How we can help save the Planet Earth

The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change has been a setback for the protection of planet Earth. The US is the world’s second largest polluter of the atmosphere, China being the first, and it would have been encouraging if the US took the lead to reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere. The good news is a coalition of governors and mayors set goals for their cities to be polluter free by the end of this century. We have to believe our scientists and concern about the warming of the planet. The potential outcome is scary if we do not start now to confront the source of the problem: carbon emission. Remember from the smallest bacteria, to prehistoric dinosaurs, to mankind, planet Earth has sustained life for billions of years. However, the depletion of the rain forest and the dependence of fossil fuel to drive our industries are compromising the existence of our beloved Earth. Study shows that there is a rise in carbon-dioxide emissions, record high temperatures, and heightened sea levels, causing negative effects on the climate. The human race assumes much responsibility to the changes in the atmosphere, but not enough has been done to curtail the issue. The steps to save the planet are to switch to alternative energy methods and introduce policies that limit carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions are the main culprit in rising temperatures. Carbon dioxide is released when burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, which accounts for over 81% of America’s energy production. Once carbon dioxide is introduced to the atmosphere, it acts as a greenhouse gas that is able to trap heat, causing temperatures to rise and negatively affecting climate. To reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, alternative energy methods can be used instead. Wind and solar energy are very promising methods to offset the use of coal and natural gas. The American Wind Energy Association reveals that it would take nearly 600,000 turbines to power the U.S. Though this sounds like a lot, it would only require land area the size of Rhode Island. In the past, solar energy was expensive and unreliable. Now the prices of solar panels have plummeted and the efficiency has increased, making it a heavy competitor with coal prices. The advancements in renewable energy technology indeed make it possible to power entire countries. Denmark generated enough wind power to power the entire country, where renewable forms of energy provide over 80% of power in Uruguay and Germany. The switch to alternative energy will indeed cut carbon emissions and result in a healthier planet.

To promote environmentally conscious behavior, the politicians need to be on the forefront of the issue. The United Nations issued the Paris Agreement to mitigate the carbon emissions. Every country is responsible to limit their own emissions and to regulate policies that benefit the planet. Recently, President Donald Trump has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, trying to revamp the coal industry, a policy contrary to the rest of the world. Though the United States on a national level does not stand by the issue, city and state governments are still committed on aligning with the goal of the Paris Accord. The Ready for 100 campaigns started as a result of President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The campaign challenges one hundred cities in the United States to set a target of 100% clean energy. Cities from Aspen, Colorado, to Kodiak Island, Alaska have pledged to become 100% renewable. Policies have been drafted to encourage the use of alternative energy and implementing clean energy sources on city property and transportation.

The worsening conditions of the environment have indeed triggered a response from mankind. Now it is up to us to push for clean methods of power generation to sustain our planet. Remember the three “R’s”: recycling, reusing and reducing. It is not only the President’s responsibility to look out for our planet, but each of us can do his/her share. If we practice the three “R’s”, conserve energy, promote planting of trees and invest in alternative forms of energy, our planet Earth will have a good chance to continue its beautiful existence for several more billions of years.

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