37 Public Anthropology Award Winners
in Prof. Worku Nida's
ANTH 001 (Cultural Anthropology) Class
Le'Analelei Jackson, Michael Georgiou, Maya Glasberg-Keller, Joshua Candelaria, Vincent Cortes, Ryan Heravi, Aaron Lee, Thompson Tang, Zuulunegshiglen Batsuuri, Sofia Ramsey Silva, Nanise Royal, Monica De La Torre, Shreya Deshmukh, Nancy Gutierrez, Edwin Leon, Scott Phan, Erika Go-Oco, Hannah Logan, Dhairya Mehta, Kevin Quach, Anurag Vedagiri, Sherina Torres, Dimary Valdizon, Mckayla Avels, Kevin Ho, Angel Velasquez, Ethan Kuan, Brianna Brizuela, Justen Iglesias, Elkanah Lane, Vy Nguyen, Christine Ortiz, William Phan, Taylor Tan, Jannie Lao,
Mary Rached, and Nathan Alcantar
Read Their Letters, Please Use Your Search Function)
Directions for Students' 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?
Climate Change: Inevitable but an Issue
by Analelei Jackson
My dear friends,
Recently, I made the discovery that while we both agree on the most important aspects of climate change we dissent on two key factors:
1) The first being that although we both acknowledge humans and our environment as contributors to climate change, I believe humans contribute at a higher rate.
2) Secondly, it came to my attention that even if humans were found to be the primary cause of global warming, you conclude that the solution will be too costly. While we have come to disagree on some key components of climate change, I hope that we can work together towards solving this issue.
In regards to my first point about the causes of climate change, I can say that I completely agree with you that humans alone did not cause global warming. In fact scientific evidence proves that our Earths’ temperature has been wavering hot and cold long before industrialization. But this time around, it will have more harmful effects on the human population. Since we both can acknowledge that the production of carbon dioxide and methane has increased in recent centuries, let me ask you a question: If it has been proven that since industrialization these gases have been produced at an increased rate and we continue to live industrialized lives, who would be at fault? Still, regardless of who is responsible, no one wants lives lost. If we work together right now we have the chance to help so many cities.
On the second point, I think we can come to an understanding because while many people are trying to solve climate change, I believe it is something that is inevitable. I feel that all we can do is decrease our contributions of harmful gases by using earth-friendly alternatives which is not something out of our reach. Let us not forget the reason we should do it: our fellow humans' lives are at stake. Our Earths’ increasing temperatures have caused our oceans’ temperature to increase and ice glaciers to melt, therefore creating a rise in sea levels. This poses a major threat to hundreds of thousands of people around the world, who’s cities reside on an ocean coast or at low land levels.
Even I have seen from a first person perspective, growing up in Sacramento, California, how global warming can affect our daily lives. On top of shorter winters and longer summers, wildfires have horribly increased in California. This summer was one like nothing I have ever experienced before, the wildfires that raged up and down California heavily affected the entire Sacramento Valley. For almost a week straight our air was completely unbreathable and our skies covered with dark smoke. Going outside in the morning you see ashes everywhere; lingering in the cracks of car windows and shoes you may have left outside. Aside from the fires, we went through over a whole week with daily highs hitting over a hundred degrees. It was a scary experience because during the day it was unbearable; I could not breathe, go to the store or spend anytime outside. Sometimes me and my family would not go outside until around seven p.m. and still it would be in the high nineties. Climate change may not seem like an issue to act on yet but I can forecast, from my own experience, that these occurrences will increase in quantity and damage, we do not want to wait until it gets too extensive.
I believe that if we could come together on a project that understands climate change as inevitable but something we significantly contribute to, we could actually help decrease the effects it will have in our near future. Thank you for hearing me out.
Climate Change Letter
by Michael Georgiou
On the subject of climate change that we discussed I found two points that we particularly disagree on. The first is how much human activity affects climate change globally and the second is how much carbon dioxide is the direct cause for global warming. Human activity around the world has been erratic during the past two hundred centuries, with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the human population, which has taken a toll on natural resources. Although according to some others, it can be a multitude of other factors. Carbon dioxide levels have increased with the use of machines, which burn fossil fuels to generate power for these facilities. My intent is to at least understand why we have different views on these subjects and how we can try and agree what to do about climate change.
As we all do not agree on these subjects, I will talk about the first one listed. The population of humanity has increased over the last two centuries because of better nutrition and vaccines, which have helped save more people from dying premature deaths. That’s a definite fact that we can all agree on. To some, the increase in population has strained the Earth of its resources and increase of greenhouse gases and to others it is caused by the untouched human environment. Our biases are created by our environment and the people around us. As exemplified in the nature.com article “Why we are poles apart on climate change”, it notes that we are less likely to care about an issue that does not directly affect us. An example given in the article is about a barber living in rural North Carolina. Would he care about climate change if he was living in a coastal area like Charlottesville, where climate change would be supported more because of rising tides and pollution. Since the population in a rural community is more condensed and conformist, the rural barber’s ideas about the subject would be created by his environment and the people around him, making him less likely to care about climate change.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been increasing more than ever for the past two hundred years. Many agree with this statement while others do not agree. Those that agree give the information that the levels increased in the mid-twentieth century, after World War II led to more factories being built were used for food production, along with more consumerist items such as furniture and toys. This is corroborated by NASA’s website and the Journal of Geophysical research. Those that do not agree point out ice cores excavated from the North Pole, as stated in the article “Timing of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature Changes across Termination III”. The ice cores show CO2 levels during the Roman Empire, which was very high. Scientists see this as being caused by pollution created by large amounts of animal dung being produced by farms, which was the job ninety percent of the population had at the time. The difference between the CO2 levels in the past and now are the amount of fossil fuels burned. Because of a larger population, more fuel is being used, which is different from animal dung in that it produces less pollution because of its use for fertilizer. This shows that carbon dioxide levels are much higher today than they have ever been in history.
Even if this does not at least make us understand each other, I hope some have learned some new facts about climate change.
Responsibility and Viability of Combating Climate Change
by Maya Glasberg-Keller
Generally, when I end up hitting a roadblock in a conversation about climate change with someone else, it is because we disagree on these two particular issues: whether or not large corporations are more to blame for climate change than the individual, and whether or not we should still take steps to combat climate change if those steps are costly or otherwise difficult to employ. It boils down to, essentially, who should take responsibility. Naturally, of course, the planet is everyone's to share and we are all united in the collective interest of keeping it functional; no one benefits from natural disasters or resources becoming more scarce, and no one really wants to actively hurt the planet. We just want to live our lives in the ways that will make us the happiest.
So, then, the question stands: whose fault is it, exactly? I think first, we have to reframe that question. Rather than "whose fault is it," I think we should ask ourselves, "why is it happening?" Why is it that when my mother was a little girl, the village I grew up in was covered in pink flowers every spring--but when I was growing up, they no longer grew there anymore? I am very cautious of my energy footprint, among other things, and I always make sure to recycle as much as I can, and it has been so in my family for as long as I can remember--so then, if we had been doing our best for so long, where did the pink flowers go?
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that though it is important to try to live green on the individual level, we simply do not produce enough waste or waste enough energy to account for global warming on our own. Even if we do our best individually, we are only removing one drop from the toxic waste bin. Large corporations, however--large corporations are not people. They exist, legally, and "corporate citizens," but they are not individuals and do not operate on the individual level. They hurl black smog up into our sky and dump their contaminated material into our water sources on a scale that no individual could ever hope to match, and everyone suffers. Everyone becomes less safe. Our economies are vital to our way of life and large corporations certainly contribute to them, and many large corporations are trying to operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner, but that does not give these entities the right to poison the collective well. It does not give these entities the right to put everyone in danger for short term profit. Increasingly unmanageable droughts in the Southwest and floods in the Midwest and any number of phenomena elsewhere are a result of climate change, and peoples' lives and livelihoods are at stake. Everyone's lives and livelihoods are at stake. Climate change is not and individual issue, it is an issue that affects everyone no matter where we are; therefore, it is a war that we must fight as a species.
Likewise, "going green" is not viable for many people on the individual level, and is therefore not a viable solution on that level. Especially for lower income households, it is just not possible to buy from pricier, more environmentally conscious brands, or to install pricier, more environmentally friendly technologies. Teslas, which are some of the greenest cars on the markets, cost an arm and a leg. Even on the community level, in many places, there are just no recycling programs available for people who want to participate. The solution, however, is not to leave things as they are; not being able to afford greener solutions is not a moral failing, and people should put their continued survival first, but it is unfair that people are forced to choose between short term and long term survival in the first place. Collectively, we need to be more conscious of these nuanced flaws in the system and make it clear to our representatives that we will not stand for a lack of environmental awareness in the government.
To kill two birds with one stone, the solution is then to advocate and vote for laws that regulate large corporations' activities that impact the environment and put us in danger, so that these entities are forced to provide alternative product solutions for reasonable prices. Greener options are generally healthier, and new innovations in the field will provide jobs. There is no reason for us to sacrifice economic security for collective safety, not if we tackle the issue as a community of man rather than as individuals.
Climate Change and Humans
by Joshua Candelaria
Regarding the subject of climate change,
First and foremost, I would like to explicitly state that the purpose of this letter is not to force you to change your stance on climate change. Rather, I hope that this letter will help you better understand the arguments of my stance on climate change (and the stance of many others), and also allow you to be more open to a possible compromise regarding this issue.
While we most likely agree that the Earth’s climate has warmed significantly over the past several thousand years, our agreements may begin and end there. Specifically, I would like to focus on two specific issues. These issues in particular are:
1. The issue of whether or not human behavior and/or industrialization are key factors in temperature increases over the past century, and
2. Whether or not we should take steps to prevent climate change, even if those steps are very expensive or if we don’t know those steps will be effective.
In regards to the 1st issue, it is my personal belief that humans and industrialization are the main causes to the Earth’s warming. Never before has a species become so dominant over the Earth; we’ve colonized almost every part of the Earth and we have learned to use the resources around us to our advantage. Even thousands of years ago, when humans lived in hunter/gatherer societies, our intelligence and physical traits allowed us to become dominant above all other species on Earth. However, ever since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, our population has exploded drastically. In 1800, around the start of the Industrial Revolution, the human population was about 1 billion. However, in 2020, our population has increased 7-fold to over 7.8 billion people. This growth is extremely substantial, and easy to explain. Because the Industrial Revolution allowed for the easy manufacturing of goods, especially foods and essential needs, it allowed for the population to grow much easier.
During this same time period, the Earth has warmed substantially by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether or not you believe the two are linked, the important thing to know is that the Earth is indeed warming. I also agree that it is very hard to link industrialization and climate warming, simply because that seems almost too easy; one single factor being responsible for such a big temperature change in the past 200 years seems incredibly suspicious. The most important thing that we know is this: the planet Earth is warming, and we don’t know with absolute certainty if this trend will continue like it has before. It is this uncertainty that makes it hard to decide whether or not we should do something in regards to this potential issue. Yet, if we don’t do anything, what will happen? If the Earth does continue to get warmer, then what can we do?
I believe that something, even if it's just a little bit, should be done. Because of our dominance of this Earth, we must take responsibility for it. If you saw someone throw a piece of trash on the ground, why shouldn’t you throw it away? Even if we were not the cause of this global warming, then why shouldn’t we try to clean it up?
On a personal level, I live in the state of California. One of the most popular attractions, at least in southern California, was Big Bear Mountain which is popular for skiing. It is the only place in southern California that regularly snows, meaning that lots of Californians come to experience snow. However, warmer temperatures means that there is much less snow. Big Bear was a substantial part of my childhood. Every year, I would go with my family to go downhill sledding and go tire sledding in the snow. However, soon children in the future may not be able to experience the snow of Big Bear. I have witnessed the warming temperatures of the earth destroy one of the most memorable places that I have been to. Soon, that may be true for thousands, if not millions of people around the world who have memories of cold weather and snow where they live.
A lot of the time, when many say that people must “do something” about climate change, people talk about giving up things, like giving up cars for biking or public transportation, or giving up useful things like air conditioning. However, even though I do believe that these actions will help, I don’t want to take these actions either. I am sure that you do not either, since these actions are asking a lot. If these efforts are not enough, and yet we change so much of how daily life works, then that change will be absolutely not worth it.
So how can we “do something” without making much of a change? Globally, we must work together as the human race in an effort to correct the currently increasing temperatures. Some of the most popular ways that we can take better care of the earth is through the use of electric cars over gasoline-powered cars, and the use of solar panels. Whether or not you believe that these methods will help our warming climate, it is guaranteed that these actions will help the economy and the climate itself. By stimulating competition between two competing industries, this will in turn help the economy grow. Also, most companies like Tesla that endorse and sell products such as solar panels and electric cars are also environmentally minded, and will use those dollars to fund more research regarding climate change. Our ability to make these technological breakthroughs has been demonstrated time and time again through our history. It is how we were able to conquer this planet. While we may not have the solution today, the decisions we make today may help us find it later on.
Even if the world may be divided by this issue, what is important is that we work together as one. We cannot afford to tear each other apart over climate change; a byproduct of our dominance is that we have become our own worst enemy, and we must be careful of turning against each other without listening.
Climate Change Letter
by Vincent Cortes
To whom it may concern,
As the topic of climate change has met significant discussion, especially over the last decade, there has been a subsequent and dangerous polarization of either believing in anthropogenic climate change or not. Regardless of our beliefs, we share one common trait: we are inhabitants of this planet who wish to see it prosper and thrive. But, among our varying beliefs, there are two that I would like to address:
1.) I believe that current levels of climate change--and its subsequent effects--are directly related to human activity, whereas you attribute it to naturally occurring phenomena or planetary and solar mechanisms.
2.) I think that the nations of the world must find a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels in order to reverse the effects of global warming, whereas you assert that it is not possible to develop clean alternatives without economic sacrifice.
From this letter, I hope that we gain a better understanding of each other’s positions, and are able to work to find common ground.
First, while I understand how solar activity plays an important role in the Earth’s climate, especially with an increase in the solar iridescence of 0.19% from the 19th to 20th century, I would not overstate its importance. The Sun’s iridescence is a cyclical process, not a linear one. In fact, if solar iridescence was indeed rising, that would spell an even more dangerous threat than the current dilemma of fossil fuels. Moreover, it is understandable to see how planetary and solar processes play impactful roles in shaping the climate--because it does. However, the current rates at which the planet is warming cannot be attributed to the Sun and oceans alone. From 1958 to 2019, CO2 presence in the atmosphere increased from 317ppm to 415ppm; yet, for around 600,000 years, CO2 in the atmosphere did not break 300ppm. This rapid increase in CO2 levels coincides with the subsequent greenhouse effect, resulting in global warming.
As a Filipino, I reflect on how climate change is already affecting the Philippines. As an archipelago, the Philippines is highly susceptible to rising sea levels as well as changes in precipitation. As I reflect on how, despite constituting roughly 4% of the global population, the US is responsible for almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions. This ultimately leads me to my second point--the world needs to find a sustainable alternative. Because of countries with high fossil fuel emissions, it has subsequently reduced the quality of life in countries such as the Philippines. While nations such as the US are capable of making their own economic choices, the impetus to switch to alternative sources of energy is that climate change will have negative consequences on the environment. In fact, wouldn’t the consequences such as the reduction in agriculture, fuel a country to switch to sustainable forms of energy?
Thank you for your time, and I would look forward to hearing from you and your responses. Ultimately, I hope that through continued interaction, the world will be able to find a solution to this climate crisis.
Climate Change Letter
by Ryan Heravi
With climate change being a perpetually growing issue, I think it is essential for us, as the future generation, to create dialogue and compromise before it is too late for our beloved Earth. From discussions I have had in the past, I often find that most people usually agree that climate change is a pressing issue, and for those that don't, I will try to paint the picture of climate change for you. However, while most people often agree that climate change is an issue, we often disagree on how we must attack the problem of our lifetimes. Some people push for government-sponsored solutions, such as the Green New Deal that encourage a completely green economy, with the government fronting the brunt of the bill. Others advocate for a hybrid model that keeps fossil fuels in place and promotes green-tech through incentives.
My stance on climate change and how I differ in how we must attack it are listed below:
1.) I believe climate change is the most critical problem of our lifetime. If not met with immediate action, it might lead to irreversible consequences that leave people displaced and homeless.
2.) I believe the solution to our problem lies in the very corporations some people consider to be the cause of the problem. With companies such as Tesla and Plug Power leading the way, we can continue innovating and developing new solutions to an age-old question without the need for massive government funding.
Firstly, I would like to address my first stance and show the science behind climate change. The Earth in the past century has warmed by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which may not seem like a lot on a macro level, but on a micro-level has drastic effects on the Earth's harmony (Climate Change Pro-Con). This warming has led to melting ice caps, which has led to rising sea levels that have led to Venice and the Maldives being in real danger of being underwater if how we consume energy continues. On top of that, rising global temperatures have led to more fires, which are ravaging my home town of Irvine as I write this sitting in my aunt's kitchen, displaced and anxious. I did not believe climate change was a pressing issue in my life until it was; I do not want others to realize by going through their own disaster. Let's change before it's too late! The science is clear, climate change is real, and it affects the lives of millions in the USA currently.
Now the question is, what is the solution? To me, the answer lies in the very same corporations that have created the economic system responsible for the damage to our Earth, not in governments. We need corporations to invest in green technology. We need green technology to be the now and not the future. That means companies have to take the lead and shift their economic practices. We have to focus on electric cars such as Tesla, renewable energy such as Plug Power, etc. Let's invest in these companies because they are our answer to decreasing our carbon footprint. Through our collective consumer power, we can sway the corporations. Our solution is not a 15 trillion dollar government plan, but rather incentivizing the private sector. We need the companies, brilliant engineers, and scientists who work for them to lead us to a better future.
In all honesty, the government won't change unless incentivized to. It is up to us, "we the people," to influence the private sector by investing and showing interest in green tech. If we do, the government will eventually fall in line with the corporations, as it always has. As my professor says, "It is the corporations who run the world, not the governments." We must influence these corporations through our collective consumer power; that is our answer.
To Agree or Disagree, Why Not Both
by Aaron Lee
As you may already know, climate change is one of the most intensely debated of this century, it has been a crisis on the radar of humanity for a very long time. But the youth of today are living through a time where a decision must be made to steer the trajectory of the rest of mankind towards a sustainable future. Although we're not politicians or lawmakers, we are all living on this earth and we are all equally responsible as well as victim to climate change. Therefore, we must settle on a united front and find common ground between our differing opinions. Regarding myself, I have two polarizing opinions that are different from yours;
1. First off, I believe that climate change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate due to the increase in human activity.
2. Secondly, I believe that world governments should look to make cleaner sources of energy their primary energy source over coal as soon as possible
With these points in mind, I hope that we can understand the origins of our opinions and perhaps in the future, work together to tackle each other's issues.
Answering to my first point, I agree that the prospect of the earth warming up is not a phenomena unique to our century alone. From the genesis of Earth's creation, temperatures have been rising and falling in a pattern. It is true that what we are experiencing now may be just another repetition of that same pattern, but I fear that the pattern is accelerating to the point where we cannot keep up. According to climate.gov, the Earth has warmed 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1880. But beginning 1981, the Earth has seen a rise of 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, almost twice the rate. It might not seem like an insane amount but for me, the affects are noticeable. When I was young, I used to play in a large local lake every summer that my parents and grandparents played in. But in recent times, the lake has dried up and has since been replaced with unhealthy sewage water, making it unsafe to swim or fish in. It saddens me that future generations will not have the same opportunities as me making wonderful childhood memories at that lake. Out of three generations, my generation has seen the rapid decline of the environment due to increasing global warming that was unprecedented in the past.
When addressing my second point, many people may find it flawed that millions of jobs in the coal industry will be lost, or the funds needed to reconstruct nationwide infrastructure is too costly. But I would like to say, think of it as an investment for the future. Not only are renewable energy sources cleaner, they are also more applicable to other processes and have low maintenance costs. Currently, solar power is the cheapest source of energy at $0.02/kWh while fossil fuels are $0.05/kWh. Solar power is also the cheapest in 2/3 of the global population. The 2/3 of the global population are also responsible for 70% of the GDP. Other than solar power, wind and hydroelectric power are all potent and cleaner sources of energy that can be applied to other places in the world. In Nordic states like Iceland and Norway, almost 95% of their energy comes from hydroelectric dams while remaining as fully functional and profitable countries. Renewable energy sources have already proven to be successful and optimal for the majority of the world.
Climate change has many detrimental affects on the world but there are still solutions out there that can save us from catastrophe. I think that we should act with haste because if we do not try to preserve the earth now, there will not be an earth to preserve later. Earth is our one and only home, we should take care of it while it is manageable rather than trashing it and realizing it is too late for action.
Climate Change: A Call to Action
by Thompson Tang
To whom it may concern,
Climate change has always been a boiling topic throughout the world but up until now, it is causing much controversy between those with conflicting viewpoints. Although we may agree on some topics, there are others where we might not meet in the middle:
1. First, it should be noted that the climate has been changing drastically throughout the years, but it wouldn’t have done so if it weren’t for human processes.
2. Second, although it may seem like climate change is a lost cause and that it is too late to stop global warming, we can still make efforts to help prevent the effects from worsening.
As a young Asian boy growing up in a Catholic household, I’ve always been taught to love and respect God’s creation. Through reading Bible scriptures and attending Sunday school, the idea of preserving our planet has always stuck with me. In the bible, it states in Genesis 6:5-6 that “Just like its spiritual father, Satan, mankind uses God’s beautiful creation self-centeredly and destroys.” It can be inferred here that if mankind destroys the Earth (God’s creation) by polluting the air and increasing greenhouse emissions, we are doing Satan’s work, therefore sinning.
Although your religious beliefs may not be the same as mine, I understand the reasoning behind your thoughts and opinions on climate change as a natural process (not human induced). However, there has been research conducted by well-trusted scientists that human beings contribute to the rising temperatures. So far, according to Climate.gov, the average global temperature has risen 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the year 1880. You may be asking the question: Well how are my actions directly affecting the climate? The answer to this is simple. Everything we do affects the climate. Everything from turning our gasoline engines on every morning to accidentally leaving the lights on in the house are all things that are warming our Earth.
To address the concern that it is too late to prevent global warming, it should be noted that NASA has indeed come out and said that even if we stopped or decreased our greenhouse gas emission, global warming will still persist. However, this does not mean that we should set the issue aside and ignore it. NASA did also say that it may not be too late to prevent the worst effects of climate change from persisting. These effects include the melting of polar ice caps and the rising sea levels (destroying homes and such).
Although our viewpoints don’t quite align, there is one thing that we both can agree on. Human life is valuable. To combat this problem, we can both do our part to secure a brighter future for not only us but our families. We can participate in peaceful protests and educate the less fortunate on the effects of global warming. We can do minor things such as turning off the lights in our house when we don’t use them and using public transportation/carpooling instead of driving by ourselves.
Generations down the line, our kids will be in the midst of a warm planet, asking their parents what they did to help combat climate change. The argument that this issue only affects us is invalid as it will be affecting those who will live after us as well. It would be quite selfish and cruel for one to think that this problem will only affect themself. For myself, I would like to be able to answer that question wholeheartedly and with confidence. I want to stand alongside activists such as Greta Thunberg and say that I fought for the youth and their wellbeing on this planet.
Letter about Climate Change
by Zuulunegshiglen Batsuuri
I am certainly not a scientist nor a professional. I am not part of one group and not a part of another, but am simply someone who is concerned for our dear Earth and the planet we call home. While we agree that climate change is real and is one of the biggest problems that our generation and society needs to work on, there are a few points in which our views differ.
1. The first being that our society needs to be more aware of our environment and how our actions affect it, no matter how small or big. You believe that we humans have had no effect on our Earth, but science proves otherwise.
2. I believe that action must be taken by our local government and through federal/international legislation to lessen the effects and begin the long journey of rebuilding our society to become less dependent on fossil fuels and other factors of which are contributing to climate change.
I hope that throughout this letter we are able to come to a consensus and common agreement of a view that we might both share.
In regards to my first point, while we cannot 100% know with certainty that humans are the only cause, we can certainly attest to the fact that the evidence of climate change has been presented by scientists, yet we continue to ignore their warnings and push it off for the next generation to worry about. In 1958, scientists Charles Keeling began measuring atmospheric CO2 at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii. Through his measurements, “he became the first scientist to confirm that atmospheric CO2 levels were rising rather than being fully absorbed by forests and oceans.” In 1977, the “US National Academy of Sciences issued a report that came to the conclusion that the burning of fossil fuels was increasing atmospheric CO2, and that increased CO2 was associated with the rise in global temperatures.” As you can see, we came to the conclusion of these findings around 40 to 60 years ago, yet not much has changed. We continued the burning of fossil fuels, except the use of fossil fuels had increased, so it became even more evident that our CO2 levels were rising, resulting in Earth to increasingly get warmer. If we had taken this research and the information we knew and worked together to do better and cut our fossil fuel usage, who knows where we would be today.
The second point I would like to bring up is the action we must take through legislation. Through those past studies and research, it is already abundantly clear that climate change is indeed real and humans are a part of the reason why. The Paris Climate Agreement is the only major agreement between countries that addresses climate change and works to strengthen our global responsibility to climate change. The agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
As we grow up, we realize how climate change has impacted our communities. It may have seemed small when we were children, but as we grew up and learned more about the effects of it, we have begun to notice how much has changed and it is frightening to hear I admit. However, acceptance is the first step in taking action for our planet. While there are effects of climate change happening everywhere around the globe, I will speak about my own experiences with it.
Summers in California are becoming longer and hotter every year that passes by. The leaves should be falling by mid September, yet instead the temperatures are getting hotter. In recent years, wildfires are getting worse and more catastrophic causing more damage and devastation to families, wildlife, and property. In the areas where the wildfires were, schools had to be shut down, families evacuated, and the unhealthy air quality spreading down miles and miles away from the affected area. I remember waking up one morning and the sky was orange, it looked like we were in an apocalyptic movie. A few weeks before that, I heard thunder and lightning for the first time in my life. This is very uncommon to see in the Bay Area or California in general, but it’s terrifying to see how our environment is changing more and more and I hope that there still will be someplace to call home for future generations.
Many people tend to think on a global scale and while we should all continue to collaborate together to reverse the effects of global change, change can also come within one person. All it takes is for one person to do their part, no matter how big or how small and if one person can think that way, then there are bound to be other people who think that same way. Change can come within one person and I would like to quote the Lorax as a parting message for all of us to think about, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not”
Thank you for hearing me out! I hope that while we may have our differences, we are all able to come together and begin our mission in reversing or fixing the effects of climate change. I hope that we are able to provide a safe place for our future generations to live in. A place that we as children were able to enjoy in our own childhood.
by Sofia Ramsey Silva
I understand that we disagree on many things, especially:
1. Our personal roles in climate change, and
2. When climate change will affect our way of life.
But, in my experience, most conservatives and progressives only think and act the way they do because it is what they believe is right – for themselves and for their families.
You know just like I do that every action has a consequence. I do not want to change the way I live my life, but I also do not want to be responsible for my children never being able to live their own lives. Data shows that people have only negatively affected the environment for the last two hundred years, compared to centuries and centuries where we didn’t. I don’t personally want to live like it’s 1820, but I could take some what they did right and do that (like using less plastic). I can adapt my way of living enough so that it’s not contributing to climate change, but it is still comfortable, just like you can. Most climate change is not caused by everyday people though; it’s caused by businesses. So, how you vote can also affect the future. That’s not to say that you need to vote blue. You should always vote your conscience, and if your conscience says vote red, then, of course, vote red. Just understand that no one can argue against facts, no one can deny that storms are getting worse, fires are getting worse, summers are getting hotter, crops are starting to fail more. Climate change isn’t going to happen, it’s already happening.
I am not writing to you to tell you that you should save the planet. I’m not a tree-hugger holding up a peace sign telling you why you should go vegan because some bug on the other side of the world is dying. I’m just scared. I am scared that my family’s house will burn in a wildfire. I’m scared that hotter weather will bring about another Dust Bowl. I’m scared that my boyfriend and I won’t live long enough to grow old together. I’m scared that my future children will die too young. I am not asking you to save the planet, because the planet will be fine. The Earth doesn’t care whether we’re here or not. I’m asking you to save the people you care about and to save yourselves.
Climate change is terrifying. When I see something that is that scary, I look away. But we can’t just keep looking away. It needs to be fixed, and soon.
And, in order for it to be fixed, people need to work together, regardless of political beliefs, to benefit the community as a whole (including ourselves and our families). One way to do that would be to adapt our own ways of life, but that can only go so far. Rather, I suggest coming together and making our voices heard to more influential people – politicians and businessmen on both sides of the aisle to express our concerns so that they can look at the problem head-on and fix it.
Finding a Compromise on Combatting Climate Change
by Nanise Royal
Climate change is an all too real issue that has been threatening our planet, and only home. Much to the detriment of the environment, climate change is currently being debated and unfortunately denied by world leaders and governments. Since we agree that climate change is a true phenomenon that continues to threaten the well-being of our environment, it is crucial that we understand our differences so we can work towards a common goal in eliminating climate change and improving environmental conditions. In examining the differences in opinion, two main points arise:
1. The main cause of climate change. While you believe that natural processes are causing climate change; I must disagree, as I see that human changes—namely industrialization and poor energy management—are at the heart of the climate change issue.
2. The issue on how we humans should be managing the climate crisis. It at first seems rational to wait until certain solutions are concrete and proven to be highly effective before implementing them, I believe that this crisis is too big and catastrophic to keep waiting to do something. While methods of reversing the damage might be uncertain, I think it is critical that attempts are made to combat climate change.
In summarizing our differences, I hope to not divide us but rather find places where we can compromise and land on solutions that will appease both of our schools of thought in combatting the effects of climate change.
While natural occurrences such as the sun’s energy, oceanic changes, and volcanic eruptions can make changes to Earth’s climate, I believe that the climate is changing all too rapidly for these to be the main factor in climate change. Natural phenomena have been occurring for eons yet it was not until the start of industrialization and the rise in human reliance on technology that climate change became of serious concern to scientists and climatologists. Changes in local climates such as the heavy smog in LA seen in the 1980s and 1990s are attributed to the high traffic of gas-vehicles as well as industrial buildings that use significant amounts of power and fossil fuels. During the summer of 2019, my family took a trip to Alaska. While in Juneau, we took a hike through the Tongass National Forest, home of the Mendenhall Glacier. While on our hike there were markers of where the glacier used to be. The last ice limit marker we came across was for 1937, and the closest you could get to the glacier was still about a 2 mile hike. I do not believe that natural changes alone could have caused the glacier to melt so significantly in only 82 years. I can agree that natural changes do contribute somewhat to the change in climate, as I believe that you can agree that humans play some role in the changing of climate as well. Nevertheless; I think that it benefits both of our groups to find solutions and push international lawmakers to enact environmentally-friendly policies, rather than continuously arguing the causes of climate change.
Climate change is drastically affecting the whole world through extreme cold and hot weather, stronger hurricanes, melting ice caps, and other weather phenomena, and while a lot of individuals are making personal changes such as driving electric vehicles and reducing waste, it has not proven to be enough in efficiently reversing or slowing the effects of climate change. While making big changes may be costly and uncertain to work, something needs to be done. Businesses are offshoring to get away from countries’ climate change regulations and other countries are not doing enough in terms of holding big businesses and industries accountable. I think that the situation has become too dire to wait for a perfect solution to come along.
I hope in reading this letter that we can open a dialogue that will lead us to a compromise. I would like to hear your input and suggestions on working together. If we do not come together in achieving our common goal of stopping the damage of climate change, the leaders who do not believe or do not care about climate change will continue to let it destroy our ecosystem.
I Want a Healthy Home for Our Descedants!
by Monica De La Torre
To whom it may concern,
The Climate Change debate in the United States has become more of a political view rather than a human issue to be solved. Currently, people in this country feel very passionately about what political party they belong to, and when debating; it almost always leads to a confrontation. I write this letter in hopes of building a bridge of communication between the two sides of the Climate Change argument by addressing two points I find important:
1. We have all have seen and are living the effects of Climate Change, but some believe that human activity has little to nothing to do with the effects we are experiencing. I believe that human activity and our high consumption of energy is causing harm to our planet.
2. Advocates of the view opposing mine state that Climate Change is yet another excuse for the government and large companies to generate money. Although I agree that the transition to carbon-free energy sources is expensive and time-consuming, the effort is well worth it. In the long run, it would be less expensive to generate energy, and our planet would be better conserved.
To address the first point, I would like to share my personal experience with the heatwaves caused by Climate Change and the negative impact it has caused for people in California. As a result of the extremely high temperatures, may wildfires spread and burned millions of acres across California. Luckily, my hometown did not have to evacuate, but we did suffer many consequences due to the bad air quality. First, we lived in a cloud of smoke and ashes for weeks. The atmosphere was so saturated with smoke and ashes, that we could not see the sun mid-day. The days were short and gloomy. Additionally, the ashes would settle, and they were extremely noticeable on cars and house roofs. Secondly, bad air quality causes respiratory problems. I, for example, have never suffered from any respiratory issues, but during this time I would wake up coughing and expelling thick phlegm. If the situation would have not recovered, I’m not sure what detrimental damage would have been done to my lungs and mind you, I spent most of my time indoors. I can only imagine what people who worked outdoors experienced. Lastly, a friend of mine has a daughter that suffers from an advanced case of asthma. She had to spend all her time enclosed in her room with an air purifier on at all times. This girl is only ten years old and no ten-year-old deserves to be forced to stay inside.
I encourage you to reflect on the challenges you have experienced due to Climate Change, and brainstorm on what could be done so that the damage already created does not worsen.
In response to the second point, I believe that to conserve of our planet we must transition to more efficient ways of generating energy with the absence of carbon dioxide.
I understand that the investment for this to be a reality is a huge sum of money, but in retrospect, I do not think there is a sum of money that is worth more than the health of people on our planet and the planet itself. Moving Forward, our population is projected to increase and with it comes more contamination of the atmosphere. To help stop Climate Change we need to act now and fast before it is too late to fix things.
Thank you for your time!!
Climate Change: Acknowledging
and Confronting the Issue
by Shreya Deshmukh
To whomever this may concern,
I am writing to you regarding a very urgent topic: climate change. I want to be clear that my goal is not to necessarily change your views but rather to come to a solution that fits both of our perspectives and helps solve the issue at hand. While we both can agree that climate change is a pressing matter, I would like to touch on and address two areas where our opinions differ.
1) Contrary to your view, I believe that industrialization and human behavior is a major factor in the development and progression of climate change on our planet. The technological advancements made since the early 18th century have created emissions that have negatively impacted the quality of life on Earth, specifically in impoverished areas.
2) Although the proposed solutions to climate change are expensive, they must be undertaken for the sake of slowing and preventing future damage. In the long-term, taking steps to solve climate change will serve as an investment in a future where the quality of life is higher.
I understand your view that climate change can occur on its own, especially after so many years of Earth’s existence. The planet is bound to change in terms of temperatures and weather patterns. The sun’s emissions of energy and heat, moon’s position, and natural occurrences on the planet all vary in intensity and length naturally, thus affecting the air, land, and water of Earth.
However, climate change has been greatly accelerated and impacted by human activity on the planet. In fact, about 98% of experienced and published climate researchers agree that human activity is most to blame for the planet’s changing climate. The extraction of coal, oil, and various other fossil fuels has depleted Earth’s resources. These energy sources used for human activities, such as transportation and production, in turn, emit greenhouse gases that heat the atmosphere. With such a large amount of people on the planet engaging in this continuous cycle, the impact on the planet has been vast.
In a moment of ambiguity, both sides of this argument are true. Take for example my current situation. As I write this, thousand-of-acres-large fires burn less than 20 minutes away. My house smells of smoke, and thread-like particles of ash cover my backyard. The wind is so strong that trees have fallen and the metal chairs in my backyard have ended up in the pool.
The intense winds have been a common occurrence here where I live. California is a desert, so hot, dry climate is a norm, as is brush growing on nearby hills where fires can easily catch. These conditions are further intensified through human activity. In the several years I have lived in this area, I have never experienced a fire so extreme. The heating of the atmosphere, due to emissions created by activities like the burning of fossil fuels, has exacerbated the wind and dryness that foster and fuel fires. The wind has picked up such high speeds that the fire spreads faster than it can be measured, and the dry brush, that is more prominent due to the drought, facilitates this crisis.
Earlier this week, the only thought on my mind was that I would lose my home, memories, childhood, and way of life. For some people this is a reality. In China, the air is so unhealthy that lung conditions and wearing masks are the norm. In Bangladesh and India, since May, monsoons have flooded huge parts of land, caused landslides, and killed several people. Four million people have been affected and are now being forced to reevaluate and accommodate their living situations. People are losing their way of life; at least in the name of morals, something must be done, regardless of the cost.
Of course I am not suggesting we reverse all the technological advances of our society, as they are key to the function of the economic, political, and social aspects of everyday life. However, I think it is important to acknowledge the impact we as humans are having on the environment, so we can reach an effective solution.
Regardless of the price this solution comes at, it must be undertaken. If not for the sake of yourself, then for the sake of others. For the countless lives, homes, families, dreams, and memories that are lost each year. The cost of climate change both tangible and intangible has been vast and is growing ever larger as we speak. Action must be taken right away to minimize potential damage in the future.
I hope you can join me in searching for a solution to this pressing issue that will satisfy us both!
A conversation leading to a common ground
regarding climate change
by Nancy Gutierrez
To whom it may concern,
Climate change poses a lot of challenges in the world. The impact of climate change ranges from remote villages to the entire planet earth. Therefore, there has been a significant need for collective action from various societies, industries, and governments. The private sector is currently playing a leading role in proving commitment to innovation and financial resources necessary to reduce negative repercussions of climate change and ensure zero-carbon emission economies worldwide.
My friends, we seem to agree on many economic issues and politics, but we fail to decide on the seriousness of the matter at hand, which is the impact of climate change.
First and foremost, I believe that climate change is a severe problem today, and it poses a lot of risks to future generations. However, most of you think that climate change might be happening and is a problem, but it is not pressing.
Secondly, if the government intervenes to regulate the business's performance, then the interests of the public will be highly protected, especially regarding climate change. On the other hand, many of you believe that government intervention in regulating business activities to counter the impact of climate change will do more harm than the intended good.
In the context of the first query above, most people have strong confidence in research done by scientists, but they don't view climate change as a pressing issue. They often think that other critical matters face people like income inequality, poverty, unemployment, and food shortage. Contrary to my belief, most people believe that climate change is overstated and overrated as well. People think that the media is blowing such kinds of risks out of proportion. However, in this modern society of digital technology, information can be tremendously shared through various social networks. Despite the rampant awareness on social media, many of them still fail to understand industrialization's impact on climate change.
I believe that people are not fully aware of the overall impact of climate change on society in the future, regardless of the more than two hundred thousand deaths annually caused by air pollution. Just recently, the State of California has been faced with wildfires that have ravaged many homesteads and businesses, leaving thousands homeless and hundreds of fatalities. These impacts are happening in our world today, and yet many choose to ignore and thus fail to put their governments on the accountability table. Everyone knows that we are breathing toxic air today; what might the future hold if climate change is less immediate and uncertain in the future. It is most appropriate that people believe or take note of the matter's seriousness so that change can start immediately.
Regarding the second query, I believe that climate change is a future time bomb that might take our world by surprise. Despite our political differences between the republicans and democrats, we should focus on choosing leaders who have ideas and are committed to creating and implementing policies that will protect our future welfare and the safety of our future generations. The government can play a significant role in ensuring the adoption of renewable energy solutions. Various governments globally ought to agree on a twenty to a thirty-year-old policy of switching to renewable energy technology in the heating, electricity, and transportation industries. It will reduce global warming and finally come to free carbon economies if the implementation process is fast enough, the better for our communities at hand. For instance, switching to both solar and wind sources of energy is extremely beneficial, whether it reduces the intensity of global warming on not. Several countries have come up with green energy solutions in creating cars that use electricity or water, thus creating a very positive impact that everybody needs to emulate or envy in today's modern society.
Therefore, the involvement of the private sector on various climate action plans might take many reforms. Still, they are essential, mostly if they agree to develop policies and financial provisions to facilitate implementation. If the government establishes dialogues, the private sector can send their representatives together with other representatives from the prospective communities, civil society, and international organizations to ensure more comprehensive and integrated strategies for counter-attacking climate change.
Thank you for offering me a listening ear, and I hope that you will reason with me so that we can agree.
Climate change in the eyes of a 21 year old
by Edwin Leon
To whom it may concern,
I am twenty-one years old and throughout my short life, I have been able to witness climate change around the world. Climate change is an issue we cannot deny and I am sure we can agree that through the examination of data we can conclude that climate is indeed changing. However, there are two notable points in which we may disagree:
1. Humans behavior and industrialization are the primary factors in the rise in temperature over the past century.
2. Even if it is expensive and we are uncertain they might address the problem of climate change; we should still take steps to attempt and solve the problem.
Through this letter, I sincerely hope we can reach a consensus or perhaps create an environment where we both can understand each other’s points of view. So, without further ado, in regards to my first notable point I would like to clarify that although human behavior and industrialization are not the only factors in the rise of temperature over the past century, I strongly believe that it is the primary factor in the past century.
Since the early 20th century the Earth’s temperature has increased approximately 1.8F, and coincidently the atmospheric level of greenhouse gasses has increased as well. The increase in greenhouse gasses is directly related to human behavior and industrialization through the burning of fossil fuels. Although a temperature increase of 1.8F might not seem much to some, it can create catastrophic results in the long run. We can already see some effects the emission of greenhouse gasses has had on our weather like global warming, droughts, and the rise of sea level due to the loss of ice. In addition, the climate changes that are occurring are affecting other things like the production of crops. When I was a kid, I remember going to my uncle’s farm and learning about the production of many crops one of which was cotton. As years pass and we get to see each other, we talk about the state of the crops and how the seasons are slowly changing due to the rise in temperature. It is impressive to see how a slight increase in temperature can change the production of a crop.
In regards to my second notable point, I strongly believe that if we invest resources to address the problem of climate change we could reach a solution. We all can agree that climate change has affected everyone in some way and that human activity is one of the causes of it therefore we should attempt to fix it. Finding a solution to any world problem will be costly, but the results will benefit everyone. I believe that when it comes to global problems one should always assume the worst and in this case, we should invest a lot of resources into finding a solution before it is too late. Lastly, although I might not sound reasonable, I strongly believe that money should not even be in the conversation when it comes to fixing climate change. It might take years or centuries, but it will reach the point where we won’t be able to live on Earth anymore.
We might not see the changes instantly, and we might not see the changes in our lifetime, but in the long run, it will lead to better conditions for future generations to come. Thank you for reading this letter, and I hope you were able to understand my point of view.
A Letter To Climate Change
by Scott Phan
To those reading,
Ever wonder why presidential debates, such as the recent one between Donald Trump and Joe Biden include questions unrelated to politics like climate change? That’s because while it seems like a trivial topic that pales in comparison to that of immigration or medicare, etc., climate change has been becoming a more mainstream topic that’s important enough to be included as a topic for the presidential candidates, so we should at least acknowledge the elephant in the room regardless.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and many support either sides of the spectrum, but my stance on the issue has differing points compared to those who believe that:
1) Climate change is something that is unrelated to human behavior and industrialization.
2) Should there be sufficient evidence to prove the relationship exists, would the expenditure be worth it?
I understand your reasons that led to believe what you believe in, and while our reasons differ, I hope that by reading this letter, perhaps we can gain a better understanding of each other’s positions and find the best way to address this problem where both sides can converge on a solution that would satisfy them.
To address the first point, I think we can both agree that definitively determining whether or not human behavior and climate change are related is quite difficult due to nature’s erratic patterns and the liability of climate models running into complications with short-term variables. Like, scientists aren’t prophets and they don’t have the superpower to read futures, but they do have statistical data that may help you gain insight on why we make these conclusions. According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, their analyses on Earth’s global surface temperature the past decades showed a steadily increasing trend where, “the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20 C per decade.” (https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/). Now, I understand that climate change can be caused by a myriad of factors like the sun, Earth’s natural processes, or disasters, but if you look at the graph on the GISS’s evidence page, you can see that sure, Earth has been following it’s routinely natural processes of heating and cooling with the fluctuations in the graph. Earth’s CO2 levels have never passed a certain threshold for thousands of years until after 1950 and everyday human activity like burning fossil fuels, taking transportation, and using electricity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave their take on the situation and found out that in August of 2020, the air hit the highest monthly average value recorded, the highest they’ve been in human history, up to 414.7 ppm (https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/06/04/
carbon-dioxide-record-2020/). With this much CO2, they were able to conclude that surface temperatures have risen and sea levels have risen with the greenhouse effect and that the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, which reduced transportation and such, have reduced emissions by as much as 17% due to reduced human activity.
Good thing is that the boring part’s over, but now the question would be expending resources and funds into, hopefully, amends to the problem be worth it? While I myself do not agree that we’d have to make drastic changes like discovering some new source of energy or something like Einstein. We already have fairly good sources of electricity that would lead to less pollution like wind or water power, which isn’t as effective, but creates less pollution and the plan is just normalizing its use to where it’s more widely implemented. Like I said, it’s not something that I think should have to affect our daily lives drastically, like I love using my electricity and driving around in my Honda Civic, but I do care about the effects that climate change has had on our environment this year and how costly it’s been; switching over to an electric car or using less gas isn’t bad for the long-run either. The massive fires in the Amazon, and Australia, caused massive deforestation (less CO2 absorbed); even in my own neighborhood, a wildfire had started a couple days ago forcing us to evacuate to my relatives’ house. Seeing this happen in person is terrifying and I can’t imagine seeing how other global countries that are less fortunate than us deal with these hardships; people can get injured, die and properties can be burned down, and this can be expensive. The damages sustained by the increase in natural disasters are not worth it and promoting a switch to different sources of energy can make a big difference. Whether or not we are the cause of the problem, we should opt to be safe and implement these small changes so we won’t need to face big changes later.
Coming to Middle Ground
by Erika Go-Oco
To whom it may concern,
We are all entitled to formulate our own opinions on issues that affect us most profoundly. That being said, I understand that we may differ on some views revolving around the idea of climate change, its impact, and how to approach this issue.
I know that there is something that we do agree upon which is that Earth’s climate is changing and we see that through the various evidence that has been displayed to the public. However despite some of your beliefs, I believe that this rapid change in climate is primarily caused by human activity. Likewise, I also do believe that it is our responsibility, as a global unit, to prioritize putting in resources and implementing change into our lives in order to do what should be done to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are being exported into the air.
I understand that you may not also agree with me with my opinion that it is the human population’s job to take such actions in reducing our contribution to climate change. Additionally, I do understand your point of view of not wanting to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions because many of these changes that our modern day society have made have created great technological and economical advancements. However, through further communication, I think that we will be able to find middle ground.
Even if you may not think that human actions are the primary cause of climate change, I think it is reasonable to agree that there have been negative effects of our increased use of greenhouse gases. Personally, I have been a resident in the Bay Area in California my entire life. I have experienced prolonged months of heat and I typically never experience a true winter as others in eastern states. This has been a commonality for me; however, this year alone has opened my eyes to how rapidly our climate has been changing.
Looking back at my childhood as a kid, I still remember the summer days spending countless hours by the pool to then having night campfires. These hot but pleasant days were always filled with fun and laughter. Fast forward to 2020, and the fire in California is no longer just in my backyard, but it is burning the state to the ground. I still remember waking up in the middle of the night on August 16th of 2020 to a lightning storm that soon led to over 300 fires across the entire state. Having a hot and dry lightning storm in the middle of August is not a typical occurrence in California, yet it happened and it will only keep occurring if we allow global warming and climate change to worsen.
No longer is global warming in California just making our summers hotter, but it is causing real danger and destruction to millions of people in just one state. I cannot imagine the amount of harm that other groups of people have faced because of climate change which is why it is so imperative to act now. Whether or not humans are the primary cause of climate change, there are still actions that we can take that can slow the effects of climate change which will allow for global warming to hopefully slow down as well.
Similar to you, I love that the new technology that society has created has created convenience. For example, if I had the option to, I would willingly choose to drive to school rather than walk because it gets me places much faster which makes my life easier. Additionally, I have used my gas stove to heat and fry food because it is the easiest and helps me prepare my food. All the new technological advancements that have developed through our increased use of fossil fuels have made our lives easier. But at what cost?
As I stated before, I am reluctant to let my car or other forms of technology go. However, new substitutes have been introduced that allows us to keep our convenience and technological advancements while also actively contributing to reducing our carbon footprint. In the past, millions and millions of our dollars went into funding companies and scientists to find out how we can use fossil fuels to our advantage and it brought a multitude of benefits but has also worsened our climate. However, if we shift our money towards companies to discover ways to use renewable energy sources instead to create technology that would help our lives become more efficient, while also saving our planet, then what is there not to like?
Your stance on whether or not climate change is caused by humans primarily is not a decision for me to make. Based on wavering evidence from multiple scientists, it sometimes can be tough to make that decision. However, I do believe that humans have contributed to climate change which is why I am asking to come to a middle ground and agree to disagree on the idea that humans have worsened climate yet understand that it is still our duty to do whatever that we can to help stop climate change so that we as a community do not continue to experience the detrimental effects that will come with it. I don’t know about you, but I want California to actually experience rain again.
Thank you for your time hearing me out and I would also love to hear your thoughts so that we can hopefully come to a peaceful resolution.
Climate Change Letter
by Hannah Logan
Dear respected friends,
I know the subject of climate change is a contested one. I know it has pulled us apart in the past. I know it is pulling us apart now. I ask that we come together and try to see each other’s sides with as much dignity as we can. My stance is that climate change is in fact a very real and very daunting reality. I am arguing to those people who believe in climate change but have a different outtake. Many of you belong to two camps of thought: 1. You do not believe climate change is human made, and 2. You do not believe it can be reversed.
We can agree that the earth goes through phases of heating and cooling. We know areas that are above sea level now were once vast ocean plains. We know that some deserts, such as the Sahara or Antarctica (which is indeed considered a desert) once housed great tropical forests. We know that creatures such as mammoths and saber-tooth cats and giant sloths lived where we live now during the last great Ice Age. We can agree on these things, yet we cannot agree that the heating we are seeing today is just another one of these phases. The changing of average temperatures took thousands of years to change by even a single degree. We have seen such an average temperature rise in just the past few hundred years. We can link this rise to the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early nineteenth century. This revolution began the first large scale pumping of pollution into our atmosphere, and it has only gotten worse since then. Our factories have grown in number and size. Only now are we able to see the effects of our early innocence in thinking that our Earth can take whatever we throw at her and not retaliate at us in response.
The second argument is that you do not believe we can reverse these problems, so why should we even try? I believe this is a pessimistic idea, a form of helplessness and hopelessness. The climate’s current situation does not ALLOW time to feel helpless and hopeless. We cannot give up now because it seems impossible. If a candle spills over in your house and lights a chair on fire, are you going to attempt to douse the fire or abandon the whole house? I mean, the fire has already started and there’s no hope in saving anything else, right? No. We are deep into climate change, but that doesn’t mean we should give up trying right now. Think of the world you would be leaving not just your far off descendants, but your direct children. The rate that the problem is accelerating is going to affect your own children, the very next generation. This is not some far off moment in time. This is happening today. This is happening now.
I am not even a quarter of a century old, and already I can see the effects of global temperatures rising. Though I live in Southern California, my hometown used to get snow almost every winter, and I have not seen snow stick on the ground in years. My winters are sometimes wet and often warm. A few years ago I remember being incredibly upset that the temperature had risen to 80 degrees on Christmas day, a day I was used to having be at the very least below 50 degrees. My physics and history teacher at my high school told us stories about how his parents and their parents used to live in Cherry Valley, California- a place obviously known for growing higher altitude fruits such as cherries and apples. Nowadays it doesn’t get cold enough for long enough to give these trees the cold time they need to reproduce. This has happened in recent times, in just the past few generations. As a Californian for 21 years, I can tell you first hand how the west coast has been faring. July and August alone of 2020 broke the previous wildfire records for the entirety of 2019. I have been evacuated three times in my life, twice while living in the mountains and once this September while living down the hill from those mountains. I remember getting some tropical storms around my birthday in June almost every year. This year we have not had rain since April. This coupled with a lifetime-long drought brought the west coast to its knees the past four months. My family takes a roadtrip to visit extended family in Washington every year, and this is the first summer that we have encountered wildfires that forced us to reroute hours out of the way. On the last trip we drove through smoke so intense that the highway wasn’t visible more than a few hundred feet away. My state’s heat problems are aptly paired with the east coast’s hurricanes and flooding to make the perfect monster ready to devour our country at both ends. I am barely a legal adult, and these are changes I have witnessed with my own eyes.
I hope I have not come across in an attacking manner, but I do hope you hear the urgency in my voice. I grew up in the mountains, in an area that taught me how we are all connected to the earth. My life is far from fruition, but I am already watching our earth crumble before my very eyes, and it is our own fault. We have to take action now, not tomorrow, not the next day. We need to move right now, or we will not have a future to look forward to. Earth will carry on as she always has, but it will only be after she has finally rid herself of the human race who was not worthy of her.
Climate Change: Important or Exaggeration?
by Dhairya Mehta
The world we live in is more important to us than anything. Although we might hold similar opinions on some topics, our views on the issue of climate change differ;
1. First, we concur with the idea that climate change is indeed happening. However, our differences rise in pointing out the cause of climate change. You, unlike me, believe that human activity is not a major cause of climate change.
2. Second, like me, you believe that climate oscillates between warming and cooling phases as part of its cycle. However, you think that due to its natural process, no human efforts are needed to limit the effects of climate change.
After reading this letter, I hope that we better understand each other’s points of view on the topic of climate change and maybe even find a solution to this troubling topic.
Our disagreement on the first point arises when pointing out the primary cause of climate change. I agree that due to our environment’s complexity and interdependent systems, it is challenging to determine climate change causes accurately. I also agree that Earth has previously gone through warming phases. However, the rate at which the Earth has been warming since the past century is a major concern.
According to ProCon.org, “Although the planet has warmed 1-1.4°F over the 20th century, it is within the +/- 5°F range of the past 3,000 years.” While this information is accurate, it is also troublesome. By doing simple calculations, we can find that over the past 3,000 years, the Earth’s temperature has risen by about 0.167°F every hundred years. In relation to this, the change in temperature of the last century was about six to eight times. This tells us that although the Earth has been warming for the past few thousand years, it has been warming much faster over the last hundred years.
The 20th century was known for its revolutionary progress in technology and its destruction. As competition for resources increased with colonialism and imperialism, the battle for world power also increased. During the 20th century, airplanes, cars, ships, and tanks were mass-produced. These modes of transportation had terrible fuel efficiency and left a lot of pollutants. During the World Wars, millions of tons of explosives were dropped in Europe. The United States dropped 7.5 million tons of bombs during the Vietnam War. Furthermore, hundreds of nuclear tests during the Cold War released even more greenhouse gases as well as radiation. Due to the chemistry behind these explosive weapons, the mid-20th century saw an unimaginable amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
I lived in Mumbai, India, for 16 years. I remember walking through the park during monsoon with my family, wearing raincoats, collecting pebbles, and jumping in puddles. However, since 2014, monsoons in Mumbai have changed. Due to global warming and pollution, the beginning of monsoon is often marked with acid rains. One year, I developed a rash on my hand due to acid rain exposure and had to be taken to the hospital. Furthermore, monsoons in Mumbai now continue later than they used to, which has also led to changes in migration patterns of birds and dolphins sighted nearby. In the next few generations, children might not enjoy the fun of walking in the rain or jumping into a puddle, or watching dolphins in the bay.
Due to the expansion of the middle class and the subsequent rise in living standards, we now use air conditioning systems, heaters, microwaves, cell phones, laptops, and many other devices. However, to power these devices, large amounts of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas are used. This increase in living standards and the continuing dependence on fossil fuels has made the ongoing problem of global warming worse.
The second point that we disagree on is whether or not humans should try to help in limiting the rate at which global warming occurs. Due to the vast improvements in technology and living standards, much like you, I am accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Cell phones and other electronic devices have led to space-time compression. The once laborious process of farming has now been made simpler by the use of tractors and harvesters. The invention of airplanes and cars have made transportation easier, faster, and cheaper. While these inventions have proved to be a boon to humans, their effects, as we have recently realized, are affecting the environment.
We know that the most abundant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. It is released by burning fossil fuels as well as through other natural processes. According to ProCon.org, rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere do not cause global warming, and “Human-produced CO2 is re-absorbed by oceans, forests, and other “carbon sinks,” negating any climate changes.” Although forests and oceans absorb carbon dioxide, they cannot negate the rate at which climate change is happening. The drive for technology has led to the devastation of forests around the world. The wildfires in the Amazon Rainforest and California are only a few examples of deforestation. The oceans have also been negatively affected by carbon dioxide emissions. Ocean temperatures are rising, and the absorption of carbon dioxide has led to an increase in ocean acidity levels, resulting in the decimation of coral reefs. With a tremendous decrease in forests and an exponential rise in human population and technology, this carbon dioxide will be released back into the atmosphere and climate change will inevitably get out of control.
Like I mentioned earlier, it is challenging to leave human developments in technology behind. However, it is not impossible to change the way technology is powered. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are reliable sources of energy. Technology is making great strides in reducing our carbon footprint. Solar panels can completely power homes and even neighborhoods and cities, drastically reducing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. Electric and hybrid cars have been manufactured in such a way that pollutants are reduced. As technology advances, we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment. Think about it; if we do not take immediate action on the problem of climate change, all of our inventions will be useless to future generations.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on climate change. I would like to hear your thoughts on these issues, and I hope we might come to an agreement to save this beautiful planet.
My Perspective on Climate Change
by Kevin Quach
In an extremely polarized time, one of the most hotly-debated topics is the issue of climate change, which is more complicated than a simple “it does exist versus it does not exist” and merits a nuanced discussion.
I think that climate change is one of the most important issues that we have to address sooner rather than later. I cannot wait to discuss this more with everyone.
With this in mind, two specific ways that we differ in our perspectives of climate change are:
1) I think that the US should make more of an effort to approve legislation that combats climate change. On the other hand, you feel that such legislation would be fruitless in the light of how the largest contributors of greenhouse gases would not be obligated to follow in America’s footsteps.
2) While I believe that implementing alternative energy sources to oppose climate change would also bolster the overall economy, you feel that such an approach would come with too heavy of a cost for many people without enough gains to offset the losses.
In regards to the first point, I recognize the immense challenges of getting other countries, let alone our own, to buy into the idea of stopping climate change. Even if the US manages to approve legislation that tackles climate change, many other countries such as China and India produce a substantial amount of carbon dioxide yet lack the same amount of care for climate change as the US does. At one point in time, I remember discussing this with my father, who made the solid point that no country wants to risk being the first to fully commit to fighting climate change and then fall behind the global competition. Although it does hurt me to say it, there is a strong possibility that if the US enacts climate change legislation, there would be nothing to show for it if the country is acting in isolation. To avoid this scenario, I feel that the US still needs to push that legislation forward to highlight its commitment to halting climate change. However, that push needs to be in conjunction with other major countries. Without large countries getting involved, getting other countries to commit to such a global endeavor would be difficult.
As for the second point, I can empathize with the fear of losing the fossil fuel energy sector. My family relies on a wide variety of appliances fueled by fossil fuels for work and their daily lives. We would be devastated by a sudden transition to alternative energy sources. Some of my uncles and aunts work in the fossil fuel industry and rely on those jobs to stay afloat in these harsh times. Even if the US decreases its carbon emissions at the expense of workers like my family members, it alone does not solve the global issue. I hope that there is a gradual shift from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources to avoid jeopardizing the livelihoods of people who mean a lot to me. On the positive side, I believe that this shift will create more job opportunities in the long-run, thereby boosting our economy and proving to other countries that alternative energy is economically-feasible.
Overall, the fight against climate change is not an easy one and one that we cannot win without cooperation. Therefore, I implore us all to work together to encourage a more global approach to how we tackle climate change.
by Anurag Vedagiri
To whom it may concern,
Climate change has been a notable trending topic of disputation over the past half-century with each year slowly but surely growing increasingly warmer. Increased acidity in our sea, rising sea levels, and global warming have historically attributed absolutely no benefits to our society, hence it’s our duty of the present-day population to compromise and come to a solution to provide the future generation a world to comfortably breathe and live in.
Although we both agree on the damaging progress climate change has currently inflicted in our society, you believe that human activity isn’t centrally responsible for the ongoing climate change, whereas I do.
In addition to you believing that humans aren’t primarily responsible for the existing climate change, you instead believe that human activity in climate change poses little to no risk and thus no action is necessary.
I hope that I will be able to construct the basis of this letter to adequately show you the rationale behind my thinking and attempt for us to collectively establish a common ground to our catastrophic problem that is ongoing climate change.
To begin, the effects of climate change have been quite apparent in our everyday society such as the wildfires ravaging through the entirety of the West Coast, the constant gush of hurricanes concentrated on the East Coast and the rapid disintegration of the Arctic Ice Cap. The specific repercussions of these events have led to countless evacuations and many homes and lives senselessly lost in the short-term. I myself have directly experienced much of the effects of the wildfires that devastated California. For weeks upon weeks, I was unable to escape the compounds of my own home due to the excessively high air quality levels and blistering heat waves. I recognize and completely understand that you don’t believe that humans aren’t centrally responsible for climate change but I hope we can find an area of agreement in the future after you consider the events I lived through firsthand.
The consequences of climate change have been shaped in different forms such as increased atmospheric levels of dangerous greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. A study done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says, “rising CO2 levels are the result of human activity as opposed to gas coming off the oceans, volcanic activity, or other national causes.” Not to mention, a study done by climatecentral.org emphasized that methane heightened at an alarming rate due to “agriculture and fossil fuel production and is responsible for about one-fifth of global warming since 1750.” Fossil fuels have vehemently plagued our air and atmosphere in which it is encompassed, attributing to the 1.5 degrees (F) rise in global temperatures in just the last century! Although it could be argued that Earth’s temperature has largely varied within 5 degrees over the last 3,000 years, the important fact to note is that human-generated fossil fuels have only produced negative effects in our society.
It is agonizing to stray away from our everyday lifestyles and use of appliances but to make a better, cleaner world for our future generations, we must navigate away from the constant everyday use of fossil fuels. I recall that you believe that human contribution to climate change (fossil fuels) is microscopic and poses little risk, but I have presented evidence that might suggest otherwise. To meet at an agreement, I believe we could adopt newer technologies and regulations that limit the burning of fossil fuels. What does this mean? Well, this includes the switch to an electric vehicle, solar panels, renewable energy, and reducing trash and water waste. The electric vehicle is an example of an alternative to your gas-emitting car, solar power being a self-sufficient renewable resource that doesn’t have a carbon footprint, etc. Moreover, Gavin Newsom, our governor of California, has recently vowed to abolish gas-emitting vehicles by the 2030s in an attempt to reduce demand for fossil fuels and combat climate change. By being able to incorporate these technologies, we individually have allowed ourselves to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce costs, combat the growth of climate change, and thus pave the way for the next generation to live in.
Climate change, all in all, is a subject of controversy gradually leading to increased global temperatures as we the people butt heads to find a solution. Many of us have differing views on how to correctly combat or even if to care about the damage inflicted upon our sacred planet by climate change. Reading this letter from my perspective, I hope you understand my personal feelings about climate change and aspire we could come to an agreement that shapes our world for the better.
Climate Change: A Call to Action
To whom this may concern,
The topic of Climate Change is often viewed as somewhat controversial perhaps even one of serious debate. Although there may be various points upon which either side may disagree on, there is one outstanding truth that both sides must face, the effects climate change has on the future of humanity. To my understanding, there are two dividing arguments which go as follows;
1. Regarding the causation of global warming, you may not attest to the notion that human behavior is a primary catalyst in the overall matter as I would. It can be seen through the past 100 years how drastic the climate has changed; increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, etc. appear to coincide with the developments humans have made in technology and industry.
2. Aside from the reasoning as to whether humans are essentially responsible or not for the change in climate, is the decision of what can be done to diminish the permanent damage that global warming will have on Earth. I understand the opposing sides concern for the costs this may have on our current standard of living, however, I believe that the cost of not actively pursuing a solution will be far greater in the long term.
On the concept of how global warming came to be such a pressing issue in our world today, I believe it is important to obtain a broader view of global warming as a progressive matter than one that suddenly came to be. If we were to compare life a century ago to now, we would reach the identical conclusion that there is much more pollution and carbon being projected into the atmosphere in today’s time. The simple tribulations of traffic and lack of work go to show the underlying connection to our effects on the climate. Traffic is the direct cause of overpopulation meaning there is an abundance of vehicles polluting the atmosphere. A lack of jobs shows the industrial reliance on machinery which invokes serious consequences on the climate. Despite the possibilities surrounding the severity of human behaviors' contribution to climate change, we must reach the understanding that there is some form of impact we hold regardless of how small you may believe it to be.
According to Fabio Bergamins article “The Limitations of Climate Models,” it is understandable why the opposing side may be hesitant towards taking initiative. This uncertainty in the predictability of weather changes in the long term may assuage the need for immediate action but I believe it should do quite the opposite. Unpredictability in these models is precisely why we must come together to reach an agreement. If it is difficult to distinguish weather patterns currently in the short term we can only assume that the issue will become more prominent as we allow time to pass.
My purpose for this letter is to reach a common ground and hopefully create a compromisable solution for the benefit of humankind. Thank you for your time.
Greenhouse Emissions and Climate Change
by Mckayla Avels
A. The group I am addressing believes:
1. Human activity does not contribute to Climate Change. I believe society does largely contribute to climate change.
2. Climate Change is not an important topic because it's a problem for the future and not today. I believe climate change is something we are witnessing today and it is important.
b. To whom it may concern,
Today, there is a prevalent issue constantly being discussed whether it’s in your own household or on the debate stage for presidency, that is Climate Change. I believe human activity largely contributes to climate change and it is something we are witnessing today, while you might believe otherwise. Two major differences between us are:
1. We both believe climate change is true and may be a concerning topic. However, you might believe that society does not contribute enough to the greenhouse gases to a point where it causes climate change.
2. In the current natural disasters we see today, I see how climate change affects the disastrous outcomes. You may believe we do not currently witness climate change in the current events or natural disasters today, so it’s not as important of an issue.
Now, my point of view may sound like nonsense to you, but I’m just asking for you to consider some kind of common ground between us to find a solution that may be fitting for us both.
You may believe that humans do not have a large impact on climate change, maybe not even at all. However, I believe that humans do in fact have an impact. Our climate today is a result of the hundreds of years humans have added to greenhouse gases. You may think, how could my daily commute, use of Air cooling/heating units, or waste production have a big impact on the environment? Well, you’d be surprised to find that your carbon footprint is actually much larger than you thought. While these may contribute a small amount to climate change, there is a much bigger contribution that you may not be aware of, the Meat Industry. Almost every person in the world today, especially in the United States, consumes meat daily. What they forget to take into account is the imprint the large industry leaves by on the Climate. Livestock itself contributes to 20-50% of the greenhouse gases in the world. And as a “meat eater” your greenhouse gas emission is about 3 times higher than a “plant-based eater”. It’s common knowledge to understand that greenhouse gases do negatively affect the climate. So we can conclude that humans do contribute to climate change more than we think.
After taking my university biology class, I realized how large my carbon footprint is here on the planet, and it does in fact affect climate change. With this information, I decided to take on a more plant-based diet to cut down the service of the meat industry. I’ve found myself feeling healthier and even my bloodwork says so, it’s a win-win scenario. Here is also a resource to refer to and visualize the greenhouse emissions caused by humans relation to livestock, this may be helpful: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/17102019/climate-change-meat-beef-dairy-methane-emissions-california. This article shows how livestock is problematic with climate change.
Our second difference is that I believe climate change is visible and noticeable today. You might think that climate change isn’t something we are living through at the moment, but I can assure you it is. Think about the wildfires that are taking place today, compared to fires from just ten years ago. Scientists are saying that the wildfires today are much more damaging and occur in temperatures hotter than the plants used to be able to handle. They are becoming more intense and aggressive. This example doesn’t just apply to fires, it also applies to the hurricanes we see today that are much more damaging, and an increase in rainfall and flooding. Sources show that rainfall is 40% more likely and 10% more intense today than in the past. Take a second to think whether you’ve encountered or seen these examples.
This year, the state I live in, California, has been consumed by wildfires. And this isn’t the only year, it seems like this is becoming a yearly occasion and is turning into an expected event now. Unfortunately, I have seen before my own eyes the kind of damage these fires are bringing and how out of control they are becoming. In the past, we did not encounter these types of wildfires, and today many people are losing their homes to them and some people even losing their lives. My family and friends have been evacuated from their own homes and worry night and day during these seasons whether their house will be standing when they return. This is due to the fact that, 75% more forest areas are expected to experience a higher fire risk due to rise in temperature and vapor pressure caused by climate change. Natural disasters are becoming more intense due to climate change we are experiencing today.
In respect to the climate change we are experiencing, we may be able to find a common goal that is a middle ground for the two of us despite our differences. Making an impact can be hard for us, especially if we had to spend hundreds of our own dollars to contribute to climate change when other countries aren’t doing the same. An easy middle ground might be changing our diets and effectively decreasing our own carbon footprint. This is something much easier than buying a whole new electric car, or installing solar panels etc. A diet change can be a collaborative goal that many Americans and people around the world could partake in. Even by just cutting half of our meat or animal product intake could have huge positive effect on our greenhouse emissions that result in climate change. This would be an amazing project we could all work on together to see the outcome.
I hope you consider my idea to collaborate on this project, this can be a small first step to making a change in our world. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter despite our differences.
Humanity and Climate Change
To all of Humanity,
Climate change is a topic that is known but not too often discussed. It is obvious that our world has changed from what it used to be. Our world has evolved technologically and many advances in technology have had negative effects in our world resulting in climate change. I do believe in the fact that human consumption and human activity play a major role in the negative effects of climate change on this world.
Through decades we have seen the technological advancements humanity has created. We went from having coal operated automobiles to cars who run solely on gas. We have evolved in humanity but we have taken our world for granted and it destroyed it along with these technological advancements. Cars are not all that play a factor in climate change, the consumption of many things that draw energy does as well. Those who are against climate change may say that we blame humans yet they are not the only ones responsible, we can blame the combination and humans and their environment and production but humans are the majority that are responsible for production and consumption. Cars and big factories are produced to be used and operated by humans. We might not see the negative effects we are having on our world but if we are being honest we have seen changes over time that are concerning. Long summers and short winters, the article, https://climatechange.procon.org/history-of-climate-change-debate/ states that our temperature on earth has “increased 2°F over the past 100 years” which we can compare to the change and advancement in technology throughout the past 100 years.
Many people who oppose global warming will argue that humanity is too small of a factor to contribute to this increase in our temperature on earth and it may seem like that but small changes can cause long-term effects in the future. Right now this may seem minimal to many but we are slowly seeing the changes it is doing to our earth. We are losing ice at sea, bigger long term droughts, high rises of sea levels, the effect on rainforest. As the temperature of the earth rises, it creates a bigger window of opportunity for wildfires which we have experienced much of lately. All these factors into climate change and are caused by human activity and consumption.
Now you may not agree with what I have to say but we can agree that our world has changed, our plants have changed, our air quality has changed, our ocean has changed, our animals are becoming extinct and our human activity and consumption is rising and affecting our world. Of course, I am not denying that there are a number of things that cause climate change but I just happen to believe that humans play a major role in climate change. Now together we can try our best to stop and revert climate change. We can start with many things but the first has to be where we stop fighting each other on who is right and come together to see that our earth needs help and together we can help it, save it.
A Consensus on the Future of Our Planet
by Kevin Ho
1. The group being addressed disagrees on human intervention being a primary cause of global warming
2. They also disagree that we need to take riskier measures in reverting climate change.
As fellow inhabitants of this planet let us settle our different viewpoints and put a close to our differences by meeting in the middle. Let us agree that the climate is not quite been the same over the span of at least the past two decades. I am from Southern California and I can tell you that temperatures in the past half-decade have noticeably risen as we are experiencing lots of fires in the area. At the time that this letter is being written, there have been at least four days in the past two weeks where the sun and sky have been obscured with a thick body of smoke and orange glow from trapped sunlight. The ground and tops of cars are coated with ash and debris that make those in our area at risk for developing respiratory issues.
I understand that based on your location and the community you associate with, you may not agree with my stance that human industrialization is a large factor in climate warming. You may also be doubtful that we can revert Earth’s damage even by steps needed to ensure that future generations or other parts of the world need not suffer the consequences of global warming as I and many around the world have.
Climate is defined as a collective pattern of weather over a specified area. Therefore, the weather I experience in my area can vary from the weather in yours’s, the reader. Moreover, according to a study from Berkeley regarding feedback and evidence, just like how growing up in one environment can influence your upbringing and culture, it can also mold your beliefs. The takeaway from this study is that we are all human beings and we should do whatever we can to inspire change and to open our minds to new ideas.
Earth is suffering is self-evident. We see it in the news: the glaciers are melting, the incidence of fires has increased, and heat records in cities are being shattered. “Why is that a big deal?” you might ask yourself. According to NASA, while most changes in the climate have been shown to take “thousands or millions of years”, the last 100 years has seen an increase in temperature of 1-degree Fahrenheit. This implies that the climate has experienced change that would, under normal conditions, present itself in a longer span of time. The fact that the temperature of the Earth has risen 1-degree in this short time is a problem that cannot be overstressed. How will the ecosystems fare against the temperatures another 100 years from now? How many more animals will go extinct? How different will life be for humans under warmer conditions. According to the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, “CO2 accounts for about 76 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, methane… contributes 16 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrous oxide, mostly from industry and agriculture, contributes 6 percent.” What of the atmosphere in the future? In the next years, we might expect to see changes more alarming that 1 degree, such as a drastic rise in sea levels.
You may ask yourself the following questions: why should we trust the science behind global warming and who is to say that their data is accurate that they are being honest? According to a research conducted by Nature, normally rational people may feel trapped and pressured into beliefs based on the perceptions of an issue in their surroundings. One way in which we can all come to a consensus is to remove the negative stigma associated with holding a stance on the subject that is unfavorable. After all, we are all people, why should we blame each other when in fact the root of our differences is the ineffective method of spreading facts to communities. While you may still be skeptical of how much human interventions have furthered climate change, the time to act on global warming is now. Would you rather wait for the climate to worsen or revert it while we can? Why not use the resources we have to fund for eco-friendly projects that can overall improve the worsening state of our planet? We were able to raise over 1 billion dollars for the rebuilding of the Notre Dame in Paris, imagine what we could do to save the planet.
I appreciate being able to reach out to you. I hope that we can come to the agreement that we can do better for our planet, whether the main cause of it is due to human industrialization.
Reaching a Common Ground Regarding Climate Change
by Angel Velasquez
To whom it may concern,
It’s become prevalent in recent years, mentioning climate change is a recipe for disaster. As the political divide in this nation has grown wider, it is nearly impossible to openly discuss your beliefs without people blowing everything out of proportion. Though I think we all can say that information has been violently misused to gain public support, there are two statements I must disagree with that hopefully we can resolve. These being:
1) That greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere aren’t enough to impact the Earth’s climate and that the planet is capable of absorbing and recycling them.
2) There is nothing we can do to lower greenhouse gas emissions; that it’s too late to make a change and we just have to deal with our repercussions.
To answer my first point, it should be noted that the phrase, “the planet is capable of absorbing and recycling emissions”, it’s referring to a process called “carbon sequestration”. And although it is true that forests, oceans, etc. are capable of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, there are other greenhouse gases that we should worry about as well. Plus deforestation is still present today so people are releasing more carbon emissions at a rate faster than the Earth can handle. While carbon dioxide is by far the most prominent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, methane gas and nitrous oxide are more potent than a single carbon dioxide molecule. It’s also false that human activity releases fewer emissions than other environmental factors. Studies have shown that volcanic activity worldwide releases 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide daily, which is roughly 2% of what humanity releases. One instance of how society’s carbon emissions are a major factor in altering the climate was in California throughout the 1940s until the late 1980s. The smog emissions from tailpipes were considered to be the worst in the world, causing poor visibility and symptoms of nausea and discomfort. It wasn’t until Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit discovered the causes of photochemical smog in 1952 and the Smog Check program in 1984 where smog levels began to decrease. To reach an agreement, we must acknowledge that although human activity isn’t solely responsible for climate change, we shouldn’t negate it being a major factor either.
In regards to my second point, we shouldn’t belittle how consequential our actions are. If the state of California was able to pollute their air and fix it by altering their habits and machinery in their vehicles, then other areas around the world can do so too. Seeking more reliable and cost-effective sources of renewable energy can make a monumental contribution to healing our planet’s atmosphere. And while I agree that Americans shouldn’t be penalized for their carbon emissions from increased taxes, I believe there is a better method to reach our goal. We as consumers have the power to control the market; companies will make and sell what the people want and need. By demanding conglomerates to rely on green energy and produce more “green” products, other companies will follow suit. Already, corporations are realizing how lucrative the hydro, wind, and solar energy business is, increasing job availability for Americans. And for those still doubting that their involvement in lower their carbon footprint isn’t making much change, know this. The average person releases 20 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, most from using motorized vehicles. In heavily populated urban areas, by changing small habits like taking public transportation instead of driving a car, air quality can improve. Take for example the city of Sao Paulo, already they’ve passed a law to decrease their carbon emissions by relying on renewable energy, and bettering public transportation and waste management by the year 2050. I’m not saying we need to change our way of life. I’m well aware that for many of us, buying electric vehicles or solar panels isn’t an option. But I do the bare minimum just by doing simple actions like walking or taking public transportation to a nearby destination, recycling, and reusing plastics; just by this, I’ve reduced my carbon footprint. And if millions among society decided to follow along more frequently, already there will be a decrease in smog emissions, traffic, fewer recyclables sent to landfills and so much more.
In conclusion, I believe people shouldn’t be forced to change their way of life but should feel encouraged to do their contribution to bettering our planet’s health. Climate change shouldn’t be a topic we should be silent on, we must discuss our differences in opinion to come to a resolution. Hopefully, we’ve come closer to a common ground, but I’d love to hear about your point of view.
Lets Protect Our Planet, World,
and Future from Climate Change Together
by Ethan Kuan
To my fellow friends near and far,
Climate change is one of the most debated problems currently threatening the planet, an issue being argued by those who believe and don’t believe in its existence or consequences. Personally I do believe in climate change and that without immediate action to reverse its effects we will soon experience irreversible global repercussions. Around the world this can already be seen by extreme changes in usual weather, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels all of which have been scientifically proven to be caused or affected by climate change. There are two arguments that I think mainly contribute to people denying that climate change is real or that it is not a serious issue.
Firstly, there are individuals who purely do not believe that climate change is occurring due to one's beliefs. This can be due to religious or other personal reasons. I am by no means an expert at religion, but from what I have experienced many religions, at least in the United States, believe that climate change is a hoax and that the science supporting it is fake. Political positions can also cause individuals to deny climate change, especially people who are more conservative. People who live in areas that climate change hasn’t had a huge impact tend to reject its existence as well.
Secondly, some can still believe that climate change is happening, but it is not caused by human activity, cannot be avoided, and that climate change isn’t a major world problem. The most common argument is that the Earth is naturally warming up and that emissions like carbon and methane aren’t contributing to climbing climate change. It is true that during Earth’s geological history, there have been periods of warming and cooling, such as during the Jurassic period and the ice age, but by that logic Earth should be approaching a period of cooling down.
Although I share a very different stance than the groups stated, I believe we can find common ground in which both sides can come to an agreement. Regardless of religion, politics, experience, or any other reasons to side with or against climate change I don’t think that there are many people who would disagree in creating cleaner air. This way individuals who don’t believe in climate change can reduce their emissions without being forced to change their views. As for the second group specifically, it is jaw dropping that about 60% of American’s deny climate change or do not think that it is a serious problem. In the past 100 years planet Earth has risen about 1 degrees F, which doesn’t sound like much, but new research is revealing that if humans continue releasing the current level of greenhouse emissions we might reach the point of no return, of 5 degrees C, before the end of the century. I believe that if we educate these groups in the severity of climate change they can realize the threat it poses to our planet.
Overall I think there are many opportunities to work together to achieve a common goal that reduces emissions and other activities which have accelerated climate change, regardless of the individual’s position about climate change. For a few or for many, there is a chance to change their minds by educating them about how dire this issue has become and will be in the future if we choose not to act now. Together I firmly believe that we can all make a difference to protect our planet as we know it not only for the present, but for the future in order to secure a habitable world for all life to come. Thank you.
Is Human Activity to Blame?
To Whom It Concerns,
I know our world seems to move at a slow pace and that its changes are small, but unfortunately that is not the case. Climate change is a subject that is often briefly covered and then pushed aside. When asked to give an opinion about it the sides are strictly divided and it seems as if a spotlight is placed on you to see where you stand. However, I believe that climate change should be brought forth as an urgent topic and that no one should feel conscious of what others will think of their position. We must work together to protect the place we call home.
To achieve this, we must first begin with understanding what is causing climate change. While many may say that our human actions are not at fault for the global changes we are experiencing, I believe that our actions have directly impacted our environment. My opinions contrast with those that say our actions are not at fault in the following two ways:
1. Greenhouse emissions are not too small to change our planet's surface temperature. These gas outputs are due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation actions done by humans.
2. A majority of the carbon dioxide increase in our atmosphere is a result of human activities and not natural causes. Though most CO2 is recyclable, this type of CO2 is not as easily re-absorbed by “carbon sinks”.
I apologize if my claims above may come off as harsh or as accusations. This is not my intention and I truly want to collaborate to help our planet grow and not diminish.
In terms of our first conflicting view, I want to start by addressing what we do agree on. Earth has been changing and we both can see that from the 1.7 mm rise in sea levels per year to the declining snow caps in the northern hemisphere. We also both recognize that our planet's surface temperature has increased by 2? in the past 100 years. This increase is caused by a combination of factors such as environmental fluctuations and increasing amounts of methane and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
While part of these changes are due to natural causes, the increase of methane and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been linked to human actions. I understand that our own actions may seem too small to create such an impact, but scientific data says otherwise. For example, the National Centers For Environmental Information reports that the fossil fuels we burn get trapped in the atmosphere and creates the “greenhouse effect”. Fossil fuels are released every time we burn oil, coal or gas. It is critical that we acknowledge our burning of fossil fuels because we are continuously contributing to the warming of our planet. Over time, every emission adds up and I believe acknowledging our own impact will help us collaborate to take care of our planet and help sustain it.
Moreover, our second conflicting view above discusses the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere and how it is not fully recycled in the “carbon sinks”. I understand and agree that the carbon dioxide emissions from our fossil fuels can be reabsorbed. For example, Robert Monroe, writer for UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, presents data that 26% of the carbon dioxide emissions from our fossil fuels are recycled in the oceans in his article, "How Much CO2 Can the Oceans Take Up?”. I agree with you, this is a good thing. However, what about the 74% that is not absorbed and is collectively building up in the atmosphere? The 74% that is not reabsorbed is produced from our actions, our fossil fuels. This is alarming and I urge you to understand this so that we can face this emergency head on.
I would not be presenting our varying opinions in an aggressive manner if I wasn’t worried. I am truly worried for the future of all human beings. What about our children? What about the generations to come? Are we doing everything absolutely possible to ensure that our children will have the chance to enjoy the world as we do today? Or are we leaving them a problem that remains untreated and too late to fix? Climate change is an urgent challenge right now, what will it be like in 100 years? Will there be any earth left?
I hope we can discuss causes of climate change further and prepare a plan of action to address them. While I would like to believe that the earth causes these changes by itself, and it will fix them itself, I know that we can do our part as well. Let’s make these changes a priority and acknowledge our actions and do our best to change them.
by Justen Iglesias
The topics we choose and share with each other, has caused great triumph in many fields where we put our visions to the test, unfortunately, one very notice subject we do find ourselves constantly disagreeing on is climate change, with major factors being at play;
First, I believe we both can come to an agreement that the climate of our world has been continuously increasing for quite some time due to irreversible changes. What we seem to have trouble accepting is how you think human behavior hasn’t increased the rise of temperature in the past century, with industrialization being one if not the main factor.
Second, even though being able to predict the weather in certain parts remains uncertain, many believe that we do not have enough evidence to take further action to lower the increase of temperatures across the globe.
My hope is that this letter will be able to help both you and I understand each other’s sides, and be able to reach an understanding that will benefit each other as well as the further prevention of climate change.
In response to the first point that was stated, I don’t believe that we will be able to come to a 100 percent agreement on whether or not humans, more specifically industrialization, is the key factor affecting climate change, but there is a possibility for more people to be willing to consider humanity being the main cause, so that we may be able to better push forward with our future while being cautious of the actions made by industries as a whole. Many people choose to not be worried about climate change just because they acknowledge that the world is getting hotter and there is not much to do about it. This is a very bleak outlook to which many have accepted, although they should not because what is more concerning besides the increasing temperatures, is instead the rate that these temperatures have increased by since the past century.
If we choose to look at past data that has been gathered, the world as we know it has continually changed and become hotter with a minimum 4 degree Celsius change since the 1920’s; with drastic changes occurring from the 80’s moving forward. I believe the cause of drastic temperature change specifically focusing on the 80’s is due to the large amount of people being born, as well as moving to densely populated areas, further increasing the usage in certain areas around the world such as Asia and North America.
I never was one to push for climate change because of my ignorant beliefs, stating how the world will continue to get hotter, and at this point there is nothing we can do about it. But as I was shown through multiple websites, using the data they managed to construe to create a timeline, seeing the changes in temperature that were made across the world has not only made me concerned, but willing to speak up about this issue so that we as well as the opposing side, can grasp the harsh reality that our world is facing today.
Coming from California, where I was born and raised, many choose to vacation here, and even more decide to make this state their permanent residence; because of this, many areas have now become riddles with houses, traffic has increased creating carbon emissions, as well as because of the vast amount of people, more jobs must be made, creating more factories which leads to greenhouse gases multiplying in our air. Summer was always a season to look forward to, when I was out of school and did not have a care in the world. Due to climate change, each summer has become hotter than the last, rising easily above 100 degrees and hotter. Soon I may not be able to endure the harsh weather in California, and may have to move, forcing me to leave my family and everything I have ever known.
The second point that I had made chooses to look towards the claim of the lack of data as well as evidence which many people rely on in order to offer support and be willing to change. The other side makes claims that weather is very unpredictable in many areas around the world, and seeing how weather in itself is very unpredictable, we should not make such claims as to increasing temperatures. Although yes there is agreement across the scale that weather can be very unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, there still should not be doubt placed among anyone as to how hot the world has increased with an astounding amount placed on each decade following the next.
According to the NOAA 2019 Global Climate Summary, the combination of both ocean and land has increased at an average rate of .13 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1880, with the average rate since 1981 of .32 degrees Fahrenheit being more than twice as great.
Thankfully, we can possibly come to an agreement with climate change, and the possibility of lowering the overall temperature across the world. If we choose to contribute more money to data involved with climate change, as well as proving the effects that humans have had on our world, then maybe more people will be open to the idea of lowering climate change, and scientists will be more open to the realization of how much data has helped prove the increase in temperature due to humanity. If the lack of data is the issue, then helping raise awareness through more studies, can contribute to the realization of how much our world has been affected. After this then the word will be spread about how serious of a topic this is, as well as the need for contribution to take place within each home. WIth more people contributing towards the prevention of climate change by changing how they leave, and forcing factories to reduce their gases, and vehicles reducing their carbon emissions, we will be one step closer to leaving a healthy world for kids, as well as future generations. No matter what you may believe, it is not too late to offer help, as well as talk about what is usually unspoken. More people will continue to make an effort, which will help the world overall, and leave a healthier environment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter! I would thoroughly appreciate it if you would let me know how you feel about this situation, as well as if it was able to change your mind. Hopefully one day we might be able to come to an agreement, and move forward.
Climate Change Is a Danger to Everyone
by Elkanah Lane
To my friends in the Southeast,
I am writing to you regarding a topic that I think has the potential to form significant impacts on us all. While I know you have heard the statistics of climate change in recent years, the Southeast United States has not been so vastly affected by the trend of global warming. Therefore, I understand why you might not see the danger in it the way someone from California like myself would. However, in writing this letter I hope that we can find a common ground regarding two fundamental points. I am hopeful to gain your support on this important issue.
Firstly, climate change sometimes appears to have contradictory evidence and I know you have raised some valid questions regarding possible discrepancies in our data. I hope that I will be able to convince you that there is a concrete foundation of data upon which we can conclude that there are reasonable actions that can be taken.
Secondly, I know that you have voiced concerns over the cost effectiveness of plans to limit climate change. I do believe, however, that there can be ways to slow down climate change without putting a stop to the economy or greatly inconveniencing your everyday lives.
I understand why you might believe that there is not enough reliable evidence to make a decision on climate change. You are in good company. Fabio Bergamin writes in his article "The limitations of climate models" about how it is almost impossible to predict climate far in the future. While it is correct that it is impossible to perfectly predict all of the trends in climate due to its uncertainty, that does not negate scientific observations and the environmental trends that climate change scientists have observed. NASA did a study in 2008 that determined that in contrast to the steady growth of temperature that the Earth typically has experienced in the last 1700 years, the temperature has risen 1.5 degrees in just the last 50 years, which is much more dramatic than can be explained by normal environmental trends.
Still, I can imagine that if I had not personally experienced the brunt of climate change first hand, 1.5 degrees would not seem like a big deal. However, as you probably know, this year has been an atrocious fire year in California. At my own home, in the last month, I have been near five major fires, one which almost caused me to have to evacuate. I have not been able to go outside this entire fire season because my asthma makes it almost impossible to breathe with all of the smoke. The dryness caused by rising temperature was the catalyst that prompted the most extreme fire season in California history and evidence suggests that a1.8 degree increase would multiply the magnitude of fires by almost six fold and it terrifies me to imagine what would happen then.
But even with all this, is there any guarantee that us taking action would make a difference? Is it worth it? The best method most scientists agree on to slow climate change is the decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. The massive amounts of CO2 that is produced, especially by the United States, traps heat from the sun into our planet, causing much of the warming and ill effects. The question is how we as people can decrease this. In my opinion, the best way to address it would not be to raise taxes or force people to follow climate guidelines. The reality is that even though individuals have an impact, the biggest emission of CO2 is caused by large corporations and factories. Instead of raising taxes for individual people I believe it would be best to focus on partnering with large scale waste-producers. The United States could work with large corporations to exchange greener methods for lower tax incentives. This could also extend to individuals. Perhaps tax breaks or stipends could encourage people to make greener choices in their own lives. This of course is just an example, but I hope that it could offer an alternative to traditional plans that involve the raising of taxes and other expenditures. No plan will ever be without cost, but considering the rising cost of dealing with the natural disasters as a result of climate change, I truly believe that at the end of the day we will end up in a better financial position than if we simply continue as we are.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope that I have at the very least given you a new perspective to consider.
P.S. Below are some resources that I used in writing this letter in case you would like to learn more.
Let's Be the Change for Our Children
by Vy Nguyen
Dear my friends and neighbors,
I would like to write this letter today to talk about something that has been on my mind. With many political and social issues that are currently happening in today’s society, it seems that climate change is not on our priority list at the moment. I understand that these political and social issues seem to be much more important right now. However, as I am writing this letter right now, our planet Earth is consistently moving in the direction where our species can no longer survive. First, I understand that there are two opinions in which we are not on the same page about:
1) Through our own research and evidence that we have made for ourselves, I understand that you believe that climate change is not caused by human activity. Moreover, you are skeptical of what exactly is causing climate change today. Perhaps, you believe that the current climate change is a direct cause of the natural fluctuation of planet Earth.
2) Furthermore, I see that you believe that the costs and sacrifices made in order to alleviate climate change might be too costly or disadvantageous due to the lack of supporting scientific evidence of climate change, to begin with. Moreover, you also believe that it is an infringement on your constitutional rights if there are laws and regulations made in order to fix climate change issues in the United States.
Nonetheless, I will not bother you with the scientific facts today, instead, I would like to talk about something that I believe we all deem very important to us, family. As a family-oriented person, I live in a large family with my nieces and nephews, and we are dog lovers as well. This past summer, my nieces and nephews were cooped up inside the house all summer long due to the scorching heatwaves and unbelievably record high temperatures. Local officials advised that we should not leave the house in order to prevent heat strokes and further health complications in children and the elderly. As a result, my nieces and nephews were not able to enjoy their summer vacation running outside on the playground and having fun, instead, they were inside the house all day, bored out of their minds. I felt extremely terrible for them as the summer vacation was all they were looking forward to all year long. Moreover, our poor dogs were not left out of this situation either as we were not able to let them out for their daily walks because the blistering pavement would simply leave their delicate paws injured. My nieces and nephews spent their summer days unproductively watching television or playing video games, and our dogs became low-energy and lethargic due to the lack of exercise.
I agree that climate change has existed before man was on the face of the Earth, but the bigger problem here is not if the Earth’s temperature is rising or cooling, but it is the rate at which the explosive rise in temperatures is occurring in our lives daily. For instance, the planet’s average temperature has risen about 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, according to NASA. The ocean has not only risen at about 8 inches since the last century, but it has also absorbed this increased heat that the top 100 meters have warmed more than 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Furthermore, Greenland has lost about 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019, just to name a few. The changes might sound insignificant, but these incremental increases are adding up and the disastrous consequences are visible today. With the intense wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes that are already happening in the year 2020 alone, I am afraid that our nieces, nephews, and our future children will have to live on a planet that will be much harder to make habitable than the one that we are on right now. You and I are both individuals who care about our family deeply and want only what is best for our clan. Therefore, I hope we can come to an agreement that we should start listening to the Earth. I, myself, am inherently worried about my family and the future of my children. However, we can turn this around and start making small choices that can improve the environment, public health, and leave this Earth a better place for our loved ones.
I believe in enacting small changes that are practical and viable. As we are all living in a consumeristic culture today, our households tend to over-purchase our grocery where most of which end up going bad or going into the trash before they were even eaten. The amount of trash that each family puts in the landfill is insurmountable. The landfill releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide itself. Thus, we can simply start reducing the amount of waste per household by only buying what we truly need and know that we will finish. This solution will not only put out less waste in the landfill which decreases ozone depletion, but it will also save our money and help us eat healthier which in turn contributes to good health for the children. As I would like to say, this solution would tackle 2 birds with 1 stone!
As a collective community, I hope we can agree on making small changes to slow down the rising temperature of the planet for the sake of our family. I hope we can inspire our children and neighbors to alleviate this problem to create a safer environment for our children and future generations to come. We all live on the same planet, and we all want the same things. Thus, I truly believe that we can inspire each other to act together to ensure a safe and secure future.
I truly appreciate your valuable time in reading this letter and thank you for your attention.
My Take on Climate Change
by Christine Ortiz
To whom it may concern,
The topic of climate change has been debated time and time again over the years, resulting in a polarizing divide in the country. Although each side of the spectrum has valid perspectives on this issue, these are the reasons I believe that climate change exists and is a critical issue that should be addressed:
1. Even if it hasn't affected some of us in a very drastic manner yet, climate change has been experienced all over the world. However, our opinions differ when you believe that providing funding to solve or lessen this issue would weaken our economy and do more harm than good. I believe that providing funding to find a more efficient way to make energy without harming the planet would be worth it for everyone in the end, even if we have to spend money to get to that point.
2. Acknowledging that climate change exists, I believe that human activity plays a very big role in this issue. This is where both sides commonly draw the line in what they believe in, but in comparison to your opinion, I think that there is enough scientific evidence to prove the fact that we have contributed to this issue to some degree.
For my first point, I can agree that providing funding to combat climate change will likely cost a pretty penny. In fact, it would probably take around 750 billion dollars every year to do so. However, I disagree in the sense that it will weaken our economy. It can be agreed that the fossil fuel industry is a major contributor to our success, but finding a more sustainable and renewable way to produce our energy will benefit us, the planet, and the economy in the long run. As a general fact, in order to make advances in any subject or issue that we are interested in, like technology, for example, funding and global contribution have to be involved in the process. Without that funding, we most likely wouldn't be living our lives in such an advanced way as we do now. By not solving this major issue that affects us all, no matter what social class you are apart of, the economy will crumble just like our planet. Nevertheless, without a healthy Earth and atmosphere, there will be no economy to flourish and exist. The cost of how much it will take to combat climate change shouldn't be the issue that is prioritized, as everyone's lives are at stake if we don't take action.
Continuing on with my second point, most scientists and individuals like myself believe that human activity is a definite cause of changes in the climate. Although some may argue that climate change may be a natural process that the Earth is going through, we must acknowledge that the burning of fossil fuels has proven to have a significant negative effect on the Earth as it introduces a great amount of pollution to the environment. As a result, it has been concluded that the Earth's temperature has increased by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s. To be honest, this is extremely concerning for not just myself, but for the younger generations that will have to experience and deal with this issue first hand. I remember the times when I was younger, playing in the pool and breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sun's heat on my skin. Now those times have changed, as the air quality has significantly worsened due to constant fires and dangerous heat conditions. Will you be fine with your future children having to suffer the effects of climate change if things get worse? I believe that looking for a solution to this problem is the least we can do to make our lives better for ourselves and the future generation.
Overall, the most difficult thing about dealing with the issue of climate change is that there is no predicting what could happen if we take the wrongs steps. Data can only go so far as to what may happen in the future, so discussing this issue and trying to find a solution should not be discouraged. Even if our views on climate change may differ, I believe that each and every one of us can find a common ground as to what we can to do fix this issue. Whether or not you believe human activity is a major cause of climate change like I do, this is an existing problem we need to address. Yes, it will take some sacrifice as this is something we have never dealt with before. But in the end, we all share this earth, so doing our part should be our top priority for not only us but for a better tomorrow.
The Climate Change Conundrum
by William Phan
To my peers,
When climate change enters public discourse, many people have grown comfortable with grounding themselves into politically charged axiomatic positions that are not conducive to a productive conversation. Instead, the "debate" usually devolves primarily into each person's defense of their political position rather than the more critical existential issue of climate change. While I value those excited by their cause, we must listen and understand everyone's political position. Thus we should show respect to one another if we want to find common ground.
Even though climate change is a true existential threat, humanity faces other issues that should have higher priority, such as food insecurity, overfishing, and denuclearization. Nonetheless, my view differs from other climate change advocates because I also believe that:
1. Current climate models and projections have too much uncertainty.
2. The state should not legally mandate efforts on climate change.
Regarding climate change models, I have found that the models for climate change lose their predictive validity as it moves forward in time because of how factors are accounted for in the climate change models. This is not a knock on the issue of climate change. There are many variables in these models, but the measurements' unreliability magnifies over time. The measurement errors of each of the variables accumulate as the model projects outwards. Some individuals, such as Fabio Begamin, argue that having smaller time-scale models are not as useful because "the shorter the time-scale, the smaller the influence of the manmade trend." However, how can we convince others that we have a tangible effect on the environment if we cannot measure the positive or negative effects of anything we do right now? Therefore, we should aim to have better predictive models of climate change. Suppose we use these climate change models to determine which technological solutions are most productive toward us having a less of a environmental impact. In that case, we risk people becoming more hesitant to adopt new solutions if we couldn't accurately measure the effects of older solutions in the first place.
In addition to the shortcomings of current predictive models, imposing legislation or taxation to fight climate change could be detrimental to reducing environmental impact. While I believe it would be all in our best interest to reduce our environmental impact, not everyone can adopt the technologies that may be more conducive toward that goal. A few years ago, my father considered buying a Tesla Model S. However, the purchase was impractical at the time for multiple reasons (not enough chargers, electric cars were not well-adopted, and expensive.) However, as time passed, Tesla accumulated more capital and spent more money on its research and development. Tesla was not only able to produce cars with relatively the same capability as the Model S from a few years ago, but also Tesla significantly cut down the cost of their entry-level car, and the company still has goals of making its electric cars cheaper. I use Tesla as an example because clean technologies like Tesla are still in their infancy, and bleeding edge technologies take time to mature. The price for adopting new technologies is something usually only the rich can afford. The price for new electric cars can only come down as other car manufacturers compete to have a foot in the electric car market against Tesla. However, for many in the workforce, buying a cheaper car that runs on gasoline is more affordable and practical. Imposing legislation or taxation against cars that run on gasoline would only punish those who cannot afford electric cars. We should let the free market take its course and find a solution to our desire to have accessible clean technologies. This way, it is then more probable that everyone can voluntarily adopt the responsibility of taking care of our environment. Genuinely, I admire everyone who goes out of their way to take public transport or rides a bike in the name of reducing their environmental impact. However, it would be immoral for the state to mandate the adoption of these expensive technologies in the name of climate change when some people legitimately do not have means to do so and their livelihoods depend on fossil-fuels. If we want to win the hearts and minds of everyone, we cannot use force through legislation and taxation.
Fundamentally, climate change is a genuine existential threat. Still, we should aim to have climate change models with greater predictive validity to know which solutions we should promote for a cleaner environment and find ways that encourage the voluntary adoption of individual responsibility in stopping climate change.
To my fellow classmates,
Throughout the year of 2020, the world has been experiencing one problem after another, driving many individuals to disregard a major global issue that has been accumulating over the past century. This global issue centralizes on climate change. While some are consistently developing solutions to help improve this ongoing problem, there has not been effective action taking place because there are not enough people who acknowledge the harmful effects that climate change has put on our environment.
As the matter of climate change can be enhanced, I believe that human activity is essentially responsible for climate change. I can recognize why there are people who disagree with this claim.
1)Humans may be inclined to feel that if they were to take action or bring awareness on climate change, their time and energy would not make a difference and will have a very slight impact on the world because there are other countries who are not taking action. In other words, taking action involves a solidified plan that many are just not willing to commit to. With approximately 7.8 billion people on this planet, any single person can believe that many others who feel strongly about climate change are taking action, but that their work is not getting anywhere because if it was, then we would have seen improvements by now. Therefore, no matter how much people contribute to better this issue, nothing is enough to fully conquer it.
2)On Earth, natural disasters are going to occur, such as tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, heat waves, and etc. These major events have destructive impacts on our world and we cannot prevent and foreshadow the causes leading up to them. It would take years for individuals to establish a plan to stop it and can easily put them at risk. Most individuals would not consider climate change to be their priority daily due to work, family, school, and etc.
As I respect the opinions of those who disagree, however, I hope to encourage everyone to have hope that small contributions can still be essential while remaining considerate of both positions.
I want to raise awareness about the numerous lives lost and negatively impacted as a result of these disasters. Each year, approximately 160 million people are heavily harmed by these natural disasters, with approximately 90,000 killed. It is crucial that these numbers don’t rise as the years progress. Even though natural disasters are difficult to prevent, it is our job to do the most that we can to reduce external influences that may lead to not natural disasters, but the rise in temperatures.
Throughout the 20th century, the rise in temperatures have been quite extreme. Since then, temperatures have increased approximately 1.8F. There is a pattern displayed, as carbon dioxide and methane levels, as well as other greenhouse gases, are also increasing. This is an example of how an event pertaining to climate change can be caused by human activities. I understand that a contradiction to this claim can be that our planet can “conquer” or is stronger than these gas levels, however, our actions that we approach as “subtle” can be the first step in leading to other severe climate changes such as smaller fires, more droughts, and etc.
We need to keep in mind that natural disasters are not the only events on Earth that destroy our people and the environment. It is reasonable that humans aren’t the only ones to blame because we’re still learning and experiencing our world and nature, however, humans are capable of working together to produce an overall positive result. The problem is not that the efforts being made is not working; the problem is that it is not enough because not enough people are putting in that same energy.
People can employ certain habits into their everyday lives to help prevent climate change. People can oftentimes believe that hours of community service is required to stop this issue, but realistically, there is a large range of actions or contributions that you can make: both small and big. For example, every time you charge your phone or use a hair iron, unplug your cords so that they don’t take up energy. When using electronic devices, do not leave it on when not in use and shit it down. When completing your night routine, take shorter showers and do not let the water run for a long time before you hop into the shower. Reducing water waste is important and should be implemented by everyone because carbon pollution can be reduced.
In addition, other preventative acts that people should display is not leaving cigarettes out on a sidewalk or on the street because it allows carbon dioxide and methane to flow out. Because these two gases are the most dangerous and harmful, it can lead to severe air pollution. Think of yourself walking in a hotel lobby and all you smell is cigarettes. You may notice yourself coughing because of the air that has been exposed to these gases.
I’m currently living in an area where the winds are extreme and people in their households are being evacuated due to the fires occurring nearby. This is not good, as people are having to pack up their stuff last minute, hoping that they will be able to see their homes again. Trees are falling and parked cars are being blown, putting people driving and walking at heavy risk. Not only are the winds intense, but the air quality is poor, making it unhealthy to breathe and ingest the combustion.
Regardless, natural disasters are going to take place. We can’t control that especially because they can come at any moment. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t disregard and avoid this problem altogether. As it is not just one particular group or person’s responsibility to prevent this issue, it is critical to get as many people to remain attentive and aware. In addition, educating ourselves and others will allow us to obtain knowledge and the science behind these disasters. For example, a small fire can spread rapidly, but the cause of it could've been prevented. We can learn what causes fires and how to put it out safely.
Please be mindful of the actions you take in your daily life and consider making at least a small contribution to reduce climate change. It is understood why some believe that human activities shouldn’t be blamed because some events just happen naturally in response to the Earth. In another perspective, it is not our job to control other people’s actions. Therefore, no one knows what actions are occurring all over the world. Instead, we can speak up about how important preventing climate change is.
I hope that together as a team, we can integrate all these actions into producing a dramatic result. It is almost like adding up all these small pieces and to make one large piece. Every action matters because each one influences the next and becomes habitual.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter!
by Jannie Lao
Climate change is a topic that continues to be the center of discussion. With this, personal opinions from all sides are brought to light. True to this statement, I too realize how both of our views regarding climate change differ such that;
1) Our lifestyles are a leading contributing factor towards climate change whereas you believe that human activity is not significant enough to cause climate change.
2) It is important that we continue implementing new solutions. Aware of the expense, you view this not as a solution but instead as a waste of money.
Starting off with the first point, I would like to mention that I understand why you may think that we don’t affect climate change. When we witness nature’s true power, whether it be through the form of floods, fires, or even tornadoes, we realize just how small and almost insignificant we are in comparison. Because of this, it is hard to comprehend how our very mundane daily routines can actually affect the planet. However, we also must recognize that as our population of 7.8 billion continues increasing, so does the rate of global warming.
Fossil fuels can be found and are currently used in almost everything from electricity to transportation. Today, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reach approximately 417.1 parts per million (ppm). These levels have been reported as having been the highest for over the span of the past 650,000 years. Just to compare, before the Industrial Revolution the amount of carbon dioxide reached only an average of 280 ppm. From this information we can come to a realization that because each individual (or household) depends on these fossil fuels, that in the future, these levels are only going to continue to increase. In other words the temperature of the planet will be warming up much more.
Global warming directly affects all of us. With the weather constantly changing from warm days and colder nights I find my own body unable to catch up. It is easier to get sick now if you aren’t careful. The weather no longer matches up to their respected seasons. For instance, what may be expected of fall weather feels more like a summer evening. Outside my own personal experience, there have also been a large amount of wildfires this past year, affecting many families across California. What have your experiences been so far? When you look back, do you also notice how much the weather has changed?
This then leads me to my second point. Climate change is a very complex issue that cannot be easily solved in one go. It involves many different solutions that ultimately work towards reducing our carbon footprint. I agree that yes this is a process that will be a long one and will require quite a large amount of money. I also understand why you would be concerned seeing how overwhelming the situation appears to be overall.
However, I assure you that with a variety of options already implemented that we are doing what we can to help tackle climate change from both aspects. This includes planting more trees to help reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the air. Although we have yet to see the day where we no longer have to rely on fossil fuels, new alternatives such as solar panels continue to be invented. However these solutions alone are not enough. By investing more money and time towards larger projects we can expect to see a new emergence of our society. One that is more environmentally friendly and just as sustainable.
Year after year much of our money is spent recovering cities that were destroyed by the same tragedies that came from climate change. Soon after, new houses will be built but the families that once lived there will no longer come back. Even if you don’t agree with my perspectives about climate change, I still hope that we can set aside these differences and come to some kind of agreement. One that allows us to collaborate together. We can work towards a new solution and prevent future disasters from harming more people.
It is time for United Change
by Mary Rached
To whom it may concern,
Envision a world of people coming together and raising awareness on an issue that is posing a threat to the health and sustainability of our planet. Climate change is real and dangerous. It is a universal catastrophe that has negatively impacted the stability of ecosystems and the survival of individuals. It has taken a mental, physical, and emotional toll on those affected as it has disrupted the territories of plants and animals, decreased vegetation, reduced biodiversity, and jeopardized humanity. Human activity is indeed the fundamental cause of the drastic changes that we are physically experiencing in our day to day lives.
Although many may disagree with me, I believe it is of the essence that we respect varying opinions and reach an area of agreement in order to find a focused solution to protect the place we call home.
One may assert that the climate is changing due to natural causes such as shifts in ocean currents or changes in the Earth’s distance from the sun.
Another may contend that climate change does not exist at all depending on the individual’s class, status, and hierarchy.
While science presents factual information through concrete data analysis and an accumulation of research, it is not enough. Science by itself will not protect the future of this planet. Our daily choices and willingness to think collectively are key factors that will either facilitate positive results or inhibit them. For thousands of years, carbon dioxide levels have increased due to fossil fuels that have been burned by individuals, which produce electricity and power the vehicles that we drive. Rising carbon dioxide levels into the atmosphere are prompting the air temperatures to increase which is also resulting in the rise of sea levels. People are losing their homes, experiencing shortages in food and water supply, and coastal habitats are disappearing. As sea levels increase, storms and floods are also beginning to dominate the core of the Earth and it is our moral responsibility to address this issue.
While one may choose to undermine the complexity of climate change, the truth of the matter is that it is real and it is affecting all of us. The air we breathe is toxic and is causing many to experience respiratory complications. Denying climate change as part of your reality does not mean it is not part of other people’s world. Wildfires in Southern and Northern California are becoming more intense as more fuel is being dispensed into the atmosphere by human beings. Rather than adapting to biodegradable and eco-friendly products, companies are taking the cheaper route and relying on products that are made out of plastic. Many are hesitant towards investing in renewable energy because it is more expensive and unsuitable for those who do not have the financial means to afford it.
On a Tuesday morning, I woke up to a phone call from my aunt crying at the intensity of the fire in her home city, Orange County. In fear and worry, she immediately packed her bags and was forced to evacuate with her three sons and husband.The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing regions to no longer be habitable for both human and animal species. In the last century, the average temperature of the Earth increased by one degree, which explains the horror that people are both living and dying through. Therefore, if we do not alter our perspective, make sacrifices for the greater good, and take responsibility for our actions, climate change will dominate, more than it already has.
With all sincerity, I thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I hope that through an intellectual debate we can arrive at an agreement and work together to protect the future of our society.
by Nathan Alcantar
To the Prime Minister of Israel,
Over the past several years we've been able to discuss topics of concern as civilized as possible to come towards a position the both of us could share. However, I understand that the topic of climate change may be one of the situations where we have a multitude of strong opposing views.
1. For starters, it is abundantly clear that we both, myself from Mexico and you from Israel, have different views on climate change but we both agree that climate change is an issue that has been changing the world for the past several thousand years. However, you find it hard to come to the fact that human activity and even more importantly, industrialization, has been the primary factor in rising temperatures across the globe linked to climate change.
2.To add, our opinions on what actions to take toward this issue also differ in that my country and I believe that measures should be in place to help take steps in the right direction, even if the process is costly and we are uncertain that these measures are bound to work, there is still hope that we would be able to save our planet. While on your end you feel as though since climate change was not a man made issue and that man should not spend time and resources to fix it.
In relation to the first point I made. I understand that it can be difficult to determine what exactly has caused climate change to worsen as years go on. What we do know for a fact is that although, yes, temperature fluctuates all the time around us, the rate at which temperature has in fact been rising is alarming.
For instance, ever since the first ice age which occurred approximately 25,000 years ago, there have been substantial changes in climate and even in regular weather patterns that you would see in your own city. What really made this climate change situation real for myself was seeing how it's affecting my own country. Here in Mexico we have been experiencing millions of people being at risk of having an adequate supply of water, causing air pollution, and numerous amounts of flooding. I remember being able to go outside with my friends and play or go swimming without having to worry about breathing in toxic air or about having enough water to even fill up the pool. It's sad to say this because when we have children and they're growing up in this world that we created for them they won't have the same experiences as we did.
Ever since industrialization there have been a numerous amounts of gasses and other toxins being released into the atmosphere and the air we breathe. As times advance, more people are driving cars, people use air conditioners and heaters in their houses, people cook food, and there are so many factories at work producing products that people desire. All of these actions are using up energy and exerting bad gases into the air, ultimately causing the temperature to heat up creating climate change.
To address the second point, it may seem like there is nothing that we can do to help our situation. Or that we have gotten too deep into it for anything to get better. Believe me, I love the way our lives have advanced with all forms of technology and being able to drive where i please but it all comes at a cost that only recently became clear to myself.
There are many things that can be taken into consideration when discussing ways that can help our situation of climate change. For instance, set regulations in the city to turn off lights past a certain time or to not use them during the day and use natural light instead. Or we can try to fund the money for homes to run on renewable energy. Small actions like these, although it may seem as though they are so small, they can make a big difference. Trust me, I don't want to give up our modern life as much as you do, but I do believe that with the use of renewable energy and less reliance on fossil fuels that we can still live our lavish lifestyles.
You and I both know that climate change is affecting millions of people all over the world and even if it is not 100% due to human behavior and industrialization, that it is still a relevant issue that should be discussed because there is no exact say as to how much longer earth can handle this treatment.
I truly do hope that with this letter we are able to understand one another's positions on this topic and in hopes, find an agreement that we can get to work on to help this issue. Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back from you soon with your thoughts and hopefully discuss an agreement.