Climate Change Solutions Lie In The Hands Of Individuals


Maia Berthier

With daily sustainable efforts from humans, we can change our future for the better.

Climate change has been one of the most significant global issues of today’s day and age. Air pollution, water pollution, overuse of fossil fuels, deforestation, habitat and animal degradation are all results of human action and causes of climate change. With its increasing urgency, people all over the world have chosen to take matters into their own hands and change their lifestyle on an individual level. Controversy has sparked over whether or not one person’s ecological footprint matters on a global scale.  The answer is yes, it does. Day to day life within one’s household can make a difference to anything or anyone, even if you are not seeing it. When one person takes action as an individual, the waste that person is emitting decreases, and the people around them will be inclined to do the same, resulting in a powerful adaptation among many.

America alone is responsible for 30% of the waste on an international level, even though it only has 4% of the world’s population. Even if the damage someone is doing on the individual level is not blatantly visible, it is still there. For example, if one person were to use plastic water bottles every day for a year and throw them away, that would be an extra 365 pieces of plastic in the landfill.

“I do believe individual efforts may have an effect on the planet with enough backing towards the task. Consistency is also integral, like all things in life, as it’ll surely stunt climate change.” sophomore Leo Lopez said.

The ecological footprint we have as Americans is one of the strongest in the world. If even one human were to lower their negative impact in the planet, it would positively affect at least one organism that is living and thriving. Conversely, let us say it was your plastic that caused one sea turtle’s digestive system to fail. You have just singlehandedly compromised a whole chain of marine organisms dependent on the sea turtle and many of those to come. The only mode of survival for this planet is to allow organisms to coexist. When we pollute our waters it disturbs the entire flow, and it eventually comes back to harm us too. Human-threatening diseases that harm us even at the chemical level are spread by water pollution, and it kills 3,575,000 people a year. As it gets worse and worse, eventually there will be no way for us to ever reverse the damage that has already been made. The organisms surrounding us will be dead, and so will we. Scientists say we are only 12 years away from the damage becoming irreversible, so there is no time like the present to make a change.

Air pollution and the overuse of fossil fuels are both detrimental to our health and the organisms around us, just like water pollution. All fossil fuels are nonrenewable. Since mankind uses them faster than the Earth replenishes them, one day we will run out. This is a problem for the people that use gas cars and nonrenewable energy in their day to day lives. With the busy lives of the United States, many people use their cars even to go to the corner of their street. This causes us to be more dependent on gas than ever before, further contributing to climate change with these greenhouse gas emissions. If even one person was to stop using their car and instead used public transportation or rode a bike daily, it would make a significant difference. Air pollutants are the cause of over 50,000 deaths per year in America. The emissions of chemicals in the air affect the way we breathe and the function of our bodies. These emissions come from products made in big factories due to high demand. Single-use plastics, for example, are the types of products made in these factories that are causing imbalances in the atmosphere due to harmful chemical release. Almost 80% of lung diseases are a result of automobiles and fossil fuel burning machines. Cutting down on car use and boycotting items that include single use plastic are one of the many ways one can help against air pollution and overuse of fossil fuels. Even one person can make their mark on the world, so it is important that it is positive.

Ingrid Moises

Deforestation goes hand in hand with habitat and animal degradation. For business and economic gains, people cut down trees to make room for things like cattle ranching. Cut trees emit stored carbon into the air, filling the atmosphere with an unhealthy amount of carbon dioxide. The animals that lose their homes were all part of a chain and they had their place in the world, but now their whole lives are disrupted. If a household were to cut down on meat, for example, the general rate for meat consumption would go down. The market is driven by consumers, so if more consumers become vegan or even want to live sustainably, more competition will arise. This is the beginning of change.

Many may argue that just because one person changes their lifestyle it will not affect anything in the long run because of the negative contributions of large corporations. In the technological era we live in today, social media partakes a big role in convincing people to do positive things. Boycotting companies that are big contributors can lead to a change in the habits of those companies. For example, if the majority of people were to boycott Nestle or CocaCola because of their large waste of plastic, they would find ways to use more biodegradable materials. By doing this, not only are the people taking individual actions contributing to a better tomorrow, but they are inclining others to do so as well. Change takes a long time to settle in and be conducted, but one way or another, the choices make on a daily basis affect someone or something. The real choice is whether or not their decisions will have positive or negative effects.

“One person is able to impact a lot of people and make a big change. When one person sets out to go do something, I feel like people begin to join in a way of showing support.” senior Brooke Dickler said.

The many ways we can help the planet are not beyond our reach. Essentially, the future is in our hands, and we have to do everything we can to save it. Small things like not using single use plastic or riding a bike instead of driving your car can lead to positive change on the planet that you cannot always see firsthand. The larger contributions such as eating less meat or getting involved in a local recycling project can make an even bigger impact. Every single decision we make has an effect, no matter how miniscule it may appear. Over time, people will be more inclined to engage in positive actions towards our planet, making more and more change happen every single day. It is important that we realize everything we do on this Earth counts and that even individual efforts make a difference. As humans, it is our job to make sure we are not harming the things around us, or they will cease to exist. The time to come together and save our home is right now. We must take responsibility for all the decisions we make on a daily basis, and take action.