Take a breath, if the air is clean enough

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Take a breath, if the air is clean enough

A supporter brings a sign in support of the planet.

A supporter brings a sign in support of the planet.

Mahi Kandage

A supporter brings a sign in support of the planet.

Mahi Kandage

Mahi Kandage

A supporter brings a sign in support of the planet.

Mahi Kandage, Editor-in Chief

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Fresh off of the recent Climate Strike, inspired by teen Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, the issue of climate change has been the talk of environmentalists, students, and politicians all over the world.

Though the United States has historically been a world leader in new innovation, technology, and progressivism, our nation is severely behind the mark in terms of combating climate change, as we are 5th in the world in terms of innovative green technology. 

As Americans, we are not going back to the Dark Ages and cutting out technology in order to fight climate change, rather we are progressing with green, innovative technologies in order to save our planet and our species from self-inflicted destruction.

In China, the world’s largest polluter, according to a study by CUHK, an average of 1.1 million people die prematurely from excessive pollution each year; the air toxins also cost the nation upwards of 37 billion dollars. 

I have heard the argument that China is a bigger contributor to pollution than the United States, so why should we bear the burden of fighting it?’ I believe that this train of thought is thoroughly unAmerican. As the leader of the free, modern world we must set an example, rather than setting China as our example. 

The recent surge in environmentalism stems from findings from 97% of scientists around the world who agree that climate change is threatening our world. According to NASA, it is 95% likely that the current global warming is a direct result of human industrialization and activity since the mid 20th century.

All over the globe, the build-up of carbon dioxide has led to a net increase in temperatures. Though the increase may seem slight, it has devastating ramifications on farmers and those in poverty, leading to drought and famine.

Rising heat levels also have lead to warmer oceans. The variations in temperatures in circulation among ocean gyres lead to extreme weather. If you have been seeing hurricanes devastate entire nations, and people killed or dislocated from their home, it is a direct result of climate change producing more extreme hurricanes.

Critics of climate change, often those uneducated about the functions of Earth and our environment claim that climate change is false because ‘look outside! The weather is fine!”

However, this ideology is extremely flawed and naive. In our wealthy suburb of Westford, the weather may look ‘fine,’ but in places such as Los Angeles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) reacting with the sunlight create a hazy, brown smog. 

Though we may not be able to directly see the deaths resulting from climate change yet, continuing to disregard climate change as the largest, most imminent threat to earth and society will be the undoing of the human race. 

Concerns regarding a carbon-neutral country typically surround the economy; many fear that a transition to green technology and reduction of pollution through factories and corporations would decrease the availability of thousands of blue-collar jobs. 

However, the renewable energy market continues to open up thousands of jobs. If the transition is completed carefully, a carbon-neutral country would not destroy jobs, but rather open up many more, in a slightly different field.