How We Are Dealing With The Climate Crisis: A Critique
By Ashlie Rodriguez - Opinion
February 10th, 2021 at 7:00 P.M. EST.
It’s the beginning of every good horror story: a scientist warns the world of a global threat, one that must be acted on immediately- before it’s too late!
The audience watches in awe as the scientist is ignored, ridiculed, and repeatedly opposed. We think to ourselves, “How dumb are they?”
And yet, this scenario is precisely what is going on right now.
According to BBC News, in October of 2020, hundreds of scientists released a warning of a “real and imminent extinction threat to whales and dolphins.” The open letter, signed by more than 350 environmental experts from over 40 countries, called for immediate action on behalf of world governments in order to save them.
Still, on November 4th, 2020 - just a little over two weeks after the warning was issued - the United States formally withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement. Decades in the making, the international treaty commits all 195 member countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (which are at the root of the climate crisis). The United States, along with Iran and Turkey, are the largest countries not taking part.
It’s not the first time we’ve been warned.
The first Earth Day was celebrated back in 1970. It was created in response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, in which over 3 million gallons of oil killed more than 10,000 sea creatures, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.”
It’s a beautiful concept - a day in which people from all over the world gather to celebrate the one thing we all have in common: Mother Earth!
And yet, here we are now. Only 50 years later and we somehow find ourselves in the midst of a mass extinction. Reports of rising sea levels due to climate change, predictions of the massive migrations that will follow, and an already-occurring global water crisis have still resulted in no real action.
The science is there. The science is real. We are simply choosing to ignore it - and it’s not only our governments which are at fault.
How many of us continue to consume meat, knowing the horrors of factory farming? How many choose to buy fast fashion, knowing its dark origins? We throw our trash on the ground and continuously hoard our plastic Publix bags, knowing they take up to 1,000 years to fully decompose. We vote for politicians who deny facts, and consistently choose the economy over the environment.
The Earth is suffering. Wildlife and those who live in more remote parts of the world are, too. We are approaching the point of no return, and if we don’t act now, we - along with future generations - will pay for it.
Because, as the Native American proverb goes, “Only when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.”
“Real and imminent' extinction risk to whales.” Check it out: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54485407/. (Oct.10, 2020).
“US formally exits Paris pact aiming to curb climate change.” Check it out: https://apnews.com/article/us-leaves-paris-agreement-climate-change-1331bc30021756454dda8eb7ff3c1075/. (Nov.04, 2020).
“The Paris Agreement.” Check it out: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement/.(Nov.4, 2016)
Soledad: Street art of a stranded child currently located in a flooded street and abandoned neighborhood in Venice, Italy. STEFANI DAVILA/ URBANA
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Ashlie Rodriguez is a second-year Mass Communications major at the EJP Campus Honors College. She is the Secretary of the Youth for Environmental Sustainability Club at the Padron Campus, and a writer for Miami Dade College’s official student newspaper The Reporter, and the Urbana Literary Arts Magazine.
Her passions involve politics, as well as a desire for communication and social activism.
She aspires to one day use these skills by becoming an environmental lawyer at EarthJustice- “because the Earth needs a good lawyer!”.
In her free time, she enjoys reading and going on walks with her yorkie, Cookie.