Commentary: Climate Change, real and occurring

The Butterfly Effect: The phenomenon whereby localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. In other words, a change you may think is miniscule can make a big difference somewhere else in the world. Humans may think we have little to do with climate change, but in fact, 84 percent of greenhouse gases are emitted by human activities.

With the damage this does to the ozone, studies conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change find that if humans stay the course they’re currently on, the Arctic Ice Caps will melt entirely by 2050.

“There is natural climate change,” biology teacher Christa Shulters said. “I believe that there is also enhanced climate change, which is where humans are contributing. I think the combustible fuels are the primary contributors to those enhanced greenhouse gases. It doesn’t just include carbon dioxide, but includes man made chemicals and methanes.”

According to Shulters, one way humans can reduce their carbon footprint is by acknowledging they’re creating one. Some deny the existence of climate change altogether, though the facts presented seem to outweigh the nay-sayers, with the Environmental Protection Agency reporting 30 billion tons a year of greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

“Anything that lets out Carbon Dioxide or Methane is a cause of climate change,” chemistry teacher Charles Miller said. “One of the bigger sources is the livestock industry, cows are a big offenders of pollution. Even the cars we drive are horrible pollutants to the ozone.”

Ways to reduce a carbon footprint include driving electric cars, carpooling, buying local goods and even switching out regular light bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs. Realizing the impact humans make on the earth is to know how to try to treat it better.

“I think more than anything this year I found out is that it’s important that we educate folks on their contributions,” Shulters said. “One of the things I learned is that a lot of folks see it as, ‘if somebody else is doing it then I don’t have to worry about changing my own habits.’ But if we all think like that, then we just make things worse.”
People are encouraged to make positive changes today in order to ensure a prosperous and healthy earth in years to come.

“At the rate we are going, the climate is going to be altered for the worse,” Miller said. “It will affect not just the weather we get here in Fenton, but weather worldwide as a result. The oceans will be affected, land will be affected, everyone will be affected by this. We need to start looking to alternative sources, such as solar panels, to fulfill our energy needs and we need to stop burning things that have carbon in them.”