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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Floating out to sea

Our planet is literally in deeper water than we thought, according to a recent United Nations report on climate change.

The report indicated that the risks of climate change are so severe that they could reverse years of progress fighting hunger and poverty if greenhouse emissions continue at this rate. It will threaten society with food shortages, flooding of major cities and entire island nations, refugee crises and mass extinctions of plants and animals.

If this isn’t a terrifying enough wake-up call, I don’t know what is. And with the recent election results, I am worried the issue of climate change will once again fall under the ?radar in U.S. politics.

Governments have often claimed support in creating efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions but rarely fulfill them.

Because climate change is gradual, it seems like it’s not a real concern.

We still think in the short-term and ignore the long-lasting and damaging effects we have on our planet. This is true of not only U.S. policy, but those of other major world powers, as well.

And as developing countries begin to prosper, they are in turn burning enormous amounts of fossil fuels, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

To put it bluntly, we are in serious trouble as a major world power. The rapid rate at which we burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases is not sustainable.

It also seems like no one, Congress for one, has been paying attention. Congressmen often dismiss the issue and are only concerned with policies that guarantee them re-election.

Since this is an issue of such magnitude, I think many people find it hard to grasp the detrimental side effects that carbon emissions have on our planet. People also twistedly rationalize that they will not live long enough for it to matter in their own lifetime.

While I stressed in a previous column the necessity of students becoming more aware of recycling on campus, I ask this time that we work to increase awareness of our carbon footprint. We should also make it known to Congress that global climate change is a major concern that affects us all.

It will affect how we deal with poverty, world hunger, natural disasters and so much more. While the Obama administration has been pushing to limit emissions from American power plants, it’s still facing opposition in Congress.

Making small changes helps the environment and saves you money. Wash your clothes using cold water. Hot water wastes five times the energy, creating five times the emissions. It’ll also save you approximately $100 a year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Don’t run the dishwasher half full and turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.

Change your light bulbs to new LED bulbs that give the same amount of light for 15 percent less electricity, also saving you hundreds per year. That could go to your monthly rent or even a car payment. Also, be wary of leaving unnecessary lights on during the day.

While we are wasting time fighting in Congress, we should be fighting for our planet.

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