Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Jason Weereawardena: 19/12/16

As it stands today, earth is headed for disaster; from climate change causing rising sea levels, devastating storms and Gulf Stream shut down to oil spills and ocean acidity severely damaging marine ecosystems such as the “great barrier reef”, we are in immense trouble. It is widely accepted by the scientific community that climate change as we currently know it is caused by human activity; however, many members of congress deny the existence of climate change which causes delays in green reform. Just like many of our representatives exclaim that you must say its “radical Islam” to fight extremism in the US, I believe you must accept the existence of climate change to begin fully combating the issue; that is the first step to combating this crisis.

The second step would be implementing proper and effective green reform as studies show that to prevent a complete catastrophe on a global scale by 2100, temperatures must be reduced from its current trend by 2.5 degrees Celsius.  After Obama held the talks in Paris and came to an agreement with many of the greatest polluters on the planet, the current path will reduce temperatures by roughly 1.2 degrees Celsius from its current 2100 trend, good but not even close to enough. What we need to do now and I mean NOW not in 5 years and not in 10 years where we may be past the point of no return is invest heavily in hydro, solar and nuclear power while reducing our reliance on the coal, oil and gas industry.

Finally what we must do is fully convert not only our motor industry to fully (if not at least partially) electrical but our agricultural industry also requires major reforms to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas that agriculture releases; the amount of methane produced from rice fields and livestock alone makes it on par with the current emissions produced by the automotive industry. How we combat this is reducing the amount of meat consumed (this can be achieved by moving towards more efficient and healthier alternatives such as full vegetarian or a protein diet based on Quorn which can be grown in large vats instead of an entire field for grazing) by reducing the demand by possibly taxing meat products thus raising their prices giving less of an incentive to eat meat forcing the consumer to search for cheaper and potentially healthier options ( of course meat is not going away anytime soon so will require a change in the average consumer's mindset which will take years to do).

These are reforms which must be made IMMEDIATELY to prevent the already widespread loss of wildlife and rising temperatures on this planet. In the centuries to come, humanity will judge this time on our actions towards combating this issue, it will prove as the ultimate test for humanity to see whether we can truly prosper beyond our small and seemingly meaningless existence by putting the planet first above personal gain and instant gratification with what we have now. We will have to see how humanity reacts to the challenges of this new century to see if humanity will ever achieve something that is truly great.