The State of Our Planet: An Opinion

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The State of Our Planet: An Opinion

Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

by Jayden Johnson, Contributor

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Our planet is being destroyed and humans seem to be doing nothing about it. Of course, there is a good handful of people that make the effort to drive less, go vegan, and avoid littering. But that handful of people is nothing compared to the mass amounts of corporations that consistently release carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.

The human impact on Earth is quite frankly, irreversible. In just 12 years, global temperature could reach unimaginable temperatures. In those years, the planet will begin facing extreme weather, rising sea levels, and melting polar ice.

Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record
This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution

Many people who put effort into “debunking” climate change state that the planet has experienced many forms of intense climate change naturally. This is correct, the Earth’s climate has changed through history. In the past 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, ending with the last ice age about 7,000 years ago. However, the current warming trend carries at 95% probability of being caused by human activity. Human activity has caused the climate to change at a rate that has never been predicted over decades.

In the late 19th century, the planet’s average surface temperature has rise about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit due to the large increase of carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. The oceans have absorbed the majority of this heat, 2,300 feet of ocean is showing a rise in heat of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.

These are just a few examples of how humans are impacting our planet, one could argue that these changes are naturally and humans just consequently happen to be living during the period where it occurs. One could also argue that the Earth’s climate does go through natural cycles of warming and cooling. However, our current warming is completely out of sync with previous cycles, it’s way higher. This is because of human activities such as burning coal, oil, and gas for energy and cutting trees to make way for agriculture.

Climate change is currently happening at an extent that cannot be explain by natural factor alone. The global scientific community widely agreed that the warming we are experiencing is man-made.

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