On November 23, 13 U.S. federal agencies came to the agreement that climate change is real and is an imminent danger to national security and the economy. They predict costs in the billions of dollars due to heat-related deaths, agricultural loss, rising sea levels and damage to infrastructure. Other reports show that climate change has already begun to take a toll on the earth’s habitability and will only get worse. The clock is ticking for damage control.
Yes, we’re inundated with horrible news about the state of the world, and we often feel powerless to do anything, but we encourage you not to let that stop you from trying to make a difference. We do have the power to change things. Take meaningful steps where you can and feel proud for doing everything in your capabilities to create a better world for yourself and generations thereafter.
What’s the best use of your energy to save the planet? Start with your diet. Animal consumption, especially beef, is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases on the individual level. Next semester, expect an informative dinner at Thorne Hall on what the greenhouse emissions of your dishes are. Contact your representatives—make addressing climate change and sustainability a requirement for your vote. The science on human-caused climate change has been conclusive for decades now, and it’s inexcusable for any elected official to deny it. Talk to your friends and family about climate change. Keep it in people’s minds and encourage them to make sustainability a priority in their lives.
Lastly, keep doing the small things you know you should be doing. Turn off lights, carpool, unplug unused electronics, do everything on the Green Living Commitment and most importantly, take care of yourself. Change can only happen if everyone has the energy and motivation to keep moving forward to make a better world.
Holden Turner ’21, Maxx Byron ’19, Ayana Harscoet ’21, Flora Hamilton ’21, Jillian Galloway ’21, Sophie Lewis ’21, Eugen Cotei ’21, Esra Park ’21 and Dylan Bess ’21 contributed to this op-ed.