The Recent Effects of Climate Change and What You Can Do.
Even though it is hurricane season, you may be wondering how three Category 4 hurricanes hit the U.S. within nearly three weeks of each other. The answer is simple: Climate change. Climate change has caused the Earth’s surface temperature to rise dangerously and although it was not the primary cause of the hurricanes, climate change did make them drastically worse. The warmer the air is, the wetter the storms will be, as warm air absorbs more moisture. Thankfully, climate change is not an unfamiliar phrase to many people. However, knowing how we, as a school community, can better help our environment may be a new concept for some. Considering how many people are affected by climate change on a daily basis, we should always be looking for ways to help.
In order to aid the millions of people affected by Harvey and Irma, the best thing we can do is donate. Donating money is particularly helpful, as many charities have expressed how counterproductive donating material items can be. Donating materials can delay other, more urgent, donations from arriving, and more often than not, a lot of it goes to waste. Some organizations putting monetary donations toward helping those affected by Irma, Harvey and Maria include Houston Food Bank, Florida Food Bank and Hispanic Federation.
In terms of helping the environment in light of these disasters, how can Packer be more sustainable? Let’s start small: plastic lids and plastic straws. When you throw out your plastic, it gets transported to one of the thousands of landfills in the U.S. The toxic chemicals from the plastic at the bottom of these landfills are constantly leaking out into groundwater and contaminating our rivers, lakes, and all the organisms within them. Packer’s constant supply of straws and lids adds a huge amount of plastic waste. Instead, Packer can take away these plastic amenities and put a stronger emphasis on bringing our own water bottles to school, and using the water fountains.
“No one is at fault,” said Becca Horwitz (‘18), leader of Earth Club, “but if the collected student body decides to use water bottles and everyone brings their water bottles and no one complains, then we will be able to transition from cups to water bottles.”
Banning plastic is one thing, but could it actually have a difference? Becca thinks so.
“Waste in the cafeteria is one of the most prominent issues with Packer’s sustainability, so cutting back on cups will cut back on a lot of the waste,” she said.
In terms of future plans for making Packer more environmentally friendly, Becca says The Earth Club is also “in the process of discussing solar panels.”
Finally, whilst at least 1.7 million children have had their education put on hold, how can we use ours to benefit them and those who will be affected by future storms? We should educate ourselves about climate change, what its effects are, and how to bring attention to it. Teachers should optimize their position in the classroom to bring to light the seriousness of climate change, and hold class discussions about students’ views on the issue. With social media at our fingertips, we should make it our responsibility to share with others what we have learned, both from seeing climate change’s deadly effects, and how, as a nation, we can work towards a more sustainable future.