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I’m heated

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Emilee Wentland

More stories from Emilee Wentland

The Earth is dying and for some reason, not enough people seem to care

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It’s almost universally accepted that climate change is due to human activity. After all, 97 percent of climate scientists believe this to be true, but what are we doing wrong?

The short, simple answer to this question is “pretty much everything.” However, there are things that people do to try to slow down or potentially reverse climate change. The long (better) answer to my question will probably take the semester to explain. Try to stay with me.

Practices such as recycling, the zero waste movement and swapping foods in our diets are often associated with preserving the environment or even delaying global warming. Driving everywhere in cars, the fast fashion industry and excessive plastic usage could have the opposite effect.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans think the United States should do “whatever it takes” to preserve the planet, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey. So why aren’t we?

Another Pew survey from the same year found 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning people thought doing so would cost too many jobs. However, the sustainability industry has created over one million jobs since 2011 and the annual wages are about $5,000 above the national average, according to Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps.

Americans typically aren’t very environmentally-friendly.

Last year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to revive the coal industry and, in turn, nullify former President Barack Obama’s efforts to slow climate change, according to The New York Times. Additionally, CNN reported last June that POTUS withdrew from the Paris climate accord.

A National Geographic report from 2012 listed Americans as the “least likely to suffer from ‘green guilt’ about their environmental impact.” How lovely. Incidentally, the United States is behind the rest of the word in green initiatives, according to the same report.

This needs to change.

I’ll admit I’m at fault here, too. I drive everywhere, I drink out of plastic to-go cups and I continue to order clothes from fast fashion stores online even though I know the negative environmental effects. I try to do what I can, but I think I’ll always feel like it’s not enough.

Americans could benefit from upping the ante on their green initiatives. For instance, we could survive to the end of the century rather than meeting humanity’s impending doom. It’s incredible what we could achieve if we stopped living in ignorance, like saving the polar bears or stopping Florida and Venice from flooding.

This semester, as I dive into the horrific topic that is global warming, I’ll analyze harmful practices around the world that are ruining the environment and maybe leading us to a very different planet than what we’re used to. On the other hand, I’ll research things that help the environment. I’d like to save the world, after all; I may as well look at the positive side of things.

I’m planning to look into the meaning and effects of buying and selling organic products. Because I play a part in it myself, I’m looking forward to analyzing the consequences of the fast fashion industry and stores like Forever 21 and H&M. I’ll also delve into the zero waste movement and other efforts to protect the environment like veganism or minimalism.

Stay tuned for a semester of (over-) analyzing global warming and probably a rant or two. Let’s face it, folks, I’m heated.

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