Before the Flood & Climate Change

Shannon Sutherland '19, Writer

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Recently, Fisher Stevens produced a documentary called Before the Flood. The duration of the film includes famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio discussing the rapidly heightening severity of climate change with scientists, global leaders, and members of indigenous communities. 

When the topic about climate change is brought up, eyes tend to glaze over. Although it seems distant and unavoidable, the reality is that it is an impending, disastrous issue that’s quickly becoming more and more evident and problematic. Some individuals argue that global warming is one of the most pressing issues facing our world today. For example, in 24 years ships will be able to sail through the North Pole, and in 34 years the repercussions of climate change will have displaced around 250 million people worldwide.

It is a massive issue to tackle individually, but here are just a few things as Americans that we can do to help alleviate our own contribution to climate change:
1. Speak up! People cannot solve a problem that they do not know about. Education is key to raise awareness of our actions that deteriorate our planet and how we can change our ways for a more sustainable future.
2. Eat the food you buy. Around 10% of energy usage in the U.S is attributed food production, packaging, and distribution, roughly 40% of which ends up in the dump. Make an effort to buy what you know you will eat and only that.
3. Cut down on red meat. I know, I know, it hurts a lot for all of us to hear this, but up to 80% of the carbon footprint of your typical meat-eating American is attributed to consumption of meat. The methane released by livestock raised in America is extremely pollutive. The methane polluting our air combined with the economically infeasible amount of space that livestock take up makes for a very impractical, yet very tasty factor which is furthering the effects of climate change.
4. Invest in renewable appliances and energy. Although since we are in high school and may not have the largest influence on what sources of energy are used in our homes, it is worth having a conversation about it at home. Educating your family or guardians about using renewable energy to power your home can at least plant the metaphorical seed for change. Also, for those students and staff in the Marin Catholic community, who drive to school everyday, perhaps carpool or buy an electric car to reduce the carbon footprint and save money simultaneously! It’s a win-win!
Science says it all: 97% of scientists agree that climate change is a real and present issue. 87% agree that climate change is linked to human behavior; it is up to us to recognize the problem and direct our efforts into making change.

Works Cited:

McGoogan, Cara. “Climate Change Cheat Sheet: What You Need to Know.” WIRED UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Smithsonian Magazine. “Climate Change Could Allow Ships to Cross the North Pole by 2040.” Smithsonian, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

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