Climate change action is necessary and urgent

There’s still a chance to prevent catastrophe


Phil Roeder

The August 2020 midwest derecho caused damage such as this throughout the midwest, especially Iowa. “Derecho Damage” by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Elise Wood, Opinion Editor

I spent several years living in Iowa City, Iowa. The city has many trees, forests, and parks. Tornadoes were always common there, but during August 2020, Iowa City was hit by something called a derecho. A derecho is most easily described as an inland hurricane. According to the Washington Post, the one in the Midwest caused an estimated amount of damage higher than many hurricanes and was estimated to destroy more than half of the trees in nearby Cedar Rapids.

In recent years, severe storms and wildfires have become increasingly more common. As the climate changes, these rates will continue to rise. We need to recognize climate change as a real threat and take immediate action to address it.

Climate change is real, and the effects could be disastrous. As scientists complete more research, we can see that it could have catastrophic effects, and is already taking a toll. According to NASA, effects in the northwest region of the United States include “sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure and increasing ocean acidity.” In addition, “increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off.”

These are only the effects that we’re already seeing, and they can lead to destruction of entire habitats. NASA has also stated that “scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.” They explained that this will likely cause droughts, heat waves, stronger and more intense hurricanes, and sea level rise.

Scientists are in agreement that climate change is real, and that is largely caused by humans. Because scientists have done the research and have the information, it’s important for us to take their stances seriously. We need to recognize that climate change is a real and important threat, so that we can begin to work on solving the problem.

Right now, we still have the opportunity to reduce the effects of climate change and prevent catastrophe. Although we can’t completely prevent climate change, we can take steps that will greatly improve our future situation.

In a different article, NASA stated, “It may not be too late to avoid or limit some of the worst effects of climate change… It’s up to us what happens next.” There are many specific ways to help combat climate change, like choosing cleaner energy, driving an electric car, or using less water. We still have a chance to contain the effects of climate change, and we should use it.

Many people say that addressing climate change could cause many people to lose their jobs, and wouldn’t be worth it. Although it’s true that jobs in industries like oil or gas may be affected, our efforts to reduce climate change would actually create new jobs. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), “Twenty-four million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place.”

Taking action doesn’t necessarily mean leaving people permanently jobless. There will be many new available jobs. The benefits of beginning work on limiting climate change outweigh the disadvantages.

We need to make immediate changes as a nation and as a world to prevent catastrophes caused by climate change. We also need to adapt to the changes that are sure to come. The first step is to recognize the threat that climate change poses, and our responsibility for that problem. However, that’s not enough. We need to set goals and work to actually achieve them.

Transitioning to cleaner energy, using electric vehicles, reducing our waste, lowering our impact, and even educating girls worldwide are all parts of the solution. If we don’t do what we can to save our planet, we’ll find that we haven’t done what was necessary to save ourselves.