Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Climate change is a real and threatening danger

Climate change cannot keep dividing us politically
(Flickr Creative Commons: United Nations Photo)

In recent years, our world has seen an increased amount of consciousness about climate change and environmental harm. We are constantly reminded to recycle, turn the lights off when we leave a room and carpool as much as possible. Some of us have even opted for more expensive options in order to reduce our carbon footprint, like installing solar panels or buying electric cars.

However, three important new reports have come out within the last month that show our efforts haven’t had much of an effect on the trajectory on climate change.

In early October, the United Nations released a report that projected a climate crisis by 2040. Another of its studies said that our globe must triple its efforts to combat climate change in order to avert the dangers await. The Trump administration itself even released a report on Black Friday that said the economy could suffer immensely from climate change.

Despite all of these research documents, many Americans are still skeptical of climate change. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in a report from Gallup, “54 percent of Americans do not believe global warming will cause major problems within their lifetimes.”

What is even more startling is that our president, who holds a great responsibility as the leader of one of the most-polluting countries on Earth, doesn’t seem to take seriously, nor believe in, the incoming realities of climate change. On Thanksgiving, Trump mockingly tweeted, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

Today, the issue of climate change has become polarized, treated among politicians and constituents more as a policy problem to be debated along partisan lines. In a class of mine here at the University of Massachusetts, one of my professors began to speak on the topic of global warming. Before delving into the issue, they prefaced the discussion with “for those of you that believe in climate change.”

Treating the problem of climate change as an issue that can be debated is not an idea that we can continue to enforce and legitimize. The United Nations estimated “there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.” This means the dangers of climate change are no longer a distant issue to be left to future generates – it is an urgent matter that we will all have to face within our near lifetime.

In August, the Seattle Times wrote, “Partisan identification is now a bigger wedge between Americans than race, gender, religion or level of education.” Our news systems are plagued with headlines of politicians going head to head over various issues. If this same divide continues to stalk the pressing affair of climate change, there will be little to no talks of change – all productive discourse and actions will be halted due to the inability to realize any agreement or compromise on the reality of compromise (and this is currently happening – many conservatives refuse to recognize the dangers of climate change).

If we can’t agree climate change is a real and pressing issue, how can we even begin to make any changes to the policies that dictate our emissions – the policies that urgently need to be addressed?

There are a few things we can individually do to decrease our carbon footprint. Eating less meat, unplugging devices, driving less and recycling are all small things we can do every day. However, what is probably most important is realizing that individually, we cannot change the trajectory of climate change.

We must completely change our outlook on climate change. We can’t let it continue to exist only as an issue that we lightly argue about in and outside of classrooms. We need to hold our politicians accountable to treat climate change seriously, as well as treating it with seriousness in our day-to-day lives. If we don’t, our lives will be at stake.

Irina Costache is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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    NITZAKHONDec 7, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Veeeery interesting how the alarmism, whether for “warming” or “cooling”, has been going on for quite some time.

    A brief history of climate panic and crisis… both warming and cooling

  • N

    NITZAKHONDec 3, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Which climate are you protecting?

    Today’s climate? The climate during the “little ice age”? The climate during the Medieval Warming Period? During the Roman empire?

    What’s the maximum PPM of CO2 that earth has seen?

    Try being an informed person and read skeptical information too. Weigh both. A side that relies on fraud – provable fraud – and outright deception including concealing sources, data, and methods as the Warmists due should be suspected by thinking minds.

    Climate Change: The Facts