EHHS Students and Staff Weigh In on Climate Change
EHHS students and staff are concerned about climate change following the warm temperatures and lack of snow this winter. According to “Fox Weather,” the northeast has received 1-3 feet below the normal amount of snowfall this year. New York has received its lowest snowfall on record according to records dating back to as late as 1867. However, Connecticut is the state that has received the biggest decrease in snowfall this year. This has many EHHS students and staff worried about climate change.
Climate change is largely caused by fossil fuels, according to the United Nations. Fossil fuels create carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. These emissions cover the Earth and trap the heat from the sun, overall contributing to climate change. Climate change can cause hotter temperatures, severe weather and storms, increased drought, warming and rising oceans, loss of species, lack of food, health risks, and poverty. Not only can major issues like these be seen, it also affects minor things such as the activities people participate in. For example, Senior Mike Gatavaski says he snowboarded about 30 times last year, but roughly less than 10 times this year due to lack of snow.
Sophomore Justin Sieng and freshman Ella Angelo both believe climate change is a serious issue that needs addressing. Ella believes that individuals themselves need to step up and Justin made the point that people’s overconsumption is a big issue. The United Nations says that overconsumption is a big contributor to climate change. They say buying too many goods such as clothing, electronics, and plastics contributes greatly to climate change. However, they say that “the richest 1% of the global population combined account for more greenhouse gas emissions than the poorest 50%.” Based on the United Nations, overconsumption is a huge problem, but it is mostly at the hands of the richest people in the world, not the average person.
Senior Bella Balsiero claims that the issue with climate change is that individuals are not accepting that climate change is an alarming issue. She says, “people will recognize that the weather is ridiculous but won’t acknowledge why it is ridiculous.” She does think there are small things people can change in their lives to be more sustainable. The problem is, Bella says, being sustainable is too expensive. She shares that her mother tried to be sustainable but gave up due to the cost. Bella wishes climate-friendly things, such as plastic-free products or reusable items, were more available to the lower and middle class by being more cost-effective. “Theroundup.org” states that sustainable products cost more because of the raw materials, the ethical practices used to make the product, the sustainable packaging, and the lower demand for the product. They also state that although sustainable products are more expensive, they often last much longer.
Mia Flores, senior, also believes that climate change is a worrying issue but thinks not much can be done by the average person. Mia believes that addressing climate change is in the hands of the government. She says, “using a plastic water bottle isn’t fully causing global warming, it's the government drilling for more and more oil.” Mia also believes that no matter how many petitions a person signs, not much will be done to actually help. In her opinion, it is the government’s fault for supporting these big projects that ultimately hurt the environment, and they don’t fully understand the future consequences. Mia shares that “anyone who thinks global warming isn’t real is living under a rock.”
Although many people believe that climate change is a big issue, some think other things can contribute to the warming temperature seen this year. Science teacher Ellery Riccio fully believes climate change is concerning and caused by increased emissions but says “people ignore that the Earth changes.” She believes other things can come into play and affect the climate, not just emissions. Regardless, Ms. Riccio blames corporations for the increased emissions. However, she explains that convenience also factors in, such as with companies like Amazon. She says it is inexpensive and easy, which is why so many people use it, but the company greatly contributes to the increased emissions. She also points out that many solutions people consider also have their issues. She wonders how renewable energy sources such as wind turbines or hydroelectric power (power from water) may affect wildlife. According to the “Union of Concerned Scientists,” it is true that hydroelectric power can affect wildlife. Fish and organisms can be killed by the water turbine blades. Also, algae production can increase and rivers can dry out, hurting wildlife. As for wind power, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the wind turbines often kill birds and bats.
Despite this alarming increase in concern for the climate, there is still a lot that can be done to help the environment. As an individual some of the biggest changes you can make can be conserving water, recycling, reusing, driving less, shopping wisely, and educating others according to the National Ocean Service. There are also many initiatives being taken by the United Nations to help protect the environment which can be seen here.