The Love Yourself Foundation’s September theme was Patience. Whether it is patience with other people in your life or patience with yourself, these things take time. Despite it feeling like there is not enough time in the world, taking your time is essential to being patient with yourself. Taking your time means taking the time to go out of your way to wait for these things to happen. This month was all about the importance of being able to take your time and smell the flowers. It reminded us that sometimes things in our life are worth waiting for.
However, there is one thing in our lives that we can not simply wait for. It is an issue that determines the very fate of humanity. It is an issue that we simply do not have the time to be patient with. We are running for a limited time to solve it. We can not wait for it. We can not wait to stop global warming.
What is Global Warming?
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), global warming is defined as the abnormal increase in temperature that planet Earth has been experiencing. In the last century, we have experienced a temperature increase of 1.55 degrees Fahrenheit (0.86 degrees Celsius). While that number may seem small, once you put it into perspective, that seemingly small number shows a much scarier picture.
Since the Earth is a massive planet, it would take a lot of heat to increase the temperature of the planet. The fact that the Earth has increased by almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit in a little over 100 years shows that there must have been a big unusual surge in heat energy. This increase in temperature started occurring after the turn of the 20th Century. What happened at the beginning of the 20th Century?
The answer lies in the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution changed the economic activity of Europe and later, the United States. This time period is when many economic activities such as agriculture and manufacturing started becoming industrialized through technology. This technology allowed for agricultural production to grow exponentially which meant that there was food to feed more people in the world. This production led to an increase in population, and as the population increased, the need for more economic industrialization increased as well.
The issue with increased productivity in the economy is that with the introduction of machinery means being introduced to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions populating the air. This increase in CO2 emissions did not happen naturally or overnight. There is nothing normal about this. This problem started with humanity’s creation which makes it humanity’s problem to fix.
What’s the Big Deal?
You may be asking yourself: “Why is this my problem to fix?” To which I’d answer, it’s not a you problem, it’s humanity’s collective problem. You just happen to be part of humanity, and as a member of humanity, you should care about the problems that affect us. Global warming should be one of the biggest problems to impact us.
We have all seen the crazy change in weather, especially in Las Vegas. The city of Las Vegas is notorious for being extremely hot in the summer. This fact has not changed, but the intensity of the heat has definitely changed. In the last 60 years, the average summer temperature has gone up by 5.8 degrees. While this number is in the single digits, this increase in temperature could be the starting point of increased risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion in this city.
However, hotter temperatures are not only happening in this city, but in the country as well. Many American cities have experienced this trend of increased temperatures this summer. With these increased temperatures nationally, many climate events such as droughts, wildfires, and extreme rainfall have been happening at a faster rate than scientists expected.
Think about the current news about the climate: the drought in Chile, the wildfires in Hawaii, and the extreme rainfall and flooding in Libya. The most jarring part of this string of events is that all of these events happened this year alone. This is no coincidence. This is the deadly nature of global warming which will continue if we do not do something to stop it.
How Much Time Do We Have?
The nature of global warming is that these climate events are happening at an alarmingly rapid rate. Time is not on our side in this case. We have allowed climate change and its disastrous nature to run free for too long. The time to stop it is now.
According to the 2021 Global Carbon Budget report, the time we have left to rein in greenhouse gas pollution is 11 years, making it 9 years left now in 2023. As you can see, we do not have a lot of time to control greenhouse gases.
While this low number may be daunting, it is not a hopeless situation. The European Union (EU) has seen a drop of 30% in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2023 due to their use of renewable energy sources and reduced use of fossil fuels. European countries are not the only countries that have adopted greener policies addressing climate change. The United States and Japan have reduced their carbon emissions using this route as well.
In the United States, President Joe Biden has approved using the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (SC-GHC), a metric that measures the social damage that these emissions cause, for budgeting, procurement, and other agency decisions. This means that the damage caused by these gasses will now be considered in many political decisions moving forward.
What Can I Do?
While the rest of the world is moving forward, we need to remember that we need to do our part to move forward as well.
There are many things in our regular everyday life that contribute to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the United Nations, these are some of the things you can do to combat climate change:
Save energy at home, and switch to using renewable energy
Walk, bike, take public transportation, or switch to an electric vehicle
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
Eat more vegetables and less meat and dairy
Speak up about climate change!
All of these things do not take someone with a massive amount of money or power to do. All of these things can be done by the average person. While these tasks may seem small, it is important to realize the importance of the small everyday tasks that seem pointless.
If you think about it, the Industrial Revolution, something we said marked the beginning of the exponential increase of CO2 emissions, was not the doing of one person. It was the doing of multiple people who decided that the best way to go about things was to use fossil fuels such as coal.
It started with a handful of industrial technologies and institutions scattered around the world that emitted greenhouse gases. However, over time, these little groups of factories grew into big manufacturing plants that emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases. Now, they are causing a worldwide issue.
Now, let’s put it back into our perspective. Doing these little things to combat greenhouse gasses may start out with one or two people doing it. These little things start to take away tiny amounts of pollution in the air. Now, if the entire world started doing it, all of the little steps to take air pollution would amount to a worldwide solution.
Your contribution to saving the planet may seem miniscule right now, but it is not. You are actively choosing to be an active participant in combating the fight against climate change. That is now one person who is committed to the fight. Your commitment to the fight might inspire other people to take action, but you need to make that decision now.
The amount of people needed for this solution is in the billions. That massive amount of people takes time. Considering how limited the amount of time we have, we need to focus our efforts on solving this issue as soon as humanly possible. However, lucky for us, every human problem means that there is a human solution.
You are a key part of the human solution. Now, what are you waiting for? Come on! The Earth can’t wait. It needs you now.
About the Author:
Kahleia is in her junior year at UNLV, and currently majoring in History! She hopes to go into Public History post-graduation to help make history understandable and digestible for the general public. At school, she is part of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC) for the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) which is a student-led organization that works to act as the voice for COLA undergraduate students. Also, for the last 5 years, she has been working at the Discovery Children’s Museum in a variety of positions, especially in their Birthdays department. She has had a passion for writing since she was in elementary school, and she was involved in journalism in elementary school and high school where she was the Editor-in-Chief!