Small steps can change looming climate catastrophe

When I walk to my school every morning, the fresh air I breathe is just one of the many things that fill me with a sense of gratitude for having the opportunity to study here, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where the rejuvenating breeze from the icy peaks blows towards Mussoorie. But, it also makes me wonder, for how long will this last?

Global temperatures have been rising for the past 150 years, creating the global warming phenomenon that has become the most pressing issue of our time.  Pollution has a major role in raising temperature and adversely impacting climate change. If we do not control pollution it could threaten the very existence of all living beings.

Along with our fast-paced, aggressive lifestyle, fuel emissions from cars are one of the major causes of pollution and global warming.

In addition to several climate unfriendly decisions, recently United States President Donald Trump proposed a plan to weaken the fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. This could probably be his most consequential climate-policy rollback yet. Should this proposal be finalized, America’s cars and trucks would emit an extra 321 million to 931 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere between now and 2035.

As stated time and again by the United Nations top climate change official Patricia Espinosa, “If we don’t step up to the challenge, climate change will have a devastating impact upon lives everywhere and will destabilize the global order.” 

In the quest for development, our uncontrolled use of natural resources has brought the earth to the brink of disaster. However, as we know, climate change is a global problem and the entire world is responsible to ensure that pollution is kept in check. I shudder to imagine a world where we will see the worst impacts of climate change simply from our desire for short-term benefits.

In order to reverse global warming and ensure the arrest of rising temperatures, the youth have a major role to play. The younger generation has inherited a world that requires immediate action if we are to save planet earth from the disasters and calamities affecting mankind.

A variety of measures, even if they are small, can be taken to arrest global warming if not reverse it, from lifestyle changes that include reducing waste to using renewable and recyclable material in our daily life.

Although Woodstock is quite in harmony with nature, we could still do more in our contribution to reduce our carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide a person is responsible for putting into the atmosphere. For instance, the number of times students and staff have car and plane trips can still be reduced or even be substituted with train trips or car-pooling.

Other, small but significant steps that will contribute to reducing global warming include switching over to a recyclable material, avoiding usage of plastics and being conscious of the waste and pollution around us, driving and flying less, recycling, and conservation can all contribute to reducing a person’s carbon footprint.

Joining movements such as Momentum for Change, an initiative spearheaded by the UN climate change secretariat, will give us insight into activities across the globe that are moving towards a highly resilient low carbon future. Momentum for Change recognizes innovative and transformative solutions that address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges.

By taking the lead in building awareness, we can initiate our own Momentum for Change for the better. Breathing fresh air can no longer be taken for granted and our actions now will dictate the lives of future generations to come.

Edited by Frizia Rounak

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