate change is real. It is through leaders like Greta that hopefully actions will be made to lessen our harmful impact on our planet.