With Hurricane Florence and Michael recently slamming into the southeast states and an earthquake and tsunami raging across the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, catastrophic events seem to have become the new normal. Written off as nothing more than extreme “fluctuations” in an otherwise regular pattern of temperature change. Because that seems totally plausible.

However, a recent report conducted by the IPCC has stated that Earth will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. Which, for those of you who fell asleep in all of your earth science classes, basically means that the planet could become much more susceptible to things like extreme drought, sea level rises, tropical coral reefs dying, and wildfires.

Now we know what you must be thinking. We’re totally fucked, right? And how in the hell did this even happen?

Well… it has happened, in part, because of you. Yes, YOU! In a sick cosmic plot twist, it turns out that that “everyone can make a difference” bullshit, might actually be kinda true. We have until 2030 to stop a catastrophic climate change, and it’s largely due to something called the bystander effect.

To break it down, this phenomenon revolves around the belief that someone else is always going to fix our problems (I fucking WISH). In relation to the environment, this means we have long been expecting someone to save the world for us… a belief that might just be our greatest threat to survival.

So let’s cut to the chase. What can we do redeem ourselves? The answer, as it’s always been, is very simple.

Do you really need that large of a car? To leave all the lights on when you’re gone? To take that long of a hot shower? To leave the water going when you brush your teeth? To have the house that fucking cold or hot? It’s time to start taking responsibility for our own actions.

But, although these personal changes would be awesome for our planet, it’s also important to acknowledge that there are some things we cannot directly change. The government has definitely contributed to this fuck up by refusing to crack down on big corporations responsible for a shit-ton of the pollution we’re seeing. In fact, transportation, electricity production, industry, commercial and residential, agriculture, and land and forestry make up most greenhouse gas emissions. So if you think using plastic straws is bad news for the environment, wait until you hear what these guys pump into the atmosphere on the daily.  

This begs the question: what should the government be doing? (Hint, it’s probably the exact opposite of what they’ve been doing.) If you ask us, the EPA should be increasing its greenhouse gas regulations around oil drilling, logging, vehicle fuel efficiency, and power planets. Cracking down on big-time polluters instead of only blaming us for the monumental rises in temperature.

It would also be **lovely** if, in response to the IPCC’s report, Trump didn’t just brush it aside as a non-issue. Or if Republican lawmakers realized that it’s not an option to just “disagree” with an important scientific consensus because it doesn’t follow their platform closely enough. However, until the feds can get their shit together, it looks like it’s up to us to save the planet. That’s not too much pressure, right?

Jenna Wirth
jennawirthjerk@gmail.com
Jenna Wirth is a freshman magazine major who, despite being intelligent, lacks common sense and the ability to talk without having marbles in her mouth. Television is her one true love, and she tweets about it. A lot. When she's not indulging in her guilty pleasure of reading Fanfiction, she's either traveling, attending conventions, napping, devouring cheese fondue, or binge-watching Netflix.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *