35 Public Anthropology Award Winners
the University of California, Riverside
in Prof. Jennifer Syversten's
ANTH 001 (Cultural Anthropology) Class
Alyssa Alo, Huriel Trejo-Martinez, Paola Amaya, Alison Gutierrez, Brandon Nguyen-Cuu, Cindy Wong, Aimee Anaya, Joshua Chuang, Namrata Shetty, Sandra Gomez-Ruiz, Hector Penaranda, Alexander Ramirez, Vincent Yang, Bryan Kyle Chung, Isaiah Claudio, Janae Polk, Zhaoyi Xu, Jessica Bibeault, Vixuuni Chhoeuy, Jeana Rose Meneses, Sophia Perry, Syris Norelli, Kai Perillo, Jacob Bartenhagen, Ahlayjah Dahl, Tanvi Saki, Helin Wang, Feng Lu, Asia Mailangkay, Eder Poot Martinez, Qinxiumei Yin, Perla Demeza , Janisayra Hernandez Orozco, Samuel Yu, and Andrew Loyal
Read Their Letters, Please Use Your Search Function)
Developing Positve Discussions Despite Disagreements
Directions for Letters:
1. At the top of your letter list two specific ways the people you are addressing differ from your own position on climate change.
2. In writing your letter, ask yourself: (a) How might you frame your letter to draw those who differ from you on climate change to move toward a position that you both might share? (b) Might you find a common goal to collaborate on in respect to climate change despite your differences?
Natural or Artificial?
by Huriel Trejo-Martinez
Throughout these past few decades, climate change has grown exponentially, but there are two sides on who or what is responsible for the change. For one, I believe climate change has occurred, and the effects of the rising temperatures can be detrimental. Climate change is all being caused by us, the humans. We release a lot of carbon dioxide into our environment and a variety of other gasses into the atmosphere. Most of these fumes come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy. This energy is used by factories, cars, planes, etc. On the other hand, others believe that climate change is not human generated because the environment can absorb the gas emissions that are created. They believe climate change is due to natural processes such as the functions in the sun's heat and ocean current.
Secondly, we need to steer away from burning fossil fuels because it can be harmful to the environment. We need to develop inexpensive ways to generate electricity from power plants, but there are also many people that believe something else. Many of them believe we should not do anything because the atmosphere is capable of handling the fumes. Although we may have different views on how climate change came to be, we all believe that it exists. It is essential to find common ground because climate change will lead to our society and environment having challenges in the future and together we can fight this crisis together.
Burning fossil fuels has been ingrained into us, but we need to discontinue doing this because it creates gasses that stay and build up in our atmosphere. For example, climate change can result in having an increase in droughts that are caused by heat waves and floods that are associated with intense rains. This may not affect you personally, but it does affect others such as myself.
Growing up in Southern California you would never expect a white Christmas, but you did expect it to get pretty cold. Although these past few Christmases the temperature has changed. It is no longer the chilly weather where you can stay inside with family and friends drinking hot chocolate and watch a movie. It is more like a warm fall day with a cool breeze every once in a while. Now we see the temperatures rise as the year's progress.
Recently, I have seen an increase in wildfires. Various large fires destroyed thousands of homes all around the state. This is heartbreaking because many people lost their homes as well as their being individuals who passed away. Something that could be done to prevent burning further fossil fuel is relying more on public transportation or using bikes to get around. This would decrease the amount of pollution released into the environment, thus helping climate change. This is not the only thing occurring due to climate change people are being affected around the world in various ways.
For one, all of us around the world are being affected due to the increase in temperature of the oceans. This is serious because the sea level is rising due to the fact that many glaciers are melting because one, the water is getting warmer; and two, the temperature of the environment is rising. Together we can help this dilemma because it affects everyone. Whether you believe climate change exists due to humans or natural occurrences, we know it does, and together we can prevent it from getting worse.
For instance, we can all rely more on public transportations because every bit of energy saved, helps our environment. Also, we can prevent our climate from getting worse if we use less energy. This situation is a win-win because we help better our environment while also bettering our wallets.
In conclusion, we all need to contribute to stopping climate change together. If the earth’s temperatures continue to rise in the future, living on earth would become impossible due to the high temperatures. Whether you believe humans contribute to control global warming or natural occurrence, we can all coincide that this world would be colder and the high temperatures we currently have would decrease if we all contribute to ending climate change. If we all take a stand and end climate changes that are occurring, we would make this world a safer place to live on. Overall, we may be the cause of climate change, but we are also the solution.
The controversial idea of climate change
by Paola Amaya
The legitimacy of climate change is often questioned around the globe in which people spark debates on the causes and consequences that may arise if this issue is not addressed. People who are intrigued with the controversial concept of climate change typically form groups with others who have the similar point of views. Although there is some gray area, people either agree or disagree with the idea of climate change. The following includes ideas that favor your position on climate change; in this letter I hope to demonstrate the importance of climate change as well as tactics that can be used to slow down and diminish its impacts.
Both positions shine light on human behavior; we both carry the same position on human behavior affecting the Earth however, the extent to which human's behavior correlated with climate change. One of your perspectives includes that the human population is incapable of making such a drastic impact that can affect the entire globe; the shift in global temperatures is a natural process that has occurred several times throughout history and therefore should not be taken as a big threat to society.
Individuals, including yourself, who neglect the idea of climate change often question the accuracy of the scientific tests and experiments that are conducted to predict the intensity and legitimacy of this world-wide problem. Since the validity of these indications of climate change are uncertain, this reinforces conflict along the lines of political funding. This causes politicians to question where tax money should be spent, on an abstract issue or more central and demanding problem within the nation.
Climate change is a controversial issue that raises awareness on the impact of human behavior in a global perspective. Humans participate in a wide range of activities that contribute to the heating of the Earth: burning fossil fuels, means of transportation, meat consumption, deforestation, etc. Although this may not seem much, the world population is currently at seven billion- that number is only increasing from this point, envisioning the amounts of gasses that are emitted into the atmosphere from every person who owns a car, takes any type of transportation, etc. over time is not difficult to picture and comprehend. Our world runs on energy and in order to be able to produce it, one must burn massive amounts of fossil fuels. This further demonstrates how simple daily activities that seem insignificant can change the planet.
A domino effect take place because of the changes in the Earth temperature; since human behaviors emits hot gas into the atmosphere, the north and south pole of the Earth begin is heat up and melts. This contributes to the rising of sea levels, loss of land and animals, stronger storms and frequent droughts.
Imagine this, 50 years from now you’re sitting in your living room with your children and grandchildren watching the national geographic channel on tv, then the program that you and your family was watching ends and the next program on air is the life of a polar bear; your 4-year-old granddaughter then asks you what a polar bear is. With the rising of sea levels and temperatures, many animals face the possibility of extinction. These beautiful creatures that touched this soil millions of years before humans will vanish before our eyes, nor will there be traces of their existence. The biodiversity within our planet should inspire humans to protect these creatures at all cost for which they display the immense beauty of Earth. Humans contributions to climate change should be regulated and limited because they are the main source for global warming. The increasing population and high demands for consumer goods will only enhance the severity of this issue.
The government plays a vital role in the conflict between people who agree and disagree with climate change. Politicians decide which federal programs seems to resolve an urgent issue within the nation and fund accordingly. It is obvious that those who do not believe in climate change would rather have their tax money spend on an issue that can be seen within society. Although I do agree with you, that government spending should address the social issues such as healthcare head on, it is also important to set aside some money for technology that can help us understand the intensity of climate change as well as its potential sudden weather outbreaks. By doing so this will help society be more aware and prepare for future unavoidable weather conditions.
Our perspectives of climate change differ, but in my letter, I hope I shed some light on the human activities that demonstrate its direct impact to the Earth. Daily routines are often mistaken as harmless in which people are blinded from the true effect they have on the planet. Government funding is important for which it will help society prepare for outbreaks as well as become more educated on this world-wide issue
by Alison Gutierrez
We have different opinions to when it comes to the topic climate change. One of the two main points we disagree on is that you believe that the cause of climate change has little to do with humans while I believe human activity is the leading factor in climate change. Another of our differences is that you believe that if we were to fight climate change the cost of it would be too high since we would be using to many of our resources.
To begin, climate change is a very big complex phenomenon and being able to pin point the exact cause would be difficult since there is many different factors that contribute to the increase in temperature. I argue that the cause of climate change is mainly because of humans. The temperature of Earth has risen about 1.8°F since the early 20th century, demonstrating the large increase of temperature in such a short amount of time. During that time there has been an increase in human activity, much more fossil fuels are being burned. Many more people are driving cars going on flights and buying many products increasing the amount of fossil fuels emitted. Evidently, the important change there has been to the earth is human activity. To have a better understanding, one should compare each year's temperature of any city to see the impact. For example, I live in Riverside and five years ago in summer we did not have temperatures passing 108°F, today we get temperatures up to 115°F. Temperature in my hometown have dramatically change and one should do their own research on their city to see the extent of global warming.
My argument to point number two is that it is important to see the damage climate change is making in order to decide whether it is worth using our resources. Today the poles are melting as a result Polar Bears are going extinct. Insects are having a harder time keeping cool forcing them to move close to the poles. With insects invading new location comes new diseases, bacteria etc. Trying to find a solution for climate change may use our resources and may cause more fossil fuel to go into our atmosphere but if it can stop floods and wild fires to happen I believe it will be worth it. We are already wasting our resources trying to rebuild our communities after atrocities like floods, wild fires, spread of diseases etc. Even if we may not fully know the main cause of Climate change, I think we can agree on that it is happening and there are hundreds of people who are affected by it.
What is the cause of Climate Change?
by Brandon Nguyen-Cuu
1. I believe that humans are the reason for climate change while the opposing side does not.
2. I believe that the cost of trying to hinder or reverse the effects of climate change is not too much of a cost while the opposing side believes the cost is too great.
Since the topic of climate change has become increasingly relevant in our ever-changing world. I would like to discuss the difference in our opinions. In doing so, I hope to reach an overall agreement that will provide both sides with a solution to the problem.
To begin, I would like to say that although we both believe that climate change is happening at a faster rate than ever before, I understand that we differ in the sense that I believe that the human race is one of the main factors in the problem of global warming while you do not. Secondly, I would like to acknowledge another difference that we may have. Which is that while I believe we should use any method that we can to help slow down or even prevent global warming, you believe that the cost is far too great. You believe that by using our resources in order to solve the problem of global warming, regardless of whether you believe it is the human race’s fault or not, we would be worsening the situation much faster than intended.
Regarding the point of climate change as a problem, I understand that we both agree that it is happening. Climate change has happened numerous times over the course of Earth’s history, from the time of the dinosaurs, to the ice age, and now in modern times. However, I would like to point out that compared to the past, the change in temperature is happening at a significantly higher rate than what has been previously seen.
In the past, when only animals roamed the Earth, most climate changes were due to a variety of natural disasters such as asteroids and earthquakes. In recent times, however, thanks to events such as the industrial revolution, technology has accelerated the growth of the human race, but this was not without a cost. The spread of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and other greenhouse gases has also been expedited to an extreme rate, therefore trapping much more heat in the atmosphere than before.
I remember visiting my cousin when I was younger, in his hometown of Bartlett, Tennessee. In the winter, it would snow there, something that was unseen in my city of sunny San Diego.However, as I grew older, my cousin’s town developed further due to a growing population and an increasing number of factories. The pollution from these factors resulted in rising temperatures. It came to the point where my cousin only saw snow every couple of years.
The next point that I mentioned is another conflicting viewpoint in which I would like to elaborate upon. I can understand the point that we are losing resources at a significant rate, however, this can also be seen in a different perspective. For example, the resources that we are burning to build cars, buses, airplanes, etc. can be used to build alternatives to these modes of transportations. With a similar amount of resources, we can build electric versions of these automobiles. In doing so, we would create a butterfly effect. First, we would see our resources being used to build alternatives to the pollution-spreading machines which are contributing to the destruction of our planet. These new machines would release little to no pollution and would require less resources to operate. Ultimately, less resources would be burned and much less pollution is released, therefore slowing down the rate of global warming.
With the increasing amount of alternatives such as, Teslas, electric scooters, and Prius’ this vision doesn’t seem like just a dream anymore. The advancement of the human race doesn’t have to be negative, but we can turn towards a more positive direction. Despite our disagreements, I believe you would agree that advancing society while also tackling the global warming problem would benefit us greatly. I hope that from what I have mentioned, we can work together to change this world. Thank you for listening and I hope that you can take what I said into consideration and help create a better Earth and even better future.
The Real Phenomenon of Global Warming
by Cindy Wong
Hello my fellow peers,
This letter is here to discuss the very commonly argued topic: global warming. Everyone can clearly see that climate change is occuring, but the real question is by what factor and is there any evidence to truly identify the cause. Is it real? Is it not? What is the cause? Is there even a possible way to prevent the so-called global warming?
Firstly, while I may believe that global warming is definitely a real-world aspect and the main contributor to the condition are humans, the opposing side may question the blame on humans alone. Some will argue that humans cannot simply contribute so much and that there are definitely multiple factors to the alleged global warming.
The second outlook that one may argue is: humans may possibly be a major contributor to global warming, but where is the hard-evidence proving so? With the addition of so many different scientific views, climate charts are surely inaccurate.
To those with the first argument, I can completely see your viewpoint. Like most things, there is simply not one cause. Climate change happens not just because of humans, but other factors as well. Natural factors play a large part in the climate change: distance from the sun, natural disasters like earthquakes or volcanoes, or simply time alone can drive the climate to rise. However, the factor I am focusing on is the rate at which these different environmental factors contribute to climate change.
I contest to the fact that global warming is indeed a phenomenon and not just a myth that some may think. Yes, climate can change over the years and temperatures will differ per year as well, but the fact is that the changes per year shouldn’t be so drastic. Personally, as a Californian, I believe I won’t have the best argument when it comes to pointing out noticeable weather patterns. But every Christmas, I do visit my family in Chicago, Illinois and in each trip, I have noticed quite the weather difference. When I was little, there was snow almost every year, but for the past five years, the snow has magically disappeared. Not only has the snow aspect vanish, but the temperatures have notably gotten warmer, which is quite concerning.
Surely, natural disasters can cause global warming, but how often does an erupting volcano occur? Definitely not often enough to cause such a increased rate of climate change. How often do humans drive cars and work in industries that release greenhouse gases into the environment? Every hour, every minute, and every second has a bundle of humans contributing to these hazardous gases. The measurement difference between human consumption versus natural effects is truly massive. All scientists are aware of how greenhouse gases cause the rising of carbon dioxide levels which is not beneficial to our environment. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change said it themselves that which almost 100% confidence, that humans are the largest influence to this phenomenon.
With any scientific evidence, there is always the question on how reliable this data is. The more scientists that add on to the same climate models, then there will be different viewsets on the same topic. As much as it is great that there are different perspectives, it also creates a muddiness of the main argument towards climate change. But also, with no contribution of more scientists, the validation of the proof will be belittled.
Questioning the validity of the effect of multiple scientists towards one cause is one thing, but one cannot ignore the facts given by the research of the scientists. The facts are: the rate of rising temperature is steadily increasing, the amount of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere has enlarged, and there is obvious environmental change due to these factors. The rate of the rising climate is greater than any natural factor could contribute to. There are glaciers melting at an alarmingly fast rate, which will also cause sea levels to rise.
With all these reasonings laid out, I believe that the two opposing sides could one day come to a consensus about global warming. Neither group has to converge to the other side, but could simply tolerate each other. Whether you believe global warming is true or not, or whether you believe it is mainly caused by humans, we have to focus on the real facts. Climate change is occuring, and it is increasing quickly, and not in a good way. The intensity and the frequency of large natural disasters is getting to a scary point where more lives would be in danger. Because of these facts, there needs to be funds from the economy given to researchers to be more knowledgeable about upcoming disaster possibilities and to research and develop new technology that will prevent the quick increase of climate change.
With that all said, thank you for reading my thoughts about global warming and I hope to also see your opinions as well.
Primary Causes of Climate Change
Climate change is an arising issue in modern society, for there have been significant differences in weather patterns and air quality in the past few years. Due to differing perspectives on the issue addressed, many of you will not agree with my own opinions about climate change. Two of these differing perspectives include:
1.) Anthropocene refers to the time period following the Industrial Revolution, in which humans are often faulted as the primary cause of climate change. In the Anderegg study of 2010, it was concluded that "97-98% of climate researchers publishing most actively in their field agree that human activity is primarily responsible for global climate change" (Climatechange.procon.org). As the sole cause of climate change, humans are the greatest influencers of any environmental downfalls that may occur.
2.) Climate changes have affected areas of extremely cold weather, for increase in temperatures has begun to melt large bodies of ice, which animals utilize as part of their homes. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, "glaciers worldwide have lost nearly 40 feet (12 meters) in average thickness" due to global warming (Climatechange.procon.org). In this case, wildlife in snowy areas is viewed as helpless, for they are unable to adapt fast enough to drastic climate changes around them.
I hope that through participation in this project, both you and I will be able to understand each other's perspectives on the issue and be able to to come to a mutual agreement.
First of all, I would like to address the first difference in perspective that I have mentioned in the beginning of this letter. A vast majority of researchers have claimed that humans are the source of climate change due to their alterations of the environment in the form of CO2 emission and pollution. There is no concrete evidence to be able to prove that these CO2 emissions are solely a product of humans, but they could come from various other sources, which are unidentified in the scientific scope. There are many other things present in the environment, which are still unknown to scientists. Humans are a source of pollution because of the CO2 that is produced from vehicles and industrial machinery, but that is only a part of the problem.
Second, adaptation is one of the things that animals are best at. Instead of allowing themselves to be defeated by a change in the environment, they will train themselves to live without something or live in certain conditions different than they have been in the past. Instead of allowing themselves to die out because of melting polar ice caps, polar bears have instead adjusted to the environmental circumstances as they occur. Eventually, nature will take its course and those times of despair will be relieved with a rejuvenation of the once- thriving weather.
Over the years, I have noticed that summers have become much hotter in California, and winters have also become much colder. When I was younger, The highest temperature I ever experienced was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In the most recent summer season, temperatures skyrocketed to a maximum of about 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat almost seems unbearable, but it is all part of an adaptation process. Scientists claim that temperatures are rising every year, but that does not mean humans will not adjust to these changes. One's bpdy becomes accustomed to the heat and will not feel the intensity of the extreme weather conditions. In past winters, the weather would not drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but it has recently dropped to a low of 31 degrees. Why is each season hitting with such intensity? Humans are faulted as a cause of global warming, but the weather becomes both warmer and colder each year, depending on the season.
One notable change that I have noticed is air quality. I used to be able to see the mountains with such clarity, but now I see the mountains through a gray film of thick smog. Living in a heavily transited area, CO2 emission from cars pollute the air and creates a suffocated atmosphere of gray clouds. One way to combat such an issue is by using an alternate form of transportation such as bike or bus, or by carpooling to reduce the amount of vehicle pollution in the air.
I believe that the environment is the primary factor for climate change, in addition to human action. The environment is subject to constant changes over time, which allows for visible changes in naturally occurring components of the world. Pollution by humans does play a significant role in climate changes, but it is not as prominent as the "natural" aspect of how climate change occurs. It is up to humans to decide if they would like to play their part in leading lives that are in favor of a more stable and predictable climate.
Thank you for your time in reading this letter and considering my point of view.
Climate Change is Real
by Joshua Chuang
We all have a general awareness of climate change and its effect, but we greatly differ in two main areas:
1. We are both aware of how Earth’s climate has been changing throughout many years, even if they are not directly affecting our lives, but unlike me you disagree on how human behavior and industrialization has been a key factor in distorting our climate.
2. The world has definitely improved throughout many generations, and technology has upgraded tremendously from the times of colonization until now. In that sense, you have strongly proclaimed that any actions taken to prevent global warming may be expensive, even uncertain in their effects in helping the environment since there is not substantial data in proving global warming.
The goal by the end of this letter is to not only have a better understanding of our conflicting viewpoints, but to also be able to realize the presence of global warming and devise a plan to prevent this natural phenomenon from occurring at its exceeding rate.
To address the first point of your views, the climate is always changing. There are many factors that we can consider when viewing our environment, for example, volcanic eruptions and Earth's distance from the Sun. Therefore, if all of these events can influence our environment, then we as humans can affect our climate too. People constantly drive cars, emitting gas into the atmosphere, leading to the greenhouse effect. Gases become trapped in the ozone layer, thus increasing the temperature of the entire Earth drastically. With a relatively sized planet, the temperature of the Earth still increased approximately 1.8 degrees in Fahrenheit. The rise in temperature demonstrates many variables that are affecting the environment, especially the human population since it increases daily.
Some may say that there is not enough evidence to truly proclaim that humans are solely responsible for the effect of global warming, and that the planet is capable in absorbing all the gas emissions produced by many different processes on Earth, but the focus is not on how big the effects of global warming are; rather the focus is on the fact that global warming even exists. Think about a grand healthy forest; one small fire can easily set a domino effect of trees on fire, resulting in the whole forest being set ablaze. We can think of this comparison to all the climate events happening: loss of sea ice, severe droughts, heavy storms, sea level rises, earthquakes, and many more disasters. Simply having changes in our climate should make us more aware and cautious of our actions, thus encouraging us to take measures in caring for our environment.
For the second point mentioned, many say that there is not enough evidence in the effects of global warming, and that taking up measures to save our planet will be too costly. If we look way back into previous generations, there was an abundance in resources, so life was not very expensive; however, the earth started to become more populated and technology started to increase, thus resulting in higher gas emissions and pollution. With more people comes more competition and scarcity of resources, resulting in higher cost for goods. The world is already getting very expensive, with gas and other products rising in price each year. Since we are aware of the increase in cost, we might as well contribute our money and fund research that focuses on improving our global environment.
I specifically remember in 2012, all the teachers in my elementary school focused greatly on saving paper. Many trees and forests were getting cut down at the time since an abundance of wood was needed to make homes and produce paper, so our school greatly refrained from utilizing paper as much as possible, and shifted to digital and oral assignments that did not require printed paper for activities. Such events like these reflect how easily the environment can be affected and how prevalent climate change is.
In order for us to be more critical and aware of the climate change, we must be skeptical about the people that we listen that are providing us the information on global warming. Some speakers are politicians who have ulterior motives when discussing about climate change, while others have legitimate data that display the rise of global warming. We must remember to be as objective as possible and take in true information rather than opinions from people of great influence. Most importantly, we can clearly see the disruption in our global environment and the effects that we have on the resources around us, especially since we are consumers that are always demanding for more.
Thank you for considering my thoughts on this issue. Hopefully we can both ponder about what is happening and come to an agreement in the mere future.
The Clock is Ticking
by Namrata Shetty
1) The group that I am addressing feels that we have been spending a large sum of money on the issue of climate change, without seeing any benefits.
2) They also feel that human generated greenhouse gas emissions are too small to change Earth's climate.
Dear Anti-Warming Campaigner,
Humanity’s presence on this Earth is far from significant in the large scope of the planet’s existence, but somehow in such a trivial amount of time, we, as humans, have managed to detrimentally damage our only home in unimaginable ways. The tampering of nature that we have encouraged and pursued over countless generations will inevitably be the governing reason for our own demise. As products of evolution with the ability to comprehend different situations, the problem is not in the fact that we do not understand the repercussions of our own actions; it is that we still manage to ignore them. However, the blame cannot be placed on a single group, nor on humanity as a whole. As individuals—climate change advocates and anti-warmers alike—actively addressing the issue at hand must come like second nature.
The absence of necessary action is rooted in the fact that the reality of climate change affecting our existence has not completely sunk in. The fear of responsibility over the dire issue has overpowered the fear that climate change should be evoking, itself. Now you may believe that combatting climate change is an expensive process, as “from 1998-2009 the US government appropriated $99 billion for work related to climate change,” but our modern-day generation fails to realize that most of our daily practices come at an even greater cost (procon.org). Cars, electronics, and the agricultural livestock industry, to name a few, have been heavily engrained into our lives despite being proven harmful to the environment. With each passing day, these routine portions of our lives become harder to eliminate. Though you may argue that “human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are too small to substantially change the earth’s climate,” these practices are adding up and essentially contributing to an environmental collapse on a grander scale (procon.org). Natural disasters and peculiar weather patterns are beginning to come as no surprise to the public population. Although there is often immediate action taken in order to help victims and wildlife in the vicinity of these disasters, there is usually little to no long-term action sought out, leaving history out to repeat itself. Just in 2019 alone, rare snow fell in Hawaii, polar bears helplessly foraged for food at the melting polar ice caps, and species such as the Spix’s Macaw and Eastern Pumas were officially declared extinct. Mother Nature is changing and evolving, yet our attitude towards climate change remains stagnant, both for the worse.
The time to take initiative is now, as the clock is ticking on Earth’s livelihood. Warming campaigners and anti-warming campaigners must set aside their psychological differences and step out of the bystander middle ground. It’s hard to disagree with the facts: “Temperatures on earth have increased approximately 1.8 degrees F since the early 20th century. Over this time period, levels of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 have notably increased” (procon.org). Instead of building individual narratives and living in ignorance, we must realize that the cost of ruining our planet any further is substantially greater than any dollar amount, and that every action we take can potentially have irreversible consequences. In search of a common ground, it is crucial to acknowledge the values that accompany both parties, while simultaneously acknowledging that the sheer existence of climate change is real and it’s here.
The Beginning of the End
by Sandra Gomez-Ruiz
To whom it may concern,
There are many points and pieces of evidence that conclude to the existence of global climate change, and many of you may agree. However, where we differ when it comes to our agreement is whether or not human activity contribute to climate change. I hope that throughout this letter, you wholeheartedly understand where I am coming from, for I understand where you come from. Maybe one day we might find a compromise in this somewhere.
What I would like to address first and foremost is the man-made greenhouse gases that help cause global climate change. There has been debate over this subject, many studies and people say that gas emissions are caused due to the sun’s heat fluctuations and the ocean’s currents. Natural processes can be a cause in the global climate change, but it is hard for me to believe that it is the only cause. In 2010, there was an Anderegg study that showed very interesting results. Around 97-98% of climate researchers who are publishing in their field concur that human activity is the main cause responsible for global climate change. There was another survey that was done by German scientists Bray and Von Storch which concluded that 83.5% of climate change scientists believe that human activity is the primary reason for recent changes in the climate. Human activity may not be the only cause or, to some people, a significant cause but over an extended period of time it is bound to leave a lasting impact. Whether you believe that it is important or not anything to worry about, one thing we can agree on is that over time there will be consequences.
My second point is about energy usage and how humans use an excessive amount of it. Everyday, people use energy to cook, for transportation, to heat and cool their homes, etc. Where do we get that energy from? Burning fossil fuels such as gas and oil is a source of energy that is widely used among many nations. Once burned, they release gas emissions into the atmosphere, which then leads to the heating of the air. In 1859, a man named John Tyndall discovered that CO2 emissions in the atmosphere absorbs the sun’s heat. This explains why we must cut down on burning fossil fuels that exhaust CO2 into the air and how that would lead to a warmer climate. The sun can send out waves of energy depending of the Earth’s distance from it, which is also an explanation for the heating of the climate. NASA has tools that can determine how much of the energy is released into the atmosphere from the sun. This tool is very useful because it can help determine what really is the leading factor when it comes to the heating of the climate: humans or natural processes. Cutting down on fossil fuels and using a different source of energy can be damaging to the economy, and it is understandable why many people will go against the removal of it. For example, Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement because he said it imposed “draconian financial and economic burdens” is reasonable (Dunbar). However, if climate changes were to become severe, there would be a significant drop in the Earth’s human carrying capacity thus leading to a failing economy due to lack of labor, commercial buying, and so forth. That is why reducing CO2 emission from fossil fuels is effective in the long run.
I still stand with my arguments that global climate change is real and human activity in one way or another leaves a huge impact on it. While there are other explanations that are completely valid as well, I believe that people from opposing views should all work together to create a solution that will hopefully be harmonious and effective in pleasing all sides of this debate. Thank you for listening, and I hope to hear your thoughts very soon.
Dunbar, Brian. “What Is Climate Change?” NASA, NASA, 13 May 2015, www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-climate-change-k4.html.
“Background of the Issue.” Is Human Activity a Substantial Cause of Global Climate Change?, climatechange.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006525.
Help, the Earth is Suffering
by Hector Penaranda
The issue we face here is of climate change.
1). A group that believes climate change isn’t an issue and isn’t real. They believe the evidence isn’t to be believed and it isn’t worth looking into. They reject the science behind it and just claim it isn’t real and that it isn’t a focus for us to fix.
2). The group also believes that climate change isn’t primarily caused by human interference. They believe that climate change is really not from our actions as a species. Climate change to them is something that is naturally occuring, which is true, but humans are the main ones changing everything up.
I hope with writing this letter I may be able to convince those with opposing views to better understand the implications of climate change. What we face is a huge issue that needs to be more than addressed, it should be improved upon and sought to be fixed.
Climate change is affecting us all in a variety of ways that are negative. With the increase in temperature over the past years. According to NASA Eighteen of the 19 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. 2016 was the warmest on record. The rising temperatures have caused glaciers to melt, which in turn causes sea levels to rise. Due to human activity with fossil fuels emitting giant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
In regards to human interference. The Taylor Energy Oil Spill. The Taylor oil spill has been going on since 2004, it’s estimated the daily volume of discharge is almost 700 barrels of oil per day. Some estimates say that it would be considered one of the largest offshore environmental disasters in US history. The Washington Post said in 2018 that the only reason we found out about it was because of the BP oil spill when watchdog groups stumbled upon it. The oil companies are also asking the federal government to protect them by setting measures to protect them from the effects of climate change that they have causes.
A report by the UN says that with the rising temperatures the rate of deaths from extreme heat will go up by the year 2040. Climate change is a real issue, a real issue that we have to focus on fixing. We’re causing it and we have to wake up and actually do something about it.
A concerned student
The Need to Change the Climate
by Alexander Ramirez
1) First, both you and I understand that the climate is changing, based on the readings provided, however, unlike me, you may not believe that human activity is the primary cause for global warming.
2) Second, even if you may believe human activity is the primary cause for global warming, you may not believe that there will be a solution in which society will stick with, as many would be affected with a change of natural resources.
In response to the first point, it is very difficult to lay 100% blame for climate change solely on human activity. Because, based on the Earth’s history and geological evidence, previous to humans, Earth has been much hotter and cooler than it currently is now. The important fact to remember, though, is not how hot the Earth currently is, but the rate of Earth’s temperature increasing.
Since the coldest part of the last ice age, the Earth’s temperature has increased by about 7 degrees. In the past 100 years, the Earth’s average temperature has risen about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit. This tells us that climate change is happening at a much faster rate now than it has happened in recent history, however, there is a reason for this, it is due to all of the greenhouse gasses in the world that is being pumped to the Earth’s atmosphere by humans.
Many do not realize that the rate for which global warming is increasing at, in our lifetime, used to take place over hundreds of years. According to the New York Times “It’s Official: 2018 Was the Fourth-Warmest Year on Record” https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/06/climate/fourth-hottest-year.html, just this previous year, it was recorded as the 4th hottest year in 140 years. It compares years after the 19th century, to then show how much cooler or warmer every year was, compared with the average temperature of the late 19th century. This comparison shows that not since 1940, the temperature has been below the average temperature of the late 19th century; demonstrating the rising temperature since then.
The second point raised here, is finding a solution to global warming worth the cost? Probably one of the easiest solutions would be to move all resources into finding a new suitable natural resource, changing from natural resources, as well as to remove any greenhouse gasses that is being pumped into the Earth’s atmosphere. This, in turn, would affect millions of people’s employment, as they would no longer be needed to pump the greenhouse gasses.
For example, coal miners, they are a group that frequently align themselves with the opponents of human-caused climate change, feel attacked by environmentalists, and consider their livelihood at risk whenever legislation is introduced, that would deteriorate the use of coal to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. They rely on coal mining as a source of income, however, the need of the few do not outweigh the need of the many. What I am referring to, is that this work is affecting not just the Earth, but also the future generations. I mean, our current generation inherited a world with these problems, I do not think the future generations should also deal with these problems, the disasters the greenhouse gasses produced.
Millions are affected by the disasters the greenhouse gasses emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere. I think even if slowing global warming may harm the economy, the massive forest fires in California, or the heavy hitting hurricanes, such as; Hurricane Sandy, Irma, Harvey, Maria, and Katrina that hit Florida, or Houston, or North Carolina, or Puerto Rico, all which are still very recent in the memories of many, should be a wake-up call to us that we need to deal with the climate change. As climate change is causing hundreds of billions of dollars of damage, at costing some people their lives.
An Outlook on Climate Change
by Vincent Yang
Dear fellow peers,
It has come to our attention, as the human population, that climate change has been more and more controversial as the years go on. While I can see both sides as reasonable and logical there are two distinct points in which our views differ.
To begin, I must mention that we both agree that climate change is occurring. While we do agree on one or more ideas, we do have our different views. For example, you believe humans are not the primary cause of climate change
Another way in which our views differ is that you believe that, assuming humans are the primary source of climate change, the steps required to reduce climate change could be too expensive, not to mention may not make a difference at all.
First, I’d like to say that it is indeed difficult to determine the true factor for the cause of global warming because there are many things that could and do affect our planet’s climate. I personally do not believe there is a definite answer to what the cause of global warming is. But I do believe there are several distinct things that contribute to it and could be changed. While I personally believe that humans are the primary reasons for climate change, I do understand there are other forces that contribute a major effect on Earth.
To address the first point, I’d like to say that I am open to the idea that humans are not the primary cause of climate change, but I would like to say that we do play a major role. For example, people drive cars and while doing so creates pollution. If we take a look at the human population, which is approximately 7.7 billion people, millions of which drive cars. With such a large human population driving cars, the level of pollution is surely large in our atmosphere. Although modern day cars attribute far less pollution in the world today compared to cars years ago, they still affect Earth. In addition to driving cars, people fly on planes, smoke tobacco products, and burn fuels in other ways.
I remember several years ago when I was around 13 or 14 I went to the Santa Cruz wharf to fish with my family. The first few times we went, we would always catch fish ranging from anchovies to perches to starfishes and squids. But more recently around a year ago when we came back to the wharf we weren’t able to catch anything. We thought we were just unlucky that day so we came again several weeks later, but it was the same: no catches.
In the second point, finding a solution to reduce climate change seems as if it would be a dramatic change in human everyday lives. While it could be if we take it to the extreme, it could be as minor as walking to your destination rather than driving, if possible. Or people could carpool together to work, or their desired destination rather than driving two separate vehicles. I understand how inconvenient it can be to walk instead of drive, but in a way it has its benefits. For example, we are getting exercise, staying healthy, while at the same time reducing the amount of gasoline we burn, doing our individual part in reducing climate change. In addition, by doing so we are preserving Earth for as long as we can so that our children and their children and so on can live a long prosperous life.
While we may not see eye to eye on the real cause of climate change, we can set aside our different viewpoints and come to the conclusion that climate change is real and we have the power to reduce it to a minimum as much as we can.
by Bryan Kyle Chung
I would like to first mention the differences in our opinions. First, although we may both agree that Earth has had constant shifting temperatures, the cause of the most recent temperature change from the past few hundred years to present day is what falls into contention. Whereas I believe that human and industrial activity are the primary causes of recent global warming, your examination of the evidence has left you concluding that natural processes have a greater impact and human activity has little to no effect. Secondly, some, through their own research, may agree that global temperatures are increasing but may fail to see the supposed drastic environmental impact.
Now that our differences in opinion have been noted, I hope you may see this letter as a friendly gesture working towards an agreeable solution for both sides of the climate change debate.
To address the point of contention in what truly is the cause of the recent change in climate, although natural processes have been the reason for climate change in the past, the rate at which those changes occurred have never exponentially increased. I do agree that there is yet to be an agreement among climatologists stating human actions are the cause of climate change, there is still a pattern of an increase in global temperature and the rise of industrial processes that produces greenhouse gases which climatologists can agree are the causes of global warming. Secondly, I can personally understand some people’s failure to see the effects of global warming, thus resulting in a belief that no actions are needed to combat it. Throughout my life, I have never been personally exposed to such drastic environmental discrepancies over time as one might assume with global warming. However, the key word in the phrase is global, thus, the effects will, by nature, be far more subtle and effect the entire world. Thus, anyone’s personal experiences in their local areas cannot be used as an indicator of the effects of global warming. Therefore, to see the effects of global warming, there is necessity to take a big picture look.
When one does so, it is evident there are several areas that are currently seeing or will see their ecosystems fall apart due to rising sea temperatures. Two examples being the Great Barrier Reef whose coral are in danger due to coral bleaching and the Amazon, whose trees are in danger due to excessive drought seasons. With the trees vulnerable, the rainforest itself is more susceptible to forest fire, placing a vast ecosystem of numerous, diverse species in danger.
In my childhood, I remember taking trips to the Philippines to see family over summer vacations. I often slept during the long car trips but when I did look out into the streets of Manila, I would be greeted by a grey sea of cars and smoke. Thus my childhood is filled with memories of the bleak after effects industrialization has on cities. If these patterns of industrialization and climate change continue, the association of Earth with natural colors of green and blue will become myth that humans once got to experience. Additionally, I would like to come to some agreement in concern of the current climate change as opposed to previous natural processes throughout Earth’s history.
Thank you for your time, I would love to hear your point of view, so we could come to an agreement on a solution.
Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
by Isaiah Claudio
To whom it may concern,
Climate change is a serious issue, as I am sure most, if not all people would agree. However, it is not uncommon to disagree on topics such as why exactly this climate change is occurring and what factors are leading to this. Moreover, I know we agree on most ideas regarding climate change however I have realized there are two ideas in which we do not agree on.
1) Although we both agree that climate change is a serious issue on Earth right now, we disagree about reasons why. Despite my belief that greenhouse gases, which are a lead role in climate change, are a direct result of human activity, you believe that the greenhouse gases created by human activity are not substantial enough to make a severe impact on climate change.
2)My second point in which we differ is in regards to our reaction to climate change. Although we both agree that climate change is affecting the earth and its occupants, I believe that immediate action is to be taken to combat these causes of climate change while you believe that climate change is something that comes from the normal earth rotations and non human related activity. That there is nothing we can do.
In response to my first point, I do understand your point as to why you would believe that greenhouse gases are not substantial enough to make a severe impact. The Earth's temperature has been rising even before industrialization and before greenhouse gases have come into the minds of scientists in terms of climate change. However, the effects of green house gases have recently began to be a much greater problem than before. With the increase of industrialization and technology, the release of gases into the air surrounding us has increased, thus having a major effect on the world and climate change. Despite your view on greenhouse gases and how you believe it does not effect climate change, I believe that you must take a closer and more recent look at the world around. The world has changed drastically within the past century, more buildings, technology, innovation, industrialization. This all coming directly from human activity, us! As well, not only does it increase climate change, it increases the rate at which our world's temperature is being affected. Causing glaciers to die, and causing sea levels to rise because the glaciers have melted. Because of these reasons we must take action.
Regarding the second point, whether we should take action or not, I hope this is something we could both agree on. Despite your belief that there is nothing we can do to stop climate change because you believe that it is not something caused by human activity and rather caused by Earth's normal rotations, we must still act out to try and assist the earth in reducing climate change. There are many different actions we can take to try and reduce climate change. First and most importantly, we should reduce greenhouse gases because this is letting out harmful gasses to the atmosphere of the earth causing the temperature to rise, and like a domino effect, this will reduce the amount of glaciers on Earth, therefore causing sea levels to rise, and finally possibly causing the Earth to flood killing many people. As well we can also reduce pollution as that goes into the ocean, having an effect on the temperature of the ocean and how the ocean absorbs the sun's heat. Although climate change is not something that can have an immediate effect, we must combat it to push it away as far as possible because although climate change is something we cannot avoid, we can definitely reduce the rate at which the Earth is warming.
Ultimately, despite our difference in thoughts about climate change, we can all agree that it is having a negative effect on the Earth and that we want to combat it and reduce it as much as possible. I hope that I have been able to alter your belief and allow you to see a different perspective in climate change. I also hope that we can all join forces to try anything possible to reduce climate change and push back this problem far, far away.
My View Of Climate Change
by Janae Polk
Dear Fellow Peers,
Climate change is a global epidemic amongst the most pervasive issues the world is currently experiencing. Alongside a burgeoning and productive economy comes a significant change in the earth’s atmosphere.
Arguments for climate change can range from scientific phenomena to political and bureaucratic interference, ultimately, most positions on the subject matter are binary and polarized. As a firm believer in climate change, I value and write this letter to preserve the various perspectives and context of thought when addressing the subject of climate change.
To represent all sides of the subject matter of climate change, I would like to recognize the nuanced positions on climate change. Although there is a substantial archive of scientific evidence that demonstrates global change in the earth’s atmosphere over the past decades-the most unequivocal change being temperature- there is no concrete evidence that would move you to believe human interference is a primary cause for this change. To extend this point, it is clear that regardless of the change of the earth’s atmosphere, you do not specifically believe human interaction is the “cause of severity.” You most likely believe that there is even no severity.
Additionally, even if you were to believe that the global climate is severely endangered not only presently, but in the succeeding decades, any motion to endorse eco-friendly proposals would be costly. Most proposals for a “green” environment would require expenses to build sources that promote sustainable and renewable energy which doesn’t pose a threat to the global environment. These expenses may seem as burdens to the government and people’s certain political values, specifically those who value fiscal autonomy.
These opposing views are of no less value than my own.
Towards the end of this letter, I hope to reach consensus from some, but I also hope to inform you of my brief perspective on climate change.
To tackle opposition to climate change from an initial point, it’s important to understand that through industrialization the earth’s atmosphere has taken on a huge anthropogenic change. The earth does naturally evolve over time; however, the interference of man-made factories, refineries and other institutions that emit mass amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that trap heat and eventually accumulate pollutants in the atmosphere. As the rays of sunlight hit the earth’s atmosphere, the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide the gases absorb the light and hold the heat which then creates a warmer atmosphere.
Through these rising temperatures certain areas have to fight through severe drought. There has been a thread of wildfires which destroy the entirety of people’s homes and other possessions. Regardless of the loss of property, the continuation wildfires creates an almost unlivable areas. The smoke residue from burnt trees and debris infiltrates the atmosphere making it harder to breathe. And it’s not quick that the air clears. Deforestation through massive emissions of GHGs and increase of wildfires makes it even unlivable for animals. Most animals inhabit places of forest; however, without a home, they can’t feed themselves or offspring, rendering them almost endangered in that certain area. Not only does deforestation occur through massive emission of the gases through human interaction, but this also occurs through ocean acidification and pollution.
This is only the surface of the issue, there is much other evidence that predicts the further rise of temperature over the years if we continued action that increases greenhouse gas emissions.
Again, although there are multiple positions to climate change, and whether we believe or not, we can’t deny there hasn’t been a change in the earth’s climate. Either position, it’s pivotal that we come to consensus that there is much that can me done about the environment that values both sides of the argument.
One Small Step Makes World Better
by Zhaoyi Xu
(1) Sea levels have been steadily rising for thousands of years, and the increase has nothing to do with humans.
(2) Human-produced CO2 is re-absorbed by oceans, forests, and other “carbon sinks,” negating any climate changes.
The impact of climate change is on human beings. These effects include melting glaciers, loss of sea ice, sea level rise, migration of rainfall and monsoon belts, changes in extreme weather, crop growth and food security, changes in water resources, and the migration due to climate change. Through these effects, I believe humanity is destroying themselves rather than the planet Earth.
Because of the educational system and the environment, we have different opinions on the issue of climate change. You used enough date and reference to explain sea level rise as a natural phenomenon for thousands of years, which the human does not serve as a part. You also mentioned oceans and forests would re-absorbed the carbon dioxide produced by the human. I respect your point of view, and I don't think it's a problem at some point. I also would like to believe that sea level rise is a natural phenomenon. I hope that forests and oceans will absorb all human-made carbon dioxide. However, in the news that we can see, in the environment that we can feel, I have to wonder whether the situation is worse than we believe.
I sincerely invite you to go over my point of view with me, and after reading my letter, we can have a conclusion on this issue.
Human activities have destroyed the ecological balance of nature. A small act of human can cause a series of a vicious circle, such as deforestation. Greedy humankind takes excessive timber in forests, and the destruction of forest resources causes that carbon dioxide cannot be fully absorbed. Not only does this carbon dioxide remain in the atmosphere, but it is also incorporated by the oceans and makes them more acidic. Some vulnerable marine species would die, or even become extinct. As a result, the ecological chain of marine life will be destroyed.
As the old saying, “An eye for an eye.” This series of activities, the final will be revenge on the initiator. Excess carbon dioxide left in the air, plus water vapor from the acidified ocean, it raises air temperature and results in acid rain, which worsens human health. As my own experience, living in a city full of pollution in China, I do not dare to catch the rain outside because I am afraid of losing my hair.
Moreover, the news reports people dying of heat every year in the south of China. I think many people are similar to me, and there are three things I cannot live without in summer, air condition, Wi-Fi, and ice cream. However, the large number of chlorofluorocarbons produced by air conditioners will make the atmosphere warmer and warmer. As a result, we are increasingly dependent on air conditioning, and then the air temperature will never come down again.
I think it hurts me the most is not just humans who are suffering from climate change, but also the innocent animals. The melting of Arctic sea ice has led to the migration of some polar animals. For example, the polar bear is forced to leave its normal foraging range. The polar bear needs to travel further to find food, which means it needs to consume more energy. However, polar bears cannot stay away from their families, so they often starve to death. The root cause of all this is not just the rising sea levels caused by natural factors, but by human-made factors—burning of fossil fuels and gasoline—which accelerates the annual rate of sea level rise.
I, as an animal lover, what I like the most is communicating with them. I want to connect to them and feel what they feel. I can imagine how hard it is for them to survive today, to leave their home -- their family -- into a place of unknown looking for food. The polar bears were so thin and malnutrition that they can barely move, their interaction with the human was closer than ever before, their habitat was smaller than ever before. If you were a polar bear living in the current climate change, what would you feel? Hunger and responsibility make you desperate, and you may end up consuming your child(ren) or letting them feed on you. No one likes a tragic ending, nor allow our future decedent to bear the burden of our mistakes.
Every year, new technologies are developed, such as new phones and new cars. In this era of rapid development of innovation, if more funds can be invested in the environmental protection department, I believe everyone will become more aware of the crucial position we were in today. In this talented society, I think that environmental damage can be controlled and effectively solved. To accomplish this take, I hope you can join me in the preservation of our environment by switching our energy to cleaner wind energy, printing the paper double-sided, and turning off the light when leaving.
This is one small step for you but is a giant step if everyone tries to make a change. Thank you for reading and I hope we can make this world a better place for our future children!
The Debate On Climate Change
by Jessica Bibeault
Dear Fellow Student,
I am writing this letter with the hope that we can come to some agreement on the issue of climate change. You may be thinking that my intention is to convince you that your viewpoints are false, but my true main objective is to inform you of my opinions so we can create a solution and a mutual understanding of our opposing sides. Whichever side you may be on, it can be agreed upon that climate change is an issue that has detrimental impacts on the environment and should be addressed.
There are two claims I would like to touch upon that you may be pondering. The first has to do with the idea that humans’ actions, like industrialization, have not actually contributed to the change in the Earth’s climate but it is rather an uncontrollable process that has occurred since the existence of the planet. The second argument pertains to how humans can contribute to the decrease in global warming. You may be thinking that there is no possible way for humans to stop such a large-scale problem when we are not the cause of the problem. Or you believe it is too late to make any significant impact.
As a response to the first claim, I would like to address the argument with some statistics. Although you may not believe humans contribute to the warming of the planet, the increased emission of greenhouse gases, created by humans, into the atmosphere is a significant cause of climate change. In 2011, researchers found that “global emissions of human-produced CO2 were about 34 billion tons, the equivalent of about 408 billion shipping containers full of greenhouse gases.” With this high dispersion of gases, which has increased immensely in the last few centuries due to the increase in industrialization, the Earth’s temperature is increasing at an exponential rate. Personally, I have driven through whole cities dedicated to a community of factories that visibly emit gases into the atmosphere. The U.S., specifically, is a fast-growing nation with many newly established industries that are contributing to the problem. It was discovered that in 2010, the U.S. produced “28% of all global greenhouse gas emissions,” even though we only account for “4.5% of the world’s population.”
Now, I know you most likely don’t want to be given only facts and statistics. So, for my next point against the second claim I listed earlier, I will tell you a story. I did not have much information about the true impact of the rising temperatures until I was personally affected. A couple of years ago, my mom brought my friends and I to her boss’s vacation home in Calistoga near Sonoma County, for my birthday party. As we were driving just a few minutes from the house, I noticed a zoo that I begged my mom to take us to. It turns out that it would have been too expensive to bring along our whole group, so she promised me we could go next time. The only problem was that the California wildfires swept through the town, just hours away from my own home, and destroyed the zoo. The next time I drove past the venue in the summer of last year, all I saw was the charred forest.
I know it is a difficult concept to grasp, that humans are the cause of these natural disasters, but I feel it is necessary to at least convey to you the idea that is could be real. Think about when you drive down a highway and see the hundreds of cars on the road with you. Each one of those vehicles contributes to the harmful gases being released each time they turn their keys to start their cars. Think about the thousands of immigrants that have been forced to flee their homes because of the rise in sea levels that has flooded their land and pulled their communities under water. Ponder about the California wildfires that could not be contained because of the high winds and how many people’s homes were destroyed in the process.
I have provided you with facts and information I hope you will at least consider when you think about climate change. There is a solution that humans have already been working toward, which is to address the issue at hand and halt the actions that cause the increase in greenhouse gases. Just taking the bus to school or using a reusable water bottle are ways you can help the situation. Although we may not feel the detrimental effects of climate change in our lifetimes, we should still care about future generations who will be heavily impacted by our actions.
Thank you for your time
Sink or Sink Faster
In a world where the majority of the population believes in human-caused global warming, I commend you for maintaining your steadfast disagreement. Going against the status quo is never easy, especially regarding a contentious issue such as climate change. While I am part of the majority, I also understand why you would be averse to complying with the mass opinion. After all, there is no concrete evidence that indicates human greenhouse gas emission as the key factor in the recent rise of global temperature. Computerized climate change models are inaccurate and studies have shown that fluctuations of Earth’s temperature occurred in the past. Without any undeniable proof, you are under no obligation to accept the notion that human behavior is accelerating the rate in which the planet’s temperature increases or that we need to take measures to mitigate that rise.
So why then, you might ask, am I part of the population of people who advocates for change? If I am aware of the holes in the “pro” global warming logic, why would I support the idea that climate change is a problem that we must address? My reasoning is this: Can we deny that climate change, natural or not, is happening? Can we ignore that the increase in temperature is melting the polar ice caps? Can we disregard the effects that the rising sea level will have on mankind?
My family is from San Diego. Despite living twenty minutes from the beach, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean is still visible from my house. Born and raised in the coastal city, the water is no stranger to me. During low tide, there’s a brief period when I can descend the cliffside to explore the Point Loma tide pools. If I go to La Jolla Cove, I gawk at the nearby large seals basking comfortably on the warm rocks. Whenever I visit Seaport Village, a waterfront shopping complex, I get the chance to admire the large Navy ships docked in the harbor. For special occasions, my family takes a ferry across the bay to walk around Coronado Island’s golden beaches. Many of my fondest memories have taken place within the vicinity of the waves. I wholeheartedly cherish the privilege of living near the ocean.
In my lifetime, San Diego has not experienced any large-scale natural disasters that would affect the city. At most, San Diegans dealt with a couple of low magnitude earthquakes, some flooding, and the occasional wildfire. All a normal part of the California experience. The increase in sea levels, however, may change the picturesque scene that I am familiar with.
When the sea levels eventually rise too much, almost everything around the coast will be negatively impacted. Cliffsides will be eroded, while entire beaches will be submerged. Public property, such as the Seaport Village I love so much, will be wiped out. Entire communities (homes, workplaces, livelihoods) will indiscriminately be swallowed by the ocean, displacing thousands. Much of San Diego’s revenue comes from the city being a tourist hot spot. If its famed beaches no longer exist, then the economy will plummet. San Diego won’t be the only place to experience these consequences. All around the world, there are regions along the coastlines that will also suffer such devastating effects. It’s hard to even imagine the chaos that mankind will one day undergo.
I recognize that it is virtually impossible to reverse the effects of the melting ice caps. I am not expecting mankind to spend all its time and resources in such a useless endeavor. The sea levels will rise, maybe not in our lifetimes, but it will occur and impact the future generations to come. I believe, however, changing our behavior regarding the environment is still the course of action we should take. Even if there isn’t any explicit evidence that global warming is caused by humans, the slight chance that we are contributing to the increase in temperature should be enough of a reason for us to take mitigating action. We can’t prevent the sea levels from rising, but we can try our best to not worsen and speed up the inevitable. Finding more “green” alternatives in the ways we live may not change anything at all. Or, it might change everything. We don’t know. But when it comes to the planet we live on, it is better to be safe than sorry.
With (globally) warm regards,
A Concerned Beach Lover
A Collaborative Take on Climate Change
by Jeana Rose Meneses
We have reached a critical time in our history and what we choose to do, or not do, will have an effect on all living things, so I please ask us to do one thing - listen to each other sincerely in order to come together in discussion.
Our starting place is good! We all recognize that there have been significant changes in the climate, like a rise in temperature, which have had effects on other aspects of the world such as rising sea levels. Since we agree on the basis that something is happening to our planet, we are now able to grow from here and work together to come to a conclusion.
First though, we do have to recognize that there are some differences in our perspectives. One being that, while I believe humans to be the main contributing factor to the rising temperatures we are facing, you may believe there are other nature related factors that are greater than that.
While it is true that there could be a wide range of factors contributing to the patterns of change that we are seeing now, I believe that human tendencies are the driving force due to the rate that these changes are occurring. Greenhouse gasses, which can be created by human tendencies such as industrial manufacturing and through car exhaustion, traps heat and then that heat is what warms the planet.
Although it is true that there are natural causes that add to the increase in CO2 levels, like solar forcing, those causes do not explain why there is a sudden increase in the rate at which our CO2 levels are increasing. The NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory explained the recent phenomenon by saying, “Atmospheric levels of CO2 have risen from about 317 ppm in 1958 to 400 ppm in 2013 (Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide)”. This is a 83 ppm difference in just 55 years! This is a monumental change, especially since an increase of 10 ppm would have usually taken 1,000 or more years to happen according to past patterns (What Does 400 ppm Look Like?). These insane increases in CO2 have to come from somewhere and, as time has progressed, our human tendency to rely on technology or transportation methods that create CO2 has only increased leading the correlation between us and climate change to be apparent.
Another difference in our opinions may include the fact that I believe that combating climate change should be a top priority and that if we don’t take action now, then we will feel the repercussions later on. I understand that we might live in areas that don’t really notice the effects of climate change as much as other places and, due to us not seeing those consequences first hand, I feel that it could be easy for us to disregard the issue or not feel the need to take action right away, but for many people this is not the case. In places like Alexandria, Egypt people don’t get the choice to just ignore the signs. The Guardian explains that, “The IPCC reported that Alexandria’s beaches would be submerged even with a 0.5-metre- sea-level rise, while 8 million people would be displaced by flooding in Alexandria and the Nile Delta if no protective measures are taken (The three-degree world: the cities that will be drowned by global warming)”. For these people, climate change is very much real and, if no proper preventative measure is taken, their homes could be destroyed.
The changes we make don’t have to be monumental. As a college student who currently takes the bus everywhere, I completely understand the appeal of having a car. However, I also understand that if I ever do have get a car, being part of a carpool group could be a form of progress.Yes, it is a small step, but at least it is something. We don’t necessarily have to rearrange our entire lives to prevent climate change because the beauty of having so many people on our earth is that even the smallest change that we make individually can be a huge step forward if we all do it together.
I know that this is scary because I’m scared too. I also understand that this topic could be a bit overwhelming or hard to wrap your head around because I’m not necessarily an expert in climate change either. That being said, this is precisely the reason that we need each other. This is the world that we share together. This is the place that we call home. Let’s have it stay that way.
Thanks for listening to my side and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say so that we can work together and come to a consensus!
“Climate Change ProCon.org.” Is Human Activity a Substantial Cause of Global Climate Change?,
Holder, Josh, et al. “The Three-Degree World: Cities That Will Be Drowned by Global Warming.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 3 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2017/nov/03/three-degree-world-cities-drowned-global-warming.
Monroe, Rob. “What Does 400 Ppm Look Like?” Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 3 Dec. 2013,
Team, ESRL Web. “ESRL Global Monitoring Division - Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.” NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, 1 Oct. 2005, www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/.
A Call to Action
by Sophia Perry
Climate change has been a very popular point of political controversy. I, myself, have encountered many people who have expressed many different views on climate change. There are many ways in which opinions differ on the issue of climate change. The two opinions that are most expressed are regarding the validity of climate change and the source responsible.
Many do not believe that climate change is a real thing. Those who claim that it is fake argue that it is a hoax. Those who agree to claim that it is real, often do not agree that it is caused by greenhouse gasses or believe that it is a threat to the earth. These people believe that the causes that have come as a result of climate change are natural and that they are not something to fear.
Though I understand the idea of climate change can be hard to believe since there are no drastic changes, in recent years, it has become harder and harder to ignore. The earth’s average temperature has risen more than one degree celsius. The numbers are higher in certain parts of the arctic. This sets off a cycle that some scientists have said is becoming irreversible. Ice caps melt, water levels rise, and temperatures drastically change. These changes can drastically affect the way we live, get food, and even our chance of survival on earth.
I understand that this doesn’t sound like a lot, but it has caused many drastic changes in weather and living conditions globally. It is impossible to consider that it is not a real thing. The many wildfires caused by climate change has taken too many lives for it to be considered a hoax. Many who claim that they do not see effects point out the fact that there is still snow in certain areas of the world. So the question here is, how could climate change be real if snow can still form? This is a common misconception. Warmer temperatures in the arctic not only drastically raise temperatures, but also lower them to create colder winters.
The political climate these days, especially in America, has been very divided. It is a two-party system that has its heart set on defeating the other side. This is a dangerous game to play considering the condition of our planet is at stake. Rather than argue about the definition of cause of what is making the weather on our planet more severe, we should focus on the fact that we are in danger. Since America is one of the biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere we should be the one of the countries working hardest to combat it, yet we are stuck fighting over who is right and who is wrong.
Bottom line is, the earth needs our help. The facts are not ignorable and it is not an option to believe that climate change is not real. At this point, we need to start educating people on the real dangers that can come from the continuation of our emissions into the atmosphere. Temperatures will only change more and water levels will raise even higher.
I think it is time for us to set our differences aside and focus on saving the planet we all call home. We need to have conversations and agree on laws and bills that will lower our contribution to the effects of climate change. We may not be able to reverse what damage we have done, but we should work to prevent any further damage from happening.
Climate Change from First Principles
by Syris Norelli
I feel as though much of the current media on climate change relies on your belief in statements from authority figures. Perhaps you have noticed this. This presentation method is counterproductive to real discussion. In this letter, I work from basic, visible, and testable physics principles and show that climate change is both real and human-caused. I work from the assumption that you doubt that both climate change is happening (beyond the natural climate cycle) and that humans could be contributing to it.
First, let’s build a holistic image of how temperature works on Earth.
Objects in sunlight receive energy. This is why parking lots become hot during the day. The same is true with your lightbulbs at home, but the light is much less high energy, so you don’t notice the heating effect. When an object receives light energy, some of it is stored, and some of it gets re-released as infrared light. You can verify this using a thermal imager and hot water from a sink (https://youtu.be/M4dTxXfna7s). Infrared light is released in every direction from the surface it starts at. This infrared light can cause more heating, but it often escapes to space (as long as there’s not anything in the way in the atmosphere).
One thing that “gets in the way” of infrared is clouds. Since these are temporary and take up only a small size vertically (relative to the atmosphere), they have a negligible effect on Earth’s overall infrared. However, things that are mixed into the air everywhere (like other gases) have a larger effect. Some gases are more infrared-absorbing - we call these “greenhouse gases.” Once they absorb the infrared, they release some back toward Earth, which contributes to heating. These include common industrial by-products, like CO2 (carbon dioxide), NO2 (nitrous oxide), and CH4 (methane). Proving that greenhouse gases have the effect of absorbing infrared more than other gases is a bit more tricky without specialized equipment, but here is a good example (https://youtu.be/kwtt51gvaJQ).
Now, it stands to reason that, given those two effects, a large increase in greenhouse gases should increase global temperature. This is precisely what has been measured over the last century (https://www.pveducation.org/sites/default/files/PVCDROM/Introduction/CO2.GIF). While it is true that this data is probably the hardest to check on your own, you can record data from many trees across multiple areas to get historical climate data (trees grow according to local temperature and available nutrients).
There are more reasons to suspect that the climate is changing than this, such as significantly decreased area of Arctic sea ice and larger severe weather events. As for the source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is not clear what other source it could be from other than humans. People have proposed alternative models like solar radiance, but those wouldn’t cause more CO2 to be measured by sensors easily purchasable off the market. (If you are skeptical that the sensor numbers are being falsified to support climate change, you may do some careful testing using Alka-Seltzer to see if the expected CO2 increases are what you expect.)
So why is global temperature increase a negative thing? Increased temperature causes ice to melt. While it is true that the melting of floating ice does not change surface water level (you can test this in a glass), much ice on the Earth is actually on land or held up by an ice sheet on land. When glaciers and suspended ice melts, it does contribute to sea level rise. The effects of this are extremely costly at an economic level - some estimates put the cost of flooding in highly-developed coastline areas as high as 14 trillion a year by 2100 (https://phys.org/news/2018-07-sea-world-trillion-year.html), which is approximately as high as the US national debt. In addition, countries like the Marshall Islands are at risk of simply being submerged. An increase of 1m of sea level would submerge 80% of the nation's most populated island. For those nations, it is a fact of life they are concerned with.
I hope I’ve given you some experimental routes to explore climate change further. I find that often disagreement with climate change is tied in with distrust of "ivory tower" institutions and elitism, so I think the best way to trade information is through things you can see in front of your eyes.
If I’ve influenced your opinion towards climate change, I would like to invite you to advocate to your local politician to implement carbon taxes. Although they have been greatly mocked by conservative media, they are the primary market-based, democratic answer to climate change. Since climate change has negative effects which are not directly felt by the companies responsible (such as oil refiners), there is a “negative externality” in effect, which taxes the wellbeing of everyday people worldwide instead of the companies. If a carbon tax is correctly calibrated to offset the amount of harm that is being done by these producers, then the free market will do its job and rational consumers will end up moving away from carbon-producing products. It will have a fast and proportionate effect, which is absolutely necessary if we would like to reduce the effects of climate change.
I believe in making the world a better place,
what do you believe in?
by Kai Perillo
Dear Climate Change Deniers,
I agree with you. I agree that the importance of maintaining a sufficient amount of jobs, especially for the working class, is imperative. I agree with you that the government has been failing in many ways over the past few decades to keep a stable economy that benefits us all. That is why coal plants, car manufacturers and other factory based employment has been drawn to the forefront of both national and local politics. With people debating, sometimes viciously, back and forth over the issue: should we close these plants and potentially cost all the employees their jobs, just because many scientists believe these companies are harming the environment adding to a global problem of so-called “climate change”?
When you frame it like that the answer appears simple, the well being of Americans should trump any concern of having hotter summers. But, the world isn’t so black and white, is it? For many, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is the fossil fuel industry is a dead end. The Earth not only has limited resources of oil and gas, but we have limited opportunities for laborers as well. No child in elementary school says, “I want to be a factory worker when I grow up,” it just happens. There are reasons the working class deals with so many problems on a day to day basis, some parents have to work multiple jobs to support their families, some lack health insurance or any access to medical care for that matter. Ask yourself why there is so much injustice in working-class communities, it’s not because the government is sanctioning these companies so hard they can’t afford to properly pay their workers. According to Forbes.com Charles Koch, CEO of Koch industries, is estimated at a net worth of $51.1 Billion Dollars. Environmental regulations aren’t the reason working-class Americans are forced to work long hours in sometimes unsafe conditions and still worry about putting bread on the table it’s these companies, and subsequently the billionaires who own them, are profiting immensely this injustice and the government’s failure not to step in and protect our basic human rights.
Ecotricity.com predicts that the Earth’s oil reserves may be depleted entirely as early as 2052. It’s becoming increasingly clear that fossil fuel industries are going to crash and burn, without any oil left how are oil companies going to profitable? Now that question does have a simple answer, they won’t. Picture it happening, all those billion dollar oil companies going belly up, a single factory closing down can devastate entire communities, now imagine if all the factories closed and we had no alternative labor opportunities for those workers. It would be the highest unemployment since the great depression. Which is why we need an alternative. Whether you believe in climate change or not is irrelevant, I’m certain you realize solar panels and wind turbines can generate electricity too, and that’s real sustainable energy, an industry that will continue to grow forever. It’s the next economic boom, the next gold rush, the future of technology, agriculture, transportation, it’s all going to require a sustainable energy work force. The only problem is the incumbent wielders of world power like the billionaire CEO’s of the fossil fuel industry don’t want you to see it this way. As many of them have failed to invest in sustainable technology, they rely on fossil fuels remaining profitable as long as possible. But, as we’ve seen, it might be possible for them to live out the rest of their lives in luxury, but for the younger generations, we face the threat of economic disaster in our lifetimes because of their shortsightedness.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is something measurable that we collectively as a world have been keeping tabs on, according to climate.gov, in the past 800,000 years CO2 in the atmosphere never went above 300 parts per million or ppm. In 1969 that number hit 324ppm, as of 2019, just half a century later, that number is now 410ppm. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which traps in the sun's radiation, heating planet. We are already the effects of the changing, small island nations like The Marshall Islands are losing land to rising sea levels caused by receding ice fields of the Arctic. Afghanistan much of the land previously used for herding cattle and raising other agricultural resources vital to the region has become inhospitable due to the heat. An increase in disasters in the Americas like a surge in hurricanes and wildfires can also be traced back to the changing climate. If all the Arctic melted sea levels would rise by 216ft. according to National Geographic, if that were to happen the city of New York would be underwater.
We can solve these problems. Let's Try.
A Greater Generation
by Jacob Bartenhagen
To all Climate Change questioners,
We may agree on any number of issues, but we differ fundamentally in our views about the science of climate change in two significant ways:
1. There is a skepticism of the agenda behind scientists supporting climate change theories. On one side of the argument are the scientific community who support their findings with data and evidence, and on the on the other, all too often are corporations who represent fossil fuel or some other such industries that have a vested interest in fighting climate change science the way tobacco companies fought cancer research.
2. We also differ is in our estimation of how much humans are influencing, or worsening, the effects of climate change. I believe that the fact that we have seen an astronomic increase in endangered and extinct animal species since the industrial revolution; an increase in global annual temperatures; and alarming melting of the polar ice-caps as well as disappearance of glaciers and lakes around the world all are clear indicators of human-driven climate change. Opposing people see these as explainable by natural cycles or attributable to other unknown forces.
I don’t know who you are, or what makes you such a firm believer in your cause, but let me tell you about my beliefs, or more, my grandfather’s. He was the son of a farmer in Iowa in the 1930's. He may not have been in The Dust Bowl, but he was close to it. People in his time hadn’t believed it was possible to create the environmental catastrophe that was The Dust Bowl, and yet it happened all the same. He didn’t understand it, he didn’t care to, all he knew was that he was poor, and hungry, and that there was some force bigger than him or his understanding that was responsible for his suffering.
It took a while for the government to act, but eventually we got subsidies for farmers to reduce their over farming, crop rotation was put in place to enrich to topsoil and keep it from blowing away, and the environment recovered. My grandpa didn’t know why that worked, but it did, and it took a bunch of people looking at the problem and coming up with solutions to overcome it, people he was not afraid to admit knew more about the subject than him.
He doesn’t have any strong convictions one way or the other about climate change now, but he does admit that he could stand to learn more about it. What he does know is that Eastern Iowa has seen more “500 year floods” and “100 year floods” in the past couple decades than he ever saw growing up. That there are fewer white Christmases, more years of extreme droughts, or floods on the Mississippi, and more dramatic changes in weather from season to season.
If people who claim climate change is real have explanations for these changes, then he won’t argue with their solutions. They will sometimes be wrong, but just like how every solution didn’t work to end The Dust Bowl, not every solution will work to end climate change, and not every solution has to work. But when sea levels are rising and causing more dangerous hurricanes to hit the South East and Gulf than ever before, and when more of his friends complain about how unbearable the summer heat is now, he knows there must be some truth to this phenomenon.
My grandpa also grew up during World War Two. They call the generation that fought in this war “The Greatest Generation”, and with good cause. Through the ingenuity of the people during this time, we changed the tide of a losing war against not one, but two empires. The ideas that generation came up with to fight these foes were numerous: some were ridiculous, like dove-guided bombs, and others were marvels we still use today, such as computers, radar, jet engines and so many more.
Fighting climate change is like fighting a war, it will take drastic action at all levels of society, it will require us to sacrifice certain modern conveniences and in the process we may make new technologies to take their place. Some dispute humanity’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, saying they are negligible in the grand scheme of things; but even if this is so, should we not strive to make a better world regardless of the threat of catastrophe?
Pollution is real even if we cannot agree on its global effects, massive droughts and floods are real and destroying communities in numerous countries, global heat records being broken are real and causing deaths in countless communities of the elderly and youth alike. Whatever the cause, we should agree as a civilization that if there is anything to be done, then we should try rather than be complacent in the event that we are wrong. This will all be with the end goal of making sure that we can be the grandparents of another generation that is left with a world in a better place than how we found it.
Cimate Change 2019
by Ahlayjah Dahl
My Dear Friends,
On controversial issues, there are many disagreements throughout various communities, many take the position of one’s group, culture, or community especially on such issues like climate change. One may side with the predominant view of the community because of the fear of being an outsider. Which leads to differences of opinions between groups. While we agree on many important topics here are two notable points our opinions differ on climate change;
1. First, after you and I both examined and concluded that the Earth’s climate is continuing to change, like it has over centuries. The point in which we differ is you do not believe that humans are the primary reason for climate change and unsure if humans contribute to it at all.
2. Second, you believe that there is no significant data on climate change. So even if you believe humans are a primary cause, you question how can conservation acts can be done without accurate data. And therefore, you believe climate is not drastically changing enough to ring alarms and enact actions.
I hope at the end of this letter we can understand one another’s position, views and hopefully come to solution of climate change that we can both agree on.
In regards to the first point, firstly, I would like to say that I agree it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of anything that is as complex and widespread as climate change is with perfect certainty. From research and scientific evidence we have seen that the Earth has become much warmer and much cooler in the past. What is most important though, is not that the Earth is becoming warmer and colder in unusual places, but the rate at which the Earth is becoming warmer and colder in unusual places.
We know, for example, that the Earth’s temperature has increased a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over the past 5,000 years. In the past century alone the temperature has climbed another 0.7 degrees Celsius, which is about ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming. Which means within the next century the Earth will warm approximately 2 to 6 degrees Celsius which is a 20 times faster predicted rate of warming. This increased rate of warming tells us that something other than the usual suspects - volcanoes or asteroid strikes- were present in the last century. And the major discrepancy within the last century are the greenhouse gasses humans are releasing into the atmosphere.
To help understand how drastic the global climate is changing in recent years is to realize that the increase of Earth’s temperature of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius was over thousands of years while recently the Earth’s temperature has increased 0.7 degrees Celsius in only 100 years. Also, it is predicted for Earth to warm even faster in coming years. An example to help you realize this drastic change is to research how climate change affects ocean temperatures. A good resourceful website to start is: https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/ocean-warming . On this page the IUCN provides information on the issue, the impacts on humans and marine life, and what can be done to change.
Seeing the many affects climate change has on not only marine life but humans also is shocking. I remember visiting the beaches and aquariums very often as a child to be amazed by all the life the ocean had to offer. Now when I realize that many species are endangered, I realize that the many memories I have of marine life and the oceans will not be the memories my children have of them.
The second point raised is that there is no significant model data on climate change. Much like you, I am also confused on why scientists and many organizations are screaming global climate change when the models do not show short term results. So that poses the question, how can we help stop or slow down climate change if there are no accurate results? I can understand why being left with this confusing and helpless feeling may make you reluctant on wanting to learn more and help solve the enormous issue of global climate change.
The good news here is that we can reach a consensus. While climate change models show little to no climate change, for example, one model done 5 years ago is similar to a most recent model which shows little change. But what the models do show are the drastic effects climate change has on Earth in the future, as in a 100 years or so. This forecast is important to exemplify that climate change happens slowly, relative to how fast the Earth warmed during the post ice-age versus the past century, and is very dangerous. Conservative measures such as electric cars, solar panels, and using less water, will help slow down or maybe even stop the increased rates of global warming in the distant future. Taking this information we can hopefully come to an agreement about new and better conservative measures to implement in order to deter the predicted effects of climate change in the future.
Most importantly, even though there is no accurate short term data, we have seen how climate change can have catastrophic results: the massive forest fires in California, Chicago reaching temperatures of the Antarctic, and the life destroying hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. This show us that it is a necessity to address climate change and come to a consensus for a solution in order to save many ecosystems.
Thank you for reading and hearing me out. Hopefully we can come to an agreement soon!
by Tanvi Saki
There is something we all can agree on. The earth has been incubating itself for around a century and our weather has been increasing steadily. The evidence is there- climate change is real and we both agree.
However, unlike you, I believe that human behavior, mainly massive industrialization, is a major cause for climate change. Secondly, even if we both agree I alo believe that it is necessary to take all steps to address climate change, no matter how expensive or uncertain we are of the effectiveness of the results.
I understand how it is difficult to put 100% of the blame onto humans. It is skeptical that humanity alone is damaging our ozone. Also, I empathize with the fact that it is difficult to fund a project without absolute certainty of its effectiveness, especially when our limited monetary resources can go towards another problem plaguing humanity. I hope that by the end of this letter we can reach some kind of compromise to address climate change.
To address the first area where our opinions differ, I strongly believe that human industrialization is the key reason why climate change is so prevalent. I understand how this is a bold statement, and one you may not agree with. Especially with evidence provided “by a 2012 Purdue University survey that found that 47% of climatologists challenge the idea that humans are primarily responsible for climate change and instead believe that climate change is caused by an equal combination of humans and the environment (37%), mostly by the environment (5%), or that there’s not enough information to say (5%).” When climatologists themselves do not have enough of a certainty, it makes it difficult to firmly say that human advancement and industrialization is the main cause of our declining ecosystem. As a society, how can we possibly condemn the advancements that have benefited us? Where would we even be without cars that use fossil fuels, or factories that mass produce our smartphones? I agree, we shouldn’t condemn these advancements- but instead improve on them. I remember one specific road trip with my family from the Bay Area down to L.A. As my dad was driving on the I-5, I noticed massive grayish-black clouds of smoke coming out of long white chimney-like tubes, turning the surrounding blue sky into an ashy gray. And that was only one factory. I remember later that week learning about the US Age of Industrialization in history, and looking at pictures in the book about hundreds of factories just like that one on the I-5 and the soot covered faces of the workers. Looking at all this, how can it not affect our environment even a little?
As per our second disagreement, even if we both concede that humans have affected the environment a little, are our next steps to improve on the climate absolutely necessary even without the research and funding to back it? I understand that our funding for such projects is limited, and implementing such projects would greatly affect our lives. A fear that I think stops most people from putting into place such necessary eco-friendly steps is that it affects their personal lives. I get it, my grandfather worked in a textile factory in the 1940s, contributing to some of the worst air quality known to humanity (also known as Mumbai, India). However, if we were to shut down the factory for a week to implement some eco-friendly mechanisms, or even shut down the factory for a year to completely rebuild and reconstruct its design, my grandfather would have lost the only money he got in order to support his wife and 4 daughters. Therefore, I understand the reservations against implementing new technology because it means halting our own personal lives. However, I think it is necessary for our planet, and if done correctly no one should suffer because they are at loss for a job. We as a society have already started implement such changes, such as the rapid rise of electric cars or the decreasing of mining for precious metals and instead synthesizing them. And as for the uncertainty of the effectiveness of such innovations, I would say that every new implementation should have a beta trial. Every new thing will be put in temporarily and see if there are even any results produced. If not the technology is improved upon and we return back to our fossil fuel powered instruments. But I believe, because of the dire state of our planet, that every new innovation should at least be given a chance.
I want to see those beautiful clear blue skies again. But at least, I hope you and I can find some clarity and compromise.
ProCon.org. "Climate Change Debate ProCon.org." ProCon.org. 25 Jan. 2019, climatechange.procon.org/
Decisions are different
by Helin Wang
We know that we both agree that climate change has a huge impact on our society, but I believe there are two significant points we disagree on. The first point we disagree on- Is climate change caused by human activity? After doing your researches, you believe that climate change is not caused by human activity. From my personal experience and after reading the article, I really believe that our society is the primary cause of climate change.
The second point we disagree on- Is it worth the time and money to fix climate change? You believe it is wasting too many resources and time to fix and improve our climate. From my perspective, I believe it is worth every single penny to prevent climate change.
Getting back to your first point, I see exactly where you are coming from. The climate has been always changing throughout history. For example, such as ice age, hurricane, weather became extremely cold and hot. I definitely agree with that point. Maybe this time, take a different angle, think of it like this, have you wondered why is this happening? Looking at the weather, the weather temperature is becoming hotter and hotter each year followed by the rise of industrialization. You can see there is a direct relationship between climate change and the rise industrialization. From this point, I really don’t think this is a coincidence.
I was born in China and lived there for 12 years. When I first got here in America, I have never seen weather this clear and blue. My Dad owns a factory in China, every day I can see smokes coming out of the chimney, that smoke contains carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas. Those gases can cause acid rain which can destroy our plantation. Not only it will destroy our farm, but it will also hurt our lungs while breathing. This is one of my personal experience shaped me to believe the human is the cause of climate change. If my Dad or another company don’t have factories, there won’t be any harmful gas released in the atmosphere, which will cause acid rain.
Talking back to your second point. If it is human who is the cause of climate change, you believe it is wasting too much of our resources to fix climate change. I agree we can’t stop our industrialization to prevent climate change. Stopping industrializing will definitely cost too much of our money and resources. Something I find interesting is that in Los Angles, we have a total of 6.4million vehicles. In Beijing China, they have a total of 5.6million vehicles. If you have more vehicles, this must mean there is more carbon monoxide released in the air. This is not the case, Beijing recorded to have a 3.9ppm carbon monoxide concentration, in Los angles it appeared that we recorded a total of 3.1ppm carbon monoxide concentration. Why is this the case? In China, all cars are not regulated to have a catalytic converter. A catalytic converter will reduce the carbon monoxide released from a car. In Los Angles, EPA regulates all cars to have a catalytic converter. Instead of stopping industrialization, we can invest in stuff like catalytic converter and green energy vehicle to prevent more carbon monoxide.
Either this or that is the cause of climate change. We should all work together to prevent climate change and save our Earth.
Climate change was one of the most concerned topics in the world. It brought many disadvantages such as extreme weather, low economic growth and serious health problems. Thus, the first issue we talk about was if human behavior became the major factor affects the increase in temperature. Some people disagreed this opinion. You thought human behaviors were not the primary cause and global warming was only a natural phenomena.
Secondly, many people questioned if people deserve to spend much money and energy to solve the problem of climate change. In your opinion, the development of economics and the level of life might be affected because of too much consumption in the term of control climate change. However, I was convinced that we should pay attention to dealing with the issue of climate change even if they were expensive.
For the first point, we should realize that global warming is a tough issue. Every country needed to face this problem, but no one can point out the cause of climate change accurately. It’s a fact that the earth became warmer continuously since the industrial revolution. Human activities brought much pollution to the earth such as air pollution, land pollution and water pollution. I shared my personal experience to help you understand this point.
For example, my hometown had a good ecosystem when I was young. Blue sky and clear river. However, the government needed to build an industrial park in my hometown. Many problems will appear after the industrial park. Many industrial emissions and gas could not prevent effectively. Thus, the weather became very extreme. Hot and humid conditions with a haze that covered my hometown. This weather situation had an indirect effect on Global warming. I would like to tell you the harm of human actions to the environment by my experience clearly.
From ancient time until today, people always want to more money and power regardless of the consequences. Nobody was willing to put much energy into the protection of climate change since people cannot get profits any more. Thus, it’s difficult to change people’s mind totally in a short time. But we need to be aware of the greenhouse effect be more and more terrible in modern time when we compare with the ancient time. There is a real problem that people wanted to increase rather than decrease when we put in a high level of life.
A good example is the use of vehicle. As we know, vehicle exhaust emission is the main cause of climate change since it will produce carbon dioxide. However, it is impossible to ban the use of the car to reduce the pollution in our daily life especially in California. As an ordinary man, we did not have a responsibility to protect environment. Therefore, I understand your feeling and I expect at least some of you can improve the awareness of environmental protection.
Finally, it was my great honor to participate in this project. I am very happy that I have an opportunity to share my thoughts and I was looking forward to dealing with these issues together.
Climate Change Letter
by Asia Mailangkay
The debate about climate change comes with many cons and pros. Personally, my position comes with many differing opinions. The two main counter-arguments against my position include the following:
1.) The information given by the background states," a 2012 Purdue University survey found that 47% of climatologists challenge the idea that humans are primarily responsible for climate change and instead believe that climate change is caused by an equal combination of humans and the environment (37%), mostly by the environment (5%), or that there’s not enough information to say (5%)" ("Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?"). This means that there is proof to show that humans are not the sole purpose for climate change. But, differing statistics in separate articles show that humans do affect climate change--even more so than the environment--which supports my position.
2.) Another argument states that, "warming over the 20th century resulted primarily from natural processes such as fluctuations in the sun's heat and ocean currents," and that climate change isn't a result from humans since the greenhouse gasses are too minimal of an effect. But, it is important to keep in mind that society can contribute to global warming through--as stated by Climate and Energy Educational Resources--"deforestation, urbanization, and shifts in vegetation patterns" ("Human activities are impacting the climate system").
My hopes through writing this letter is not to win the debate of climate change but to reach out to the opposing side in hopes of reaching a mutual resolution, by combining our perspectives and working together. with our combined ideas, we combat climate change in a way that both sides believe is exists; we can combat the environmental causes and human errors that lead to climate change.
To address the first point, I do agree that human's aren't the sole cause of climate change. But, from my point of view, I believe that humans contribute to it in their daily lives, much more than the environment does. I'm mentioning this because I believe it's important to note that humans make a larger impact since we are aware of the consequences that our actions hold. we are aware of our effect on nature yet we continue to contribute to the warming and cooling of the planet. Therefore, in retrospect, we are to be held more accountable than the environment is since it is simply responding and adapting to the change that we are inflicting onto the Earth. Although ProCon Organization mentions that, in 2014, "a group of 15 scientists dismissed the US National Climate Assessment as a "masterpiece of marketing," that was "grossly flawed," and called the NCA’s assertion of human-caused climate change "NOT true"" ("Human activities are impacting the climate system"). This was a statement made about 5 years ago. NASA mentioned, in a line graph, that the global temperature increased by approximately nine degrees Celsius from 2014-2018 ("GLOBAL LAND-OCEAN TEMPERATURE INDEX"). It is a small amount, but every degree counts. Again, my point in mentioning these statistics is not to prove that humans are the sole contributor to climate change; my point in mentioning these statistics is to show our affect on the Earth, which is something we are fully aware of. Therefore, it is important to agree that humans do affect our surroundings. This way, people won't disregard their daily activities and the effects that take place because of them.
In regards to the second point, I hope to propose a solution to the first point by addressing the changes that humans cause the planet to undergo by performing daily activities. By saying that the greenhouse gases that people emit is too "minimal" to cause change will cause society to disregard their changes. So, this is why I believe it is important to address the evidence given. First off, greenhouse gases aren't the only product of human activities that can cause climate change. We are constantly undergoing urbanization, deforestation, and so on. For example, in urban areas, concrete can absorb and store sun rays and heat. Similarly, high-rise concrete buildings can block the sun rays and inhibit the release of heat back into space. Also, these tall buildings can block cool winds and breezes that could be of use when it comes to cooling the ecosystem.
These statements all tie in together to show that human causes and environmental causes are not separate entities. Rather, they work together in order to create climate change. People make changes to the world and the environment adapts. So, overall, we can assess the solutions on both ends. By figuring out a way to combat environmental causes to climate change as well as human-originated problems, the rate in which the temperature of Earth heats or cools will be addressed. Hopefully by mentioning these facts, I can reach out to my designated audience and provide them with the proof necessary to convince them of my point of view, which is that humans do cause climate change. But, this is not to say that the environment is not responsible. Both factors contribute to our changing world and the opposing sides can come together to create an effective resolution.
Thank you for hearing my point of view! I hope to hear back from either sides of this debate, in hopes of coming to an agreement.
by Eder Poot Martinez
My Fellow Colleagues,
The world we live in today is something that neither you or I would have ever imagined to be real. Regardless of what we believe, we can all safely agree that as our world has been progressing and changing.We are moving at such a rapid pace with new forms of technologies and advancements being constantly developed, that the world we live in, is having a hard time keeping up. In this case, certain topics such as climate change have arisen and have caused multiple discrepancies among all humans. Some believe that climate change should be at the top of our list with regards to world issues and some believe that it isn’t significant at all and people are over exaggerating climate change. In response to this, I’ve found two points that we currently disagree on:
1. Many of you believe that Earth’s climate change is not being caused by human intervention directly, rather, it is being caused by nature itself and is just a part of life that is deemed to happen.
2. Upon agreeing that there has been a change in climate, many of you believe that there is nothing we can do to prevent climate change and if there was a solution, than it would be too expensive and too time consuming for us to help prevent it or stop the pace at which it is happening.
With respect to my first point, I’d like to start off by saying that many who believe climate change isn’t real and/or don’t believe that humans are causing it, is because it may not be directly affecting them where they live. Since they keep on receiving rain and snow during winter and during summer it’s “hot” just like normal, they believe that everything is okay. But this isn’t the case. If you look more deeply into the case, seasons have changed. “Winters” are beginning to start later in the year and “Summers” are getting warmer. But overall, our earth has gotten warmer and warmer.
More specifically, according to the readings in the background, NASA found that Earth’s temperature has gone up one degree Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. Now like they said, this may not seem like a lot but small temperature changes do have an effect on the world overtime. Now what could be the cause of this?
A huge factor are Greenhouse gases, which affects the amount of heat retained in the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the industrial revolution, beginning around 1750, humans began a new way of manufacturing goods to the point where today it has drastically increased due to the demand for multiple goods and services. This has released heat trapping gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and Fluorinated gases to the earth’s atmosphere. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states, “These greenhouse gas emissions have increased the greenhouse effect and caused Earth’s surface temperature to rise. The primary human activity affecting the amount and rate of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.” Although you may think that gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally through the carbon cycle and plant respiration, the rate at which this extra carbon dioxide is being produced and released into the atmosphere, is at a level the earth as a whole cannot handle.
In addition to this, we can see the effect that these greenhouse gases being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere are already affecting earth. For example, let’s take into account the melting of the polar ice caps. With this increased temperature, the polar ice caps are melting at a faster rate than usual and this is leading to increased sea levels. This is a big problem because over the years to come, many coastal regions will be greatly affected by the rise of sea levels and could eventually lead them to flood and disappear. Another factor that the rise in temperatures created by greenhouse gases are affecting the earth is through ocean acidification. This is when the ocean water is becoming more acidic due to the increase in temperatures and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This problem can lead to various marine life to die out as well as marine plant life such as coral reefs.
It is important to see how humans are directly affecting the earth due to the excess of greenhouse gases that we tend to emit into the atmosphere. Change cannot be done if we do not first accept the fact that we, as humans, are the largest factor to climate change.
With respect to my second point, this will be harder to be able to convince you. You may think that there is no way that we can help prevent or slow down the rate at which climate change is affecting the earth. Today we have grown accustomed to such a way of living that by stopping the use of certain things, which are important to our lives today, will be harder for many to accept and follow through. But it takes only a few to care and influence others for the betterment of our earth as a whole. Each one of us today can do simple things to help save the earth and in the long-run, if we tend to adopt these forms of living, than in the end it will have a greater impact on our world as more and more people adopt these forms of living.
An example of how we can help slow down climate change is to simply consume less. Whether by using or buying less cars than needed or even using a reusable bag, this can help the world overall by cutting back on the consumption of goods which will result in not using as much fossil fuels needed to produce these products. Now you may be thinking, what is this person saying, cars are a necessity in today’s world. Let me just say, you are totally right but there are ways to still help when looking at the market for automobiles. You can buy cars that are more eco friendly, such as a vehicle with a hybrid engine or an electric car.
Other examples in which we can help the planet is by may be moving closer to work or school. By using a vehicle less, we can lessen the amount of air pollution that cars emit into the atmosphere. Ride a bike, walk, or at the most, use public transportation. A public bus can take up to 30-50 passengers, rather than a whole car that only transports at the least one person. Be efficient; learn how to do more with less. Developed countries are known to be huge energy wasters. Make sure your car gets a smog check, if you aren’t using your car but you still have it on then turn it off. Lastly, unplug. we tend to spend more money on electricity bills to power devices when off than on.
All of these are examples that we can easily adopt to help the world as a whole and I hope that you understand from where I am coming from. I’m not saying that you have to change your life drastically, rather, I’m asking you to first accept the fact that we as humans have damaged our precious world. But just as we have damaged it, we can also help prevent it and give life back into the place that gives us life, Earth.
Biello, David. “10 Solutions for Climate Change.” Scientific American, 26 Nov. 2007,
“Causes of Climate Change.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 27 Dec. 2016,
Dunbar, Brian. “What Is Climate Change?” NASA, NASA, 13 May 2015,
“Overview of Greenhouse Gases.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 31 Oct. 2018,
Regarding Climate Change
by Qinxiumei Yin
1) Human activity does not contribute to climate change
2) Most of the CO2 emission is absorbed by Earth's "carbon sinks"
Climate change is a profound environmental issue the humankind is facing today. News, articles, debates, and all sorts of other types of social media have controversies over this topic whether human activities are the cause of recently enhanced greenhouse effect. According to my opinion, the accelerating of global warming in this century is a phenomenon stimulated by human activity.
I believe you possessed a different point of view compared to mine, which human actions were not the primary reason for climate change, and if humans were worsening the climate change that our environment is still in equilibrium since the carbon dioxide we produced was re-absorbed into the “carbon sinks” around the world. I understand you’ve reached your conclusion based on various researches and experiences, and I respect all aspect of it. I hope after you read my letter, we could reach a consensus on this matter.
Examples of climate change are intensified climate patterns, drastic shifts in oceanic flow, and other environmental alterations. The Earth’s history was magnificent, and it had eras of conditions that are far worse compared to today, however, through the history of humankind, Earth’s temperature has increased rapidly after the industrial revolution, and reaching a new height at our generation. According to NASA’s data, the year 2018 has raised the global temperature by 0.8°C (NASA). Ice sheets and glaciers are melting at an unbelievable rate, and polar bears are looking for food at further distances, summer became much hotter compared to our childhood and winter are considered colder and far extremer.
In today’s world, we all experienced climate change to some extent, such as the unusual snowstorms of the central region of America weeks ago and the frequent hurricanes in the Atlantics. In my experience, I will travel back to Shanghai every year during summer, each year I felt the summer arrives earlier as to my childhood, and as the furious heat waves hit the city, I felt like a steamed bun every time I exit the house. This phenomenon was so common that the news continually states the weather is reaching a new high for many decades. I was astonished on how human actions have affected the global temperature and altered the climate patterns.
You may argue that many of our emissions were re-absorbed by the “carbon sinks,” including ocean and forests. Nonetheless, one of the significant change in climate change is the increase in Earth’s temperature, which profoundly impacts the ecosystems of the sea. Coral bleaching and ocean acidification were some of the direct outcomes of the increased greenhouse effect, which human have released a massive quantity of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere daily. Yes, our ocean is absorbing the CO2 emissions to balance the environment. However, we are emitting at a rate higher than the rate the ocean can absorb. This unbalancedness promptly increased ocean acidity leaving the world’s most diverse community and ecosystem in threat.
I think climate change has led to intensified global warming, endangering every ecosystem and human species on Earth. Human activity such as burning fossil fuels and coals and transporting using gasoline-consuming vehicles, all of these factors were accelerating global warming by adding excessive CO2 into the atmosphere. Because of this high concentration of CO2, more people are suffering from lung diseases today. I understand your argument stating Earth’s capacity for consuming excess CO2 yet; as a result, the global weather will worsen due to the change in oceanic flow, the disappearance of major coral-based ecosystems, alteration of marine product’s natural habits, and the possibility of genetic mutation.
We all know how hard it is to watch the news listening to the horrific details of animals losing their habitat due to global warming. I know to change our behavior and attitude toward an issue is extremely difficult, but with me and you arrive at the same conclusion, we can make a difference. We can start by asking ourselves: “Is this the world you would like to show your future child(ren)?”, “Are you willing to witness the distinction of various species due to climate change?”, “Did you choose to do nothing about the environment when you have the power to make a difference?”. I believe you and I both want to make a difference to build a world a better place for everyone. Our environment is something we can immediately respond to and make a change.
After reading my sincere letter, I hope you can see the impact of human activity on climate change, and recognize the consequences it can bring not only to the human but to all the species on this planet. I wanted to work with you to enhance our environment by doing a little each day, such as shifting our transportation to a greener method. Start from something small, although it may seem meaningless at the beginning, yet as our actions build up, the change will be seen. Climate change may be a subject we saw as something we think it’s out-of-reach, though it is happening every day, every hour, every minute and every second.
Start your action now instead of tomorrow, it is never too late to preserve our environment and slow down the current rate of climate change.
“Global Surface Temperature | NASA Global Climate Change.” NASA, NASA, 8 Feb. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/.
Tackling Climate Change Together
by Perla Demeza
We live in a time where it is becoming increasingly difficult to productively discuss and debate critical issues with one another. Certain opinions have become strongly attached to either the left side of the political spectrum or the right side. This becomes a barrier for productive discussion because of our tendency to automatically side with and defend our social groups. It is important to note that I believe that we are all guilty of this and in no way am I trying to point fingers at any side. In order to be able to effectively address pressing issues, we must all learn to set our differences aside and consider every argument even if it comes from someone of the opposite political spectrum. This is why I am writing this letter about climate change to the individuals on the right side of the political spectrum. Climate change is a topic that has become heavily polarized and I believe that we all must shift away from polarized thinking and learn to work together for the sake of our planet. With this letter we will hopefully be one step closer to finding a common ground and make progress towards tackling climate change together.
We can begin by addressing the points where we most notably disagree. Those points are:
1) You often express that climate change does not actually exist.
2) Second, you believe that if climate change was even occurring it would be due to natural causes and not by human activity.
In reference to the first point, I want to express my understanding for why you may have that opinion. In our regular day to day lives it can be bit difficult to see the effects of climate change first hand. Unless we actually thought about it, it is easy to go on with our daily lives without feeling as though anything has changed. I believe that a good place to begin seeing the effects of climate change is to compare the weather we have now to the weather we had as children. As a child, I loved to play outside with the other kids in my neighborhood. I could spend the entirety of long summer days running around, riding my bike, and playing tag or any other game we fancied for the day. However as the years have gone by it has become increasingly difficult to just even be outside. The summers have become grueling and unbearable. Although I have reached the age where I no longer have time to spend the entire day playing outside, I still feel for the children of today and the children of the future who won’t be able to enjoy the summers outside as much without facing the hazardous effects of the horrendous and increasing heat.
The signs of climate change are even more evident if we increase our scope beyond our own experiences. Research heavily suggests that the earth is indeed warming and is facing the consequences. According to Nasa’s webpage on climate change (https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/), some major signs of global warming that have been studied are the warming of the oceans, ocean acidification, and the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice. These signs can be connected to the spike of atmospheric carbon dioxide being measured by scientists. We have reached a level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we have never seen before. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the massive increase of a heat-trapping gas has been a cause of the planet’s sudden temperature increase.
The spike of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, relates to the second point we disagreed on which was that human activity is not the cause of climate change. However, the industrialization of the planet’s countries and it’s rising temperature can be closely connected. As you may know, carbon dioxide is a gas that is produced by the burning of fossil fuels. It is no coincidence that, once humans became industrialized and started producing immense amounts of carbon dioxide, the earth began to show signs of climate change that it has never shown before. However, I am not here to simply shame industry, humans for taking part in it, or even you for having a differing opinion from me. We are all human and we all have the potential to change for the better. The common ground that I would like to achieve is the acceptance that what's done is done and that we as humans have contributed to climate change. Once we accept that, we can fully engage in necessary and productive conversations on how to work towards improving the health of our planet and change the way we treat the earth for the better of us all.
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out. I hope we can continue our discussion and work together to find ways to aid the planet we call home.
No More Reminiscing
Janisayra Hernandez Orozco
The image of a starving, malnourished polar bear on a piece of melted ice shocked the nation. More citizens were focused on climate change and what brought the polar bears to this level of vulnerability. 60% of them still felt unaffected by the effects of climate change. Most can agree that climate change is real, but there are many disagreements including who caused it. Two main controversies are:
1. First, whether human behavior and industrialization contribute to climate change. I, believe that humans are the leading cause for climate change. Our actions are simply unnatural and harmful although I am able to understand the reluctance to believe that a small action can affect the entire planet. You are a part of this group who thinks our actions are minimal and cannot consequently affect the Earth’s climate.
2. Second, if it is appropriate to take action even if we are uncertain and it is costly. Taking action is appropriate because there is a better chance of us moving in the right direction. Although we are uncertain, we have a limited time to make use of this planet and make improvements before leaving. This would be our way of expressing gratitude for the lives we were able to live. On the other hand, you view climate change as something that has already started and cannot be stopped. However, we may be able to find common ground as we both have a shared love for life.
As children, we cherished the moments where our parents would let us play with the hose on a hot day or set up a kiddie pool on the lawn. As a result of climate change, droughts have come into play which results in water regulations and an inability to have innocent fun. It should be our goal to save our planet so that our future generations are able to have the same experiences rather than to be left reminiscing.
Famine, violence and death are only some of the major consequences that could come if we do not start to take care of our environment. Although you fail to see how our actions and industrialization can lead to such negative consequences, it is indeed possible. We are all uncertain about what could happen, just like you, but that is why we should address the issue now. I see how the expense can be a problem as you do not want the government to do any spending. However, it will only get worse and we have the ability to make a difference in an individual and efficient way. This could be by using alternative transportation, tracking water use/waste, or making sure to recycle whenever possible.
If you are still doubting that climate change is real because it is not what you were made to believe in, try not to limit your horizons as I explore the unpleasantries. I understand that you see climate change as something that began naturally with fluctuations in the sun’s heat. Nonetheless, humans need to be able to see the effects that they have on this planet. Some negative effects recorded include melting ice, higher sea levels, and warmer temperatures. Think of the starving polar bears and penguins that rely on the cold temperature to stay alive. These animals are now depending on us as they are unable to take action of the matter and await extinction. Even if you do not want to think about it, humans are constantly burning oil, coal, gas which all cause changes to the climate. You rely on the idea that Earth is able to absorb human gases and will always return back to normal. Yet, Earth cannot take all of our harmful actions because once they are all put together, the issue suddenly seems more present. The greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere even have the ability to cause more droughts and stronger storms. Why not try to keep the climate as controlled as possible?
In finale, I hope that we are able to work together to make change and benefit the broader community despite our varying points of view. It is our job to be able to preserve what we had growing up and allow for the creation of more memories to come. Remember that these individual changes will not be costly and although the improvements will not be obvious, we are taking a step in the right direction.
Climate Change Assignment
After looking at various articles and graphs, I have concluded, with evidence, that human activity is a major factor in climate change around the world. As a group, you may also believe in climate change, but our views differ on two points:
1) First of all, we have both seen data showing that the climate has changed throughout history and we can see that the climate is continuing to change, but our opinions differ on the idea that human activity is the primary cause of global warming.
2) Second, you believe that if human activity really is a major cause of climate change, pooling money and resources together to find solutions to the problem would negatively impact the current economy and quality of life.
I hope that we can come to better understand each other’s viewpoints and possibly even come up with an answer to the problem of climate change that we can both agree on after reading this letter.
In regards to the very first point, we both have looked at graphs showing the fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature throughout history, but the important part to notice is that the rate of global warming has increased significantly, especially in the last two decades. It is hard to say with complete certainty that human activity is a cause of an issue as big as global climate change, but with the data that is available, you can see that the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased about 0.9°C since the 1800s (NASA).
The increase in the Earth’s temperature over the last century has mainly been driven by increasing amounts of various man made emissions and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to a graph from NASA, before the year 1950, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere had never reached past 300 parts per million. However, in the years after 1950 until present day, the carbon dioxide levels have been increasing at a rate much faster than before and are reaching up to 400 parts per million (NASA).
At this point, many people already know that carbon dioxide and other gases such as water vapor cause the greenhouse effect. We also know that the greenhouse effect is what maintains the Earth’s temperature around 15°C or 59°F and without the effect, the Earth’s average temperature would be -18°C or 0°F (Qiancheng). But with the increase in burning of fossil fuels, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased greatly, and at a rate faster than before.
With the large increase of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, more solar heat is trapped, causing the Earth’s average temperature to increase. In southern California during recent years, there has been even less rainfall than before and longer dry seasons. The entire state of California was declared to be in a drought emergency in 2014 by former governor Brown, and the emergency was lifted in 2017, but the climate in California is still abnormally dry in many places. California has technically been in a drought period since the year 2012, but the drought was the most severe during the years 2014-2017.
The changing climate that causes droughts also leads to wildfires in California. The most recent fire in 2018 was also the deadliest and most destructive on record. It burned over 1.8 million acres of land and killed 88 people on record with hundreds still missing (Fuller).
The areas and severity of the drought in California are always fluctuating, but if humans do not intervene in the global issue of climate change and try to come up with a solution, the areas and severity of the droughts could increase at a higher rate over the next few years, also leading to more wildfires and even deaths. The changing climate will not only affect California and the entire country, but the rest of the world as well if we do not work towards decreasing the human impact on the climate.
In response to the second point, I agree that without industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels, we would not be where we are today with advances in transportation, medicine, and overall quality of life, but researching new forms of clean alternative energy and other solutions to global warming does not necessarily mean losing what we have accomplished up to this point.
We have already seen the use of renewable energy sources such as solar panels, natural gas, and wind turbines in the past, but with new technology and research, alternative sources of energy of becoming more efficient than before.
Rather than negatively affect our economy and quality of life, switching to clean energy can actually improve the economy as well as the quality of life. If more green energy sources are used instead of fossil fuels, different types of air pollution can be decreased allowing for better air quality, especially in bigger cities. Relying more on alternative energy can also lessen the country’s dependence on fuel imports from other countries and create various jobs in the clean energy industry as well (EPA). More jobs in manufacturing and installation can be created, leading to economic growth and development.
One example of a company that supports clean energy is Tesla, which creates fully electric cars. According to various reports, Tesla has about 46,000 total employees as of 2018 and added over 8,000 employees in the first half of 2018 (Bhardwaj). Tesla’s goal “is to accelerate the world’s transition into sustainable energy” (Tesla.com). In the last few years, many major car manufacturers have also been researching and manufacturing fully electric vehicles more than before after seeing how successful and accessible Tesla cars have become. Working toward sustainable energy can help the economy and improve the overall quality of life as seen with the example of a company like Tesla.
Even if you do not believe that human activity is a primary factor of global warming, or that working to solve global warming is not economic, the issue of climate change itself cannot be ignored. The melting polar ice caps, droughts and wildfires in California, as well hurricanes on the east coast and near the Gulf of Mexico all show why we cannot ignore climate change. Instead of spending money to repair hurricane or wildfire damages, funding could go into the research of new sustainable energy and solutions to global warming.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you are able to better understand my point of view on the subject, and I would like to hear your opinions on the matter as well. I have confidence that we can come to an agreement on the topic and maybe even collaborate on ways to address climate change.
“About Tesla | Tesla.” Tesla, Inc, 2019, www.tesla.com/about.
Bhardwaj, Prachi, and Jenny Cheng. “Tesla Added Twice as Many Employees in 2018 as It Now Plans to Cut.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 13 June 2018, www.businessinsider.com/tesla-grew-rapidly-now-cutting-4000-employees-charts-2018-6.
“Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” Edited by Callery Susan and Shaftel Holly, NASA, NASA, 5 Feb. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.
Fuller, Thomas. “Three Weeks After Fire, Official Search for Dead Is Completed.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Nov. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/us/victims-california-fires-missing.html.
“Local Renewable Energy Benefits and Resources.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 26 Nov. 2018, www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/local-renewable-energy-benefits-and-resources.
Qiancheng, Ma. “Greenhouse Gases: Refining the Role of Carbon Dioxide.” NASA, NASA, Mar. 1998, www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/ma_01/.
by Andrew Loyal
My Dear Friends,
When speaking about the topic of climate change, there are numerous amounts of differentiating views, however there are two main points in which different views are created;
To begin, after obeserving and researching we both have come to the conclusion that the earth’s climate most definetly has been changing as it has been through years. This is the case because it is in your opinion to believe that the main reason for it to be in existence is not due to human activity, whereas I believe it is very much so due to human activity.
Next, it is clear that your arguement and beliefs lie in the lack of evidence to be shown in the graphs to firmly prove that climate change is nonexistent. Therefore you believe that even if humans are believed to be one of the main reasons, how are these graphs and data recieved and calculated. Leading to the conclusion that the climate is not drastically differentiating, not requiring the attention it is recieving.
With the completion of this letter I utterly hope our reasoning and perspectives will be clear and understandable, leading to a possible meeting ground with one answer about this very complicated and intriguing topic.
Using the first reasoning, after personally observing and undergoing the different weather over the seasons and using evidence to show and prove, the weather has got much warmer and cooler since the past. The most important thing to underline is not the fact that the weather is changing, but how rapidly and how strongly it is in unusual places. For example, in recent news it has snowed, SNOWED! In Hawaii at a state park. Which in history has never happened before. Additionally, as a whole the Earth’s temperature has shot up by a estimate between 4 and 7 degrees celsius. The increased rate of temperature increase shows that the increase in human population and the industrializationization has also been booming and occuring in within the century. Bringing to attention that the machinery and amount of machinery has caused green house gasses to emit into the air affecting the ozone layer dramatically.