In case you haven’t heard, Earth has been going through climate change. Our carbon footprint is speeding up the process, which is leading to devastating effects all around the world. Sea levels are rising, warming, and becoming acidic, leading to severe coastal storms, flooding, and dying ecosystems; wildfires are appearing all around the world, destroying everything in its path. Terrible things are happening on the only home we have, yet we still aren’t taking care of it to the best of our ability. Do people not care? Or maybe people aren’t aware? I interviewed a few of my fellow students and staff at Century College to learn about their thoughts and opinions on this issue.
Kiley Garvey, 18, believes people don’t care enough to take action because they simply don’t like change. “When people get into the groove of doing things day to day, they don’t want to change that,” Kiley states. She thinks people can do the simple things to start out, like her family gardens, recycles, reuses items, and they try to avoid plastics. She also thinks huge corporations need to start taking action. “Major companies need to change what they are doing: stop polluting water, stop using plastics, etc.” Kiley declares. She says another big issue is air pollution with eating animals. She states, “It is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution and most people refuse to cut out meats, or even just cut back.” Kiley thinks we need to make people more aware of the situation we are in and what will come of it. “People think we have more time than we do, which we really don’t,” she said.
Kevin Nguyen, 19, says he thinks climate change is happening and that he can see it happening. He admits to not changing his ways. He says it’s not that he doesn’t care about the issue, he just doesn’t think about it. “It is just more convenient, for example, to get the plastic grocery bags at the store, than bringing your own reusable one,” Kevin confesses. He thinks it would be helpful to see more pictures and videos of what is happening. “I think more visual representation on the media would help a lot of people, including myself, really know what is happening around the world. Social media is a great resource,” he states. He recalled a time when he did see something on social media that really stuck with him. “I saw these pictures and videos of this beach covered in trash and it really caught my attention,” he said. Kevin claims he’s just not that aware of it but seeing more stuff in the media would really help.
Madison Warren, 19, tries to do all the little things she can to help with the environment. Madison has multiple reusable items like a water bottle, Starbucks cup, a straw, and grocery bags; all of which she got very reasonably priced, which allows her to save money in the long run and help the planet. Every time she uses her Starbucks cups, she receives ten cents off her drink! Madison tries to do the little things because it makes her sad when she sees the way climate change has affected the planet, like the dying ecosystems. She expresses other people don’t change their ways because they don’t like change and it is hard to get into a different routine. “Maybe it’s not that people don’t care, but they just forget. I know I don’t remember to do the little things every day,” Madison acknowledges. She adds maybe if it was put out in the media more, it would remind people and make them more aware. “I don’t really see it on the news or social media, maybe every now and then, but it is such a big problem it should be talked about more,” Madison notes. She concludes with, “Just do the little things: reuse, reduce, recycle. We can all make a difference together.”
Analise Gallath, 20, thinks we need to be starting the conversation more. “People aren’t necessarily willing to learn, we need to make people listen and hear what we have to say,” she states. Analise thinks there are multiple reasons why people don’t care enough to change their ways. She said people may not be aware or they may just think it’s inevitable. Analise and her family try to do what they can to help. For example, they garden, recycle, have a food disposal, utilize reusable items, and flood their hockey rink in the winters. She adds, “The hockey rink may not sound important, but when the water levels are low, it gets higher because of the water we are adding. Even though it freezes, it adds a little bit every time.”
Mark, 28, thinks climate change is incredibly important and does what he can to help. Mark and his wife recently got someone from their energy provider to come to their home for free and make it more energy efficient. They switched out lightbulbs and upgraded their air and electricity. They also have done a few trash cleanups and little things like using reusable items and staying away from straws. Mark thinks that people don’t make these changes because “They don’t feel as one single person that what they do is really going to make a difference, but if a lot of those people do make that change it will make a difference.” He also adds, “Change is very difficult and people just don’t like it in general, but maybe if people knew the impact and what was actually happening, they would be more open to changing their ways.” He suggests being more open and transparent by giving real life scenarios and making it more personal would make people care more. He also gave an example, “Even just by saying ‘this population of this species is diminishing by x percent because you’re doing this or using that’ would make a big impact, making people realize more of how their actions affect the planet.”
Haley Juehrs, says she thinks climate change is happening. “We are always kind of going through climate change, we don’t always realize it because it usually takes 1000s of years before we see the progress,” she explains. “It’s just a natural cycle the planet goes through, we just help it along.” Haley and her family are huge into recycling and conserving energy. She notes she’s very conscious for how long the water runs and which lights are on. Haley thinks other people may not care about climate change because it is just easier not to. She says, “People think that it is happening, but they think ‘well what can I do about it?’ So, they just don’t do anything.” Haley points out people wouldn’t think that way as much if they were more educated about the situation. “Education is the number one,” she states. “We need more information. People either aren’t getting it, or they are getting the wrong information.”
Joe Osborne, a Century College professor in the science department, explains that “Climate change is something that’s not totally well understood.” When he elaborated, he talked about how a lot of scientists out there are only looking at data that is more modern and not global change over long periods of time. “To collect weather data and talk about climate change based off data that goes back 150 years, but yet talking about Earth changes that take millions, if not 100 of millions of years, I think there is a little disparity there, that you’re making claims sometimes that can’t be completely substantiated,” he explains. Joe believes climate change happens, but at the same time the Earth’s climate has been changing continuously since day one. Joe thinks that to fight climate change, the most important thing is to lower our carbon footprint. Joe has a long commute to work, so he bought a much more efficient car with a smaller engine, which cut his gas usage in half. So, he is saving money and helping the environment! Joe thinks most people won’t change their ways because people aren’t really concerned about the long-term goal. “It’s easy just to sit back and know you’ll be dead before any of this matters, which is not the best attitude to have,” he declares. He thinks we need to make people more aware of the changes that can happen. Reducing industries pollution and the amount that they contribute, which will require new engineering and cost. He points out to make progress it’s not going to come cheaply, and we will have to make sacrifices and change the way we live, but he thinks it can be done in a way that is beneficial for everyone.
Climate change is a rising issue, and it is important we take action. Our planet is having serious effects because of our carbon footprint. If we take more environmentally friendly actions, we can slow the rate at which the direction our planet is headed. We are part of the problem, so we need to be part of the solution. Do the little things: reuse, reduce, recycle. Together we can make a difference. Do more. Care more.