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The urgency of climate change [opinion] | Local Voices | lancasteronline.com – LNP | LancasterOnline

Despite all the evidence that global warming is a major problem, some people still believe it isn’t real. However, within the last year, more people have begun to realize that it is a genuine issue that needs to be corrected before it’s too late. One of the biggest warning signs is what is happening to the oceans.

Data tracked by NASA since the late 19th century shows that the average global temperature has risen by 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit, with most of this warming happening within the last 40 years. This is a serious issue because the current warming rate is 10 times faster than the average ice-age recovery rate. This means that the temperature of the planet is heating up faster than the Earth’s ice can regenerate. If we continue this trend, the ice in both the South and North poles will melt completely.

Not only will this mean the destruction of many animals’ habitats, but it will also cause ocean levels to rise. There will be massive floods and most of the planet’s land will be underwater. Ocean levels have already risen 8 inches within the last century, according to NASA.

Already the Greenland and Arctic sheets have decreased in mass, with the Greenland ice sheet losing 279 billion tons of ice per year and the Arctic ice sheet losing about 148 billion tons per year. In addition to this, the oceans have absorbed 20% to 30% of the carbon dioxide emissions in recent decades, NASA states. Oceans are what we call “carbon banks,” which means they absorb and store excess carbon in our atmosphere. Too much carbon, however, can cause the water to acidify, causing much of the ocean life to die from the change in water.

If we continue at the rate we are going, scientists believe that in 50 years there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, according to the National History Museum.

Climate change is no longer a “what if” — it is a genuine problem that we face. If we continue on this path, the world will no longer be habitable. We should cherish the planet we were given and take care of it.

There is hope. Many activist groups are trying to make a change; some of them kids. A popular name you might have heard of is Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. She has been a climate activist since her early teens. Now 18, she continues to give speeches around the world.

Our generation has the task of fixing the mistakes of the past generations. If you are interested in helping, there are many teen-led groups working on this issue. One of them is called SustainUS. If interested, sign up on SustainUS.org to receive emails. Teenagers need to lead the way on climate change, because we are inheriting this planet. However, we need the help of all generations to reverse the damage that has been done.

 Grace Parsons is in the Conestoga Valley High School Class of 2023.

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