Travel. The act of making a journey. We all want to see the world, right? Imagine it, sipping an expresso at Café de la Paix, taking in the view from the top of the London Eye, or sailing along the clear blue waters in Naxos. The problem is, we have an estimated twelve years to do so before gradually increasing temperatures wreak havoc on our Earth. Just a few degrees Celsius will bring tidal waves to flood our coastlines, droughts to scorch the land, and extreme heat to put an end to the agriculture that many poor countries depend on. It seems as though there is no avoiding the impending downfall of our civilization. Apparently, our fate is sealed and there is nothing we can do but surrender to this quickly approaching pandemic. Obviously, the United States feels this way because our President made clear his intent to withdraw from the Paris agreement back in 2017, which is an agreement formed within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although, no country can possibly withdraw from this agreement until four years after it went into effect, making the year 2020 a pivotal point in our fight as a country against climate change. This means the winning candidates in Washington, D.C. come the 2020 elections will choose whether these countries work as a united front to fight climate change, or perhaps we could build a wall high enough to block the tidal waves? Of course, there is also the extreme heat and drought we must take into consideration… if this does not scare you into the polls I do not know what will.
Whether or not we withdraw from the Paris agreement does not change the fact that we must make changes in our daily lives to help the environment in any way we can. There are small acts, such as carpooling and using recyclable bags rather than plastic, that can make even the slightest of difference. Changes in your diet can also reduce your impact. By avoiding meat
and dairy, we can save the wild areas that are being wiped out for agriculture use. An article in The Guardian states that 86% of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. Avoiding the consumption of animal and dairy products can significantly decrease environmental damage. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” says Joseph Poore, a leader of research at the University of Oxford.
Also, weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels may be a slow-moving train but the importance cannot be stressed enough. The National Wildlife Federation shares that America’s transportation system is overwhelmingly dependent on conventional petroleum oil, which is not only responsible for 20% of our climate change pollution, but also threatens our economic prosperity because we spend $1 billion every day on foreign oil. This is why the development of clean, renewable energy sources is vital to erasing our ghastly carbon footprint. In the near future, ideally every home should make the transition to new forms of electricity generation- whether it be solar, wind, etc. The world is waiting for us to take the first steps. If every person did their fair share of taking care of the planet, imagine where we could be twelve years from now.