Climate Change is Underestimated


The recent rainy weather in Georgia is due in part to climate change. Photo Credit: Ansley Tanner

Ansley Tanner

Amidst the COVID pandemic, climate change was often overlooked by Americans, however that is the worst thing to do currently. Climate change is increasingly getting more relevant and needs to be recognized so Americans can do their part to square the curve. 


With increasing temperatures, ice is melting in the Arctic and sea levels are on the rise. According to NASA, “It is projected to rise another 1 to 8 feet by 2100.” This melting of the ice caps is not only detrimental to the wildlife of the Arctic region, but can cause severe weather to occur much more often. Hurricanes, flooding, and, most importantly, tornadoes can come from high sea levels. 


Tornadoes are formed from the combination of the cold sea waters and a warm atmosphere. Due to the melting of the the ice, sea levels continue to drop as the air temperature rises. According to Severe Weather Europe , this is a recipe for “above-average and a significant tornado activity this year.” It is important to be on the lookout for tornado warnings and stay safe this spring as there have already been 24 tornado reports across The United States this year. 


The main cause of this climate change is the record high CO2 rates that people are producing. “The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2020, hitting 417 parts per million in May. The last time CO2 levels exceeded 400 parts per million was around four million years ago,” said BBC. If the increase stays on this path, the level of CO2 will be at 800 parts per million, last seen 55 million years when there was no ice on the planet. 


The rising rates of CO2 are mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels and coal. From elementary school, Americans have been taught to limit their carbon footprint as much as possible; this has never been a more pressing request. The New York Times states the best ways to limit one’s carbon footprint are to know “Approximately how many miles you travel by car, bus, train and plane. The energy usage in your home. How much you spend shopping. The composition of your diet.” Carpooling, walking, and taking public transportation  when the opportunity is given is important. Turn off lights and water when not in use. Spend money on the necessities and focus on eating more plants than animal products. These suggestions have become an afterthought in today’s society. 


Teenagers are America’s best shot at turning around climate change because they have their whole lives ahead of them and room to form new habits. However, public awareness, especially among adolescents has dropped in recent years. The average teenager will see the occasional post on social media about climate change, but it is no longer taught in schools or seen on television or advertisements. Roswell HIgh School Senior Keenan Williams said, “People used to be more vocal about carbon footprints and recycling but now I rarely hear about it.“ To hear the rest of the interview, see down below. 


This lack of awareness among teenagers is costly to America’s future. Even with President Biden’s recent efforts of enacting orders to help the climate change issue and reduce emissions, change starts locally. Although his actions are needed and appreciated, they need people around the world to support these efforts in order to make them effective.