One and a half degrees


Today we are going to talk about something a little different, something a little more serious. I am sure you have heard about it. Some people call it global warming, some call it climate change, some call it the climate emergency, but they are all talking about the same thing. They are all talking about the warming of our planet due to an increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, which traps the warmth from the sun and acts like… well you guessed it, a greenhouse! Normally this is a very good thing, trapping warmth from the sun keeps the earth warm and allows for life to flourish. In fact, massive amounts of greenhouse gases like Carbon Dioxide (the gas you breathe out) is produced through natural processes and then absorbed by oceans, plants, and the atmosphere every year. But through things like driving cars and making electricity, humans have upset this natural cycle by producing more greenhouse gases than can be reabsorbed, and that extra gas ends up just hanging around in our atmosphere trapping more and more heat.

But it’s not time to despair. The leading climate scientists have announced that we have 12 years to prevent earth’s temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and drastically limiting the damage that we would see at .5 degrees more. If we can limit the warming to 1.5 degrees, we will significantly lessen the number of extreme weather events and arctic melting, prevent the death of coral and vulnerable ecosystems, and protect our crops and coastal regions.

I know what you’re thinking… 1.5 degrees seems like such a small change. How can such a small number really have that big of a negative impact on something as huge as a planet? So let’s think about this from a different perspective. Imagine your own body, your normal body temperature is approximately 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and at that temperature you feel totally normal and healthy. But if your body temperature increases by just 1.5 degrees to 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit, now you have a fever and you’re probably not feeling so great. If your body temperature continues to increase you will feel worse and worse, until that fever has become life threatening at 104 degrees, only a 5 degree difference from your normal body temperature. When it comes to the complex ecosystems of your body, or your planet, even a .5 degree change has a huge impact.

Currently earth’s temperature has increased by 1 degree Celsius. Our planet has a mild fever. But we have 12 years to prevent that fever from getting worse, 12 years to limit the irreversible change to our beautiful planet. If you think about it, that’s the age of a 7th grader! So we have one whole 7th grader worth of time to make this happen, and I believe we can do it.

Click the links below to find ways that you limit your greenhouse gas emissions and stop climate change:

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