Why Students Should Care About Climate Change


Many young people are taking action by striking, as seen in this photo from the San Francisco Youth Climate Strike in 2019.

The issue of climate change has been a topic debated for years. It is a highly controversial topic in politics, with some politicians still disregarding the existence of global warming entirely. Although recently, as natural events have become more dramatic, climate change is being approached with an increasing sense of urgency. Climate change is not something that we can just stand around and watch, action needs to be taken. 

 In 2015, the Paris Agreement was formed. The agreement’s main goal was to limit the global temperature from increasing to lower than 2.7 degrees fahrenheit every year (UNFCCC, 2019).The agreement now has 195 signatures. This agreement is crucial because it helps outline the ways in which countries are going to limit the emissions that they input into the air.  Despite this, the United States unfortunately withdrew from the agreement in 2017 because President Trump felt that it would undermine the economy. 

 It is vital that officials come to an agreement to further the action against climate change. Just this year, the average temperature in the United States from January to August was 0.4 degrees fahrenheit above the average temperature of 54.3 degrees (NCDC, 2019). While this may not seem like a drastic change, when you look at each individual state it is more significant. The temperature in Florida this year is tied with its 2017 record of warmest temperature. The amount of 90 degree weather days in Virginia exceeded its usual amount this year. October has started and the summer weather in Virginia continues. 

This issue is not something that should be taken lightly. From 1970 to 2014, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased by 90% (EPA, 2019). CO2, which includes fossil fuels, is the largest greenhouse gas emitted into the air from a global standpoint. Due to this, the earth is trapping too much of these gases into the air, which is raising the global temperature (EPA, 2019). The effects of global warming can be detrimental to the environment. It has been proved a large amount of times that climate change is real and dangerous. If that is the case, why is action not being taken as seriously? The process of burning fossil fuels and deforestation is destroying our environment by emitting carbon into the air, so why are we not putting a stop to this?

It is up to young people to show big businesses and government officials that this is not an issue to be taken lightly; it is urgent and action needs to be taken now. There is no longer time to sit around and wait for something to happen. Students especially should be involved in this issue as change in policy and action surrounding climate change is crucial in providing a safe and healthy future for their generation and generations to follow. 

Not only can students press officials to put solutions in acton, they can also make small changes in their daily life to decrease their carbon footprint. One way to do that is by decreasing the amount of single-use plastic that is used in your daily life. Another way is by shopping for locally grown food because a lot of CO2 is used when getting food from where it was produced to your plate. There are many other ways that you can contribute to helping the planet, you just need to be willing to do them. 

Climate change is something that affects everyone on this planet. There is no planet B and once the damage is done to earth, it is irreversible. It is important to take the time to learn about how the environment is being affected and what you can do to help.