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Climate Change

Climate change leads to a myriad of problems, such as: ocean acidification, reduced biodiversity and rising sea levels. However, all of this comes back to the main negative impact of a change in carbon stores in our system, causing temperature fluctuations that the world is not already adapted to.

Climate change is caused by changes in the proportions of gasses in the atmosphere, usually associated with carbon dioxide. This leads to the Earth retaining more heat, which may initially seem like a good thing, but global warming can be detrimental for the agricultural sectors that we globally rely on. The warming also then leads to glaciers melting, which then leads to sea levels rising and ocean temperatures cooling. Once again, this changes the global temperatures and weather patterns, meaning the expected climates become unexpected.

Whist changes in climate occur naturally and appear to have been doing so since the beginning of time, human activities have definitely been accelerating the natural changes in carbon dioxide, which is leading to the world’s climate changing.

If this continues at the rate it is occurring, the effects will spiral and lead to the world being uninhabitable and not fit to sustain its increasing population. Whilst we are trying to adapt to the changes occurring already, this is unlikely to be a sustainable approach if we don’t try to reduce emissions, as we aren’t adapting at a viable rate economically to enforce the levels of coastal management that would be needed, amongst other mitigation techniques.

The fact that our planet is dying, despite its imminence and magnitude, is met with a mix of apathy and resignation. It’s a statement we’ve all heard before, mixed with the same old messages to recycle more, drive less, and plant more trees. And so the observation that our planet is, quite literally, overheating as the forests decline and the ice caps melt and the sea levels rise and life on earth ends as we know it falls on the deaf ears of a government who sees it as a problem for the future and of a world too enraptured in the menial issues of the everyday. Of course, we have many problems. There’s knife crime and education and racism and cancer and the overbearing question of how a country deals with a referendum based on misinformation. But what is the point of that if the future, the very close, very real future, will end so shortly in flames?

The issue is getting people to care about something they’ve long been aware of, and long neglected. So we’ve had a hot summer, a hot winter even, but for most of the population the dictum appears that if the effects aren’t immediately obvious, they can be brushed aside. We all contribute to climate change, and at least for our generation the establishment has done a good job of training us about the evils of plastic bags and disposable straws, and the necessity of recycling. Some will choose to listen, many won’t. And it’s not enough to educate in the hopes that some people will listen, because although we all have a responsibility to do what we can, with the laziness of some and with the inability of others, there’s nothing to hold the 66 million people in the UK to account. Without authoritative action taken by the government, and the reining in of the 100 global companies that contribute to 71% of greenhouse gas emissions we are bound to fail.

Climate Change is a human issue fabricated within two centuries that has been on the government’s radar for decades, and besides the very recent introduction of plastic bag tariffs the noticeable change has been non-existent. Perhaps the government thinks it’s an issue for the future, or for other countries to deal with. But it’s not. Our contribution to climate change in the UK is the greatest of any country per capita, and, optimistically speaking, we have a limit of twelve years to reverse the effects before the change becomes permanent.

The 15th of March 2019 saw millions of teenagers globally striking in an attempt to get authorities to take action regarding climate change. The main goal was to get governments to declare an environmental crisis, which would mean that action would have to be taken to try to slow, or even reverse, the effects humans have had on climate change.

In Birmingham, over a thousand young people joined the strike at Victoria Square from local schools, protesting the imminent effects Climate change would have particularly on the next generation. An array of signs as colourful in language as in hue were reflective of the pre-planning that went into the event- not, as some teachers would suggest, an attempt to “slack off school”, but a dedicated attempt to make a difference about something that will affect us greatly, and yet we have no say in. Arguably, striking school is not the most impactful way to make a difference, but without a political say, with most attendees not having a vote, there a little options left. So it would be nice if all the adults being cynical and unsupportive could actually do something, rather than belittle us. We wouldn’t have to do it if you made a difference.

By Shaan and Seren, Year 13