By: Byron Fan
Wave after wave of determined strikers have joined together, uniting across time zones, countries, and even generations of people, for a common cause: to protect the Earth.
Closer to home, hundreds of students around the DC area have taken part in the climate strike marches, with students gathering in front of the U.S. Capitol, equipped with banners and signs. Their goal was for world leaders to adopt the ambitious climate change plans, in hopes of saving the planet from our destruction.
Kevin Huang, a student climate striker in DC, said, “Climate change is a real issue that we need to get ahead of. Each and every day that we struggle and debate about this clear and present problem, we are wasting time that could be allocated to preventing further climate change damage to our planet”
Experts have reached a general consensus that there are two main methods of fighting against climate change: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation is reducing emissions and stabilizing the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Adaptation is adapting to the climate change that we are presently living with already and making the best of the situation. The experts have observed that combating climate change would be most effective by using the two methods conjointly by supporting certain policies.
Jacob Lebby, a student climate striker from Maryland, said, “We need to start at the policymaking level, such as restricting the consumption of fossil fuels for energy and implement educational systems across schools to further educate the next generation about climate change and its effects.”
It is clear that the issue of climate change lies for the most part with human footprints damaging the Earth. As such, we need to begin reducing the impact that we leave by limiting human interaction with the natural environment. A huge aspect of this solution is the decrease the flow of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through reducing the sources of gases and the sinks that end up accumulating and storing such gases in our environment, such as using less plastic bags and bottles and using public transportation to reduce fossil fuel consumption If we are able to accomplish this, we may have an opportunity to stabilize the greenhouse gas levels for life and nature to naturally adapt to the new environment.
Throughout the nation, several states have released updated climate change reports, all indicating towards the necessity for a reduction of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These plans include setting a low-carbon fuel standard, developing a cap-and-trade program for power plants and large industrial sources, and encouraging methane capture from coal mines, landfills, livestock, and wastewater treatment plants. In addition to these reports, Maryland has passed the GHG Emissions Reduction Act of 2016, renewing the 2009 GHG Emissions Reduction Act and its goal of reducing Maryland’s GHG emissions in 2020 by 25% from 2012 levels.
Additionally, the other method for combating climate change is adaptation. The goal of adaptation is to modify our living methods to conform with the changes that have already occurred. This process includes making use of any potential new technologies, such as more powerful solar panels and possibly higher tidal walls to defend against rising ocean heights to tailor our needs in this changing climate. The potential for vulnerability needs to be vastly reduced based on the detrimental effects on humans brought upon by climate change.
Many companies have begun this process of converting from plastic to reusable materials for their products. Most notably, restaurants have begun using compostable straws instead of plastic straws. Although this manner may seem more expensive, the accumulation of plastic straws over time outweighs the cost of simply buying a reusable straw each time. Thus, changing from plastic to reusable materials is not only environmentally beneficial, but economically beneficial as well.
Though these steps may seem too much for one person to handle. It is definitely possible for each individual person to change our society as a whole.