Climate Change: Tipping the Scale

In 2017, I had the opportunity to work as a writer for a United Nations movement, Every Woman Every Child. This groundbreaking group of 8 or so people working in the basement of the UN building are fighting for advocacy and mobilization of government efforts to support women and children around the world. During my time there, I focused on writing articles that affect the entire world population, which in turn, affect the health and safety of women and children everywhere.

In November of 2017, I was given the assignment to write an article over climate change. I immediately thought back to growing up in small-town Indiana, where many people either believed that climate change was a hoax, or that it probably existed, but it was not a personal problem, and therefore, should just be ignored.

Climate change is still a very real threat to our planet, so I updated my article a bit and posted it below.

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“I don’t care about climate change.  It doesn’t affect me.”

The glaciers are melting. For example, the glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains in Africa used to close off surrounding regions with freezing “microclimates.” These freezing temperatures would not allow malaria-carrying mosquitoes to live, which protected the people from this deadly disease. Now that the ice is melting, the area is being plagued by malaria.

“But, I don’t care about climate change. It doesn’t affect me.”

Due to rising temperatures and drought, Australia has been hit by devastating bushfire. The air is toxic, many homes have been destroyed and lives have been lost.

“But, I don’t care about climate change. It doesn’t affect me.”

Our coastlines are shrinking. As aforementioned, the glaciers are melting, causing the sea level to rise. In warmer areas, greenhouse gases are heating up the ocean which also causes the water to expand. The rise in sea level is already revealing permanent damage. For example, flooding in Georgia from hurricane Irma destroyed massive amounts of property. According to Wabe.org, Georgia property value has even dropped by $15 million due to flooding risks.

“But, I don’t care about climate change. It doesn’t affect me.”

The gasoline in your car, the hairspray keeping your curls together, the cold air blowing from your bedroom window unit: These are nothing but a simple part of your everyday routine. These parts of our lives are etched, engrained into our psyche. We do them without thought. It’s like when you drive home from work on autopilot every night– you no longer think about the fact that are you are driving a 2-ton vehicle at 60 MPH and the danger you might encounter. These seemingly harmless routines not only affect our planet, but they CAN and WILL affect YOU.

Pollution 

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today and no country is unaffected by it. It is human activities including industrialization, urbanization and globalization that drive pollution.

STATS:

  • Nearly 90% of the population living in cities worldwide is breathing air that fails to meet WHO air quality guideline limits.
  • At least 12.6 million people die each year because of preventable environmental causes, like pneumonia, diarrhea and cholera.
  • Even in your own homes, air pollution is a threat to your health. WHO estimates that 3.8 million people die every year from household air pollution and 50% of all pneumonia deaths in children under 5 are caused by household air pollution.

Pollution is a symptom and unintended consequence of unhealthy and unsustainable development. If we want to reduce the environmental burden of disease globally, we must address the sources of pollution to cultivate a healthier and safer environment.

Thankfully, according to World Wild Life, about 6 in 10 Americans today find climate change alarming– this number has nearly doubled in the past 5 years. Unfortunately, this is not enough to start making real changes to the harm we’ve already made.

We need to care about climate change and pollution. It’s up to us to tip the scale.

Sources:

worldwildlife.org

climatecouncil.org

wabe.org

who.int