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Impending End? Or Can It Be Prevented?

By: Lauren Suh


Environmental crises are no strangers to the people of the 21st century. Especially in 2022 and now in early 2023, people around the world are facing numerous environmental problems. Starting with the wildfires in California to flooding in numerous parts of the world, Mother Nature has raged incessantly with countless natural disasters. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), there have been a total of 66,255 wildfires in the U.S. over the course of a year. The statistics also show that more than 7,534,403 acres of forestland have burned, causing nearly $11.2 billion in damage. After further research, scientists also found that nearly 85% of all wildfires were caused by human influence, as wildfires are often triggered by neglected cigars, pollution, campfires, and flammable trash.

Disasters like wildfires release excessive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. Carbon dioxide is a chemical compound that, when released, heats the atmosphere and contributes significantly to climate change and global warming. According to the European Commission, forest fires released a total of 1,455 megatons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2022.

In addition to fire emissions, an average of another 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide was emitted by motor vehicles. With this amount of carbon dioxide entering the air, the natural greenhouse gasses that balance the Earth's temperature are out of balance and failing. Temperatures begin to change, and things like precipitation and weather patterns begin to change as well. As a result, certain areas of the world are experiencing droughts, while others are dealing with floods and typhoons. Scientists even predict that at this rate of fluctuating weather patterns, parts of the Earth could become inhabitable within a few decades.

Ever since people began noticing the signs of climate change, masses of people have been campaigning to combat it. With the fate of future generations in mind, environmental organizations have launched several campaigns to raise awareness about climate change, pollution and global warming. Australia's Project GetUp! campaigned to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and in late 2021, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) launched the hashtag #ClimateChangedMe to raise awareness. Schools have even started recycling activities to teach students from a young age that proper recycling has a great impact on the environment and their health.

As humans living on this earth, it is our duty to help protect the environment from harm. Our earth is already damaged and it is time to take action to prevent worse. To achieve this, we can take even the smallest steps, such as recycling properly on a regular basis.

With strict rules for separating plastics, paper, vinyl and more, South Korea is a country with one of the highest recycling rates in the world. By simply following the recycling system that has already been developed, we ourselves are helping the environment. Even this small action can have a positive impact on the health of the planet. When we recycle properly, trash is less likely to get mixed up or end up in the wrong place, which is one of the main causes of pollution. Less pollution can also lead to many other outcomes, such as cleaner air, fertile land, and can even affect the Earth's temperature.

All in all, our Earth is currently in danger. A variety of natural disasters, as well as pollution and excessive carbon dioxide, are slowly killing our planet. In times like these, it is crucial that we are aware and educated about the causes, consequences, and solutions to the problems. For the good of the Earth and future generations, we must take action to preserve the Earth for as long as possible.



Works Cited:

"CAMS: Monitoring Extreme Wildfire Emissions in 2022." Copernicus, 13 Dec. 2022, atmosphere.copernicus.eu/cams-monitoring-extreme-wildfire-emissions-2022#:~:text=According%20to%20estimates%20from%20the,1%2C455%20megatonnes%20of%20carbon%20emissions. Accessed 18 Feb. 2023.

Decoding Climate Change: Why You Should Worry about Earth's Systematic Death. 4 Nov. 2021.

IFRC. www.ifrc.org/press-release/new-climatechangedme-campaign-sounds-global-alarm-%E2%80%9C-climate-crisis-here-and-we-need#:~:text=The%20%23ClimateChangedMe%20campaign%20launched%20by%20the%20IFRC%20aims%20to%20raise,leaders%20to%20address%20climate%20change. Accessed 18 Feb. 2023.

Lytton, Charlotte. "Top 10: Climate Change Campaigns." The Guardian, 15 Nov. 2013, www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/nov/15/top-10-climate-change-campaigns. Accessed 18 Feb. 2023.

Sleight, Mandy. "U.S. Wildfire Statistics 2022." Bankrate, 22 Sept. 2022, www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/wildfire-statistics/#:~:text=Between%202021%2D2022%2C%20wildfires%20accounted,damage%20across%20the%20United%20States. Accessed 18 Feb. 2023.

"2022 North American Wildfires." CDP, 19 Jan. 2023, disasterphilanthropy.org/disasters/2022-north-american-wildfires/#:~:text=The%20National%20Interagency%20Fire%20Center,59%2C733%20fires%20and%207%2C333%2C776%20acres. Accessed 18 Feb. 2023.





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