Time to Turn Over a New Leaf

Implementation of the Green New Deal is essential to combat climate change and ensure the health of the planet

Rebecca Suku, Business Manager

Climate change is one of the most prominent issues of our time and it is integral that we take major action immediately to combat it effectively. Dire consequences loom over us with every step we take while choosing to ignore climate change in the name of lack of relevance or cost.

Recently, a “climate clock” was placed in New York City with the purpose of bringing awareness to the urgency of the current situation. According to Forbes.com, the clock shows the amount of time left to considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to have a 67% chance of keeping the planet under 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. 

Experts predict that 1.5 degrees Celsius is the maximum temperature of global warming we can reach without facing irreversible environmental damage. According to Nasa.gov, the effects of climate change are clearly displayed based on technological data scientists have gathered about rising sea levels and the global temperature, declining Arctic sea ice and snow levels, and the increasing occurrence of natural disasters. 

AP Environmental teacher Lynn Martens said although we don’t take accountability for it, humans are by far the biggest contributors to climate change, with airborne pollutants and the CO2 buildup trailing behind.

“A lot of people argue that the Earth goes through cycles, and glaciation and then back to warming anyway,” Martens said. “Yes, it does, but not like this.”

Our individual human fingerprint on the environment is often brought up when discussing climate change. Although it is definitely beneficial to adopt sustainable habits and limit our waste outputs, where real reform is needed is the power and methodologies of big industries. It is imperative that federal action is taken against these industries to place restrictions on the emissions they can release. Senior Jordan Hunter said climate change is mostly affected by the transportation and electrical industries and the fossil fuels they burn in these sectors. 

“This is a global issue and needs to be prioritized as one,” Hunter said. “That means governments, countries, and continents are going to have to stand united, despite their differences, in the battle against a rapidly changing planet.”

The Green New Deal, crafted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts in 2019, is a major proposal that provides an intensive plan on how to tackle climate change. The Green New Deal strives to solve economic inequality and poverty, in addition to replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. Sophomore Jared Barber said the Green New Deal is pretty much a win-win situation because it will positively affect numerous aspects of society. 

“I believe the Green New Deal would benefit the Earth immensely,” Barber said. “By converting businesses and people to a more efficient, healthier source of energy, new jobs will be created, as well.”

Martens said the Green New Deal will help facilitate awareness of the issues at hand and restrict industries from abusing their power. 

“I would say it’s going to hold people accountable to a level that they’ve never been before,” Martens said. “It’s just multifaceted and what it’s going to do is shift our society and economics into the position that they need to be in for change to occur.”

A common opinion held by opponents of the Green New Deal is it’s not feasible because of the extremely high cost. According to Businessinsider.com, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that the Green New Deal will cost at least 10 trillion dollars, which came across as a shock to many. Hunter said the Green New Deal is a necessary initiative because the cost of the repercussions caused by climate change will be unimaginably harder to bear. 

“I think a trillion dollars is worth knowing your children will grow up without destructive water patterns, rising sea levels, and food and water shortages,” Hunter said. 

Senior and President of the school’s Environmental Club, Subhan Jamal said the Green New Deal should be implemented immediately because there are already visible signs of danger as a result of limited action being taken. 

“We’re going to have to deal with all sorts of natural disasters, which we are even seeing already with the wildfires in California and more hurricanes each season,” Jamal said. “These disasters have already started to come and we have started to pay that price already.”

It is important that we educate ourselves about this topic, and take as many steps as possible to help reverse the effects of climate change and restore the ecosystem. By enforcing the Green New Deal and further federal action, we will be closer to creating a safer and healthier environment for future generations to live in. Advocating for change and realizing the utmost importance of coming together and enforcing worldwide sustainability is key to preserving our planet and ensuring that its beauty lasts forever.