This post is late. I apologize.
The earth is very important. We live here. We get our food and water here. We play and work and talk and walk here. We are born here and we die here.
This all may seem quite obvious, but if so, why are we killing it? Why are we spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? Why are we dumping plastic into the ocean? Why are we cutting down entire forests? And why does this keep happening, even through all the warnings from scientists and climate activists around the world?
I realize that this topic is a heavy one for this blog. Evelyn Posts Stuff usually focuses on random unimportant things like psycho golden doodles, Star Wars, and coding Scratch games about bouncing molecules. But honestly? I have a blog. This is and important and urgent topic. I don’t know how many people actually read this thing, but I might as well post about something meaningful and try to help the world, right?
This week, the Student Blogging Challenge topic is Earth Day. An important (though somewhat overlooked) holiday that spreads awareness about the state of our earth and encourages eco-friendly living.
Every year when I was in elementary school, my school would have an Earth Day clean-up. The entire school would go outside and pick up all the trash in the grounds and surrounding neighbourhood. I don’t think they do that in high school. Though I guess I wouldn’t know, since we are all in quarantine and school is closed.
That is a topic for another blog post, however.
First, let’s start by identifying the problem. Problems. There are a few.
The ozone layer is being destroyed
The ozone layer is a layer in the atmosphere that is made of a gas called ozone. It’s purpose is to absorb the harmful UV light that comes from the sun so that it doesn’t get to earth and mess stuff up.
Here is a strange diagram that I made demonstrating the function of the ozone layer.
Unfortunately, holes are appearing everywhere in the ozone layer, thanks to man-made chemicals like cholorofluocarbons (wow that’s a long word). When there are holes in the ozone layer, this happens:
Sorry about all the messy diagrams.
This is one contributing factor in global warming. There are some more.
Pollution and greenhouse gases
Due to airplanes, cars, factories spewing smoke into the air, and cows farting, lots of gross gases are being released into the atmosphere. They all gather into big clouds that insulate the earth. This is creating something called the greenhouse effect. It traps all the heat inside the atmosphere, so heat can get in, but not out. I demonstrate the greenhouse effect in this other diagram. Last one, I promise.
Now we’re done. No more diagrams.
Sorry if all that was confusing. If you didn’t understand my strange way of explaining global warming, check out any of the links above, or this great one I found. The diagrams were inspired by theirs.
Now that we know what’s causing climate change, let’s take a look at some of the effects. This is going to be a depressing post.
The Arctic is melting
One of the most well known effects of climate change is the Arctic ice caps melting. When the earth heats up, the ice melts. This displaces so many polar bears, who have to swim for days just to find a little bit of ice to sleep on. I always feel so sad whenever I think about that. Animals are being affected just as deeply as humans, and maybe more so.
I found an interesting website that makes me feel very, very guilty. It’s called Shame Plane, and it calculates how many square meters of ice will be melted when you ride any plane from one destination to another.
For example, my family was planning on travelling to England, before this whole quarantine thing happened. That would have melted 8.7m squared for a round trip for just me. Multiply that by 4, and we have 34.8 square meters of melted ice on our conscience. Scary.
I’m not sure I really want to go to London anymore.
Sea levels are rising
Melting ice is causing sea levels to rise. The ocean is slowly getting higher and higher, and for some cities this could be a serious problem. I live on the side of a mountain, so I am less likely to be affected in the near future, but in places that are very close to the water, a few feet of water could flood a city.
According to the Natural Resources Canada projects, the ocean could rise 60-70 centimetres in Vancouver by 2100. This may seem like a small amount, but it actually could affect a lot of businesses and community space near where I live.
Air quality is low
With all the pollution that’s being spouted into the sky, the air is becoming kind of gross. There are all sorts of chemicals in the air which can be harmful for people’s lungs.
An interesting fact: since factories have shut down in Wuhan, China, the air quality has improved immensely! Additionally, no one is flying in airplanes, and the amount of car traffic has decreased too. Even though COVID-19 is so horrible, it may have a silver lining as well.
There are so many other things that are happening because of global warming. This post is super long and super depressing though, so I’m just going to make a short list of them.
- The earth is getting warmer (duh). It will become harder to grow food, and some places will even become uninhabitable.
- With deforestation, not as much oxygen will be released into the air, contributing to the air quality issue.
- More intense weather: hurricanes will be stronger, winters will be harsher, And droughts will be longer and drier.
I didn’t mean for this to be so hopelessly sad. I was trying to just present the facts as I learned them, but this still turned into a kind of dark post. Sorry.
Now, let’s make this a bit more hopeful and suggest some solutions! That would be fun, right?
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Don’t just throw stuff in the trash; think about it first! Can you recycle it? Or, even better, can you use it again?
Here is a great website with ideas for making crafts with items that seem like trash. I’m sure you can find lots of other cool uses for your garbage!
That sounded a bit overly cheerful. Sorry. I’m trying to compensate for the top part of this post.
Be vegetarian or vegan!
There’s a picture of a delicious veggie bowl my mum made when my family was vegan.
I have been trying to be vegetarian over the last few months. I have succumbed every once in a while (mmm, chicken) but I have found that it is entirely possible to live your life without meat and still be a happy human.
Vegan is even better. If you can be completely vegan, I salute you.
Being vegetarian or vegan is good for the environment and your health. A study showed that eating vegan could reduce you carbon footprint up to 73 percent, which is great! If only I could give up cheese. I’m sure I could if I put my mind to it.
Driving is not very good for the earth. Taking public transport – like buses – or biking, or even walking to your destination is a healthy and eco friendly solution!
I walk to school every day, even when it rains (which is often since I live in Vancouver). It’s nice to be outside, and it’s healthy for both me and the environment.
There are numerous other ways of reducing your carbon footprint. Turn out the lights when you leave the room, use reusable shopping bags and water bottles, reduce your food waste, and be conscious generally of how you’re living your life.
I don’t think that this post is as funny or sarcastic or colourful as my regular posts. It wasn’t meant to be. This post is meant to raise awareness about the state of our lovely earth and provide ways to heal it.
I’m thankful to the Student Blogging Challenge for prompting me to write this. I probably wouldn’t have thought to use this blog to do anything good, and probably would have continued writing stupid (though admittedly fun) posts about my trip to Oregon. This is good. This is a good change.
I apologize again for the lateness of this post. A whole week. Yikes.
Anyways. I have to go do homework now. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment!
Stay safe and healthy!