Where’d the snow go?

Climate change and its effects...

March 6, 2020

Let me start off by asking, where did the snow go? We’ve all been waiting for the time to wake up in the morning, get ready for school and hear your parents complain about how slippery the roads are, with a fresh cold layer of snow on the sides of the roads. We’ve been waiting with anticipation to throw ‘illegal’ snowballs during school, but will this day even come? Climate change is an issue that has been increasingly popular over the years due to the disasters it has caused. I’m not here to tell you that everything we’ve done is bad, but I’m not here to tell you that everything we’ve done is enough. Yes, our whole generation is doing more than most could ever imagine, but is following Greta Thunberg in marches, promoting a vegan lifestyle, reposting about the natural disasters on Instagram and all the other ways we try to promote climate change enough?


The key term in all of this is promotion. Our generation has been an important actor in increasing awareness of the consequences of our actions, however, is simply promoting enough to help stop climate change? I’m not saying that nobody does anything, because I know that multiple people are actively trying to help save the environment such as eliminating single-use plastic, using more public transport, and even becoming vegan. I know our generation is trying our best but it isn’t enough until we get the older generations to join us in fighting this war.


We’ve had tremendous improvements to the battle, but over the past couple of months many disasters have still been happening. For example, for the first time ever on record Antarctica’s temperatures have been higher than 20°C. The previous highest recorded temperature was recorded in 1982 and was 19.8°C. Usually, temperatures in Antarctica are steady but over the last couple of years this has changed drastically. This temperature increase is happening all around the world, even in our own ‘cold’ Switzerland. Finally last week we had our first couple days of snow but this was the first time in the past winter to have snowmen worthy snow. Our winters aren’t getting shorter; they’re becoming non existent. Imagine having a winter without any snow. Seems impossible right? Well, the chances of this happening are quite high. The universal goal of making sure our global temperature doesn’t go above 2°C seems unlikely especially after the US withdrew itself from the deal. In order to achieve this goal almost all nations would have to work together to decrease their carbon footprint massively. 


One of the worst consequences of climate change that has impacted Switzerland was our shortened skiing vacations; however, Australia has had far worse compared to us. There have been multiple natural disasters including droughts, bushfires, extreme heats, heavy rain, and many more disasters. Due to all of these disasters, over 18 million hectares of land has been destroyed, at least 28 people have died, 3,000 homes have been destroyed and about one billion animals have been affected. All of this has happened since last September. Australia has pretty much turned into a place of chaos. However, Australia isn’t the only country drastically suffering from climate change. As most people know, Antarctica’s ice caps are melting at an increasing rate. Last month, an ice piece almost the size of Atlanta broke off a glacier in Antarctica. This piece was over 300 square kilometers and was located in the western region of Antarctica. According to NASA, the area holds enough ice to increase global sea levels by 1.2 meters. If more of these ice caps melt, everyone is impacted, even more than we are now. 


I know you’ve all read a thousand articles about how important it is to take action against climate change, and of course every little bit counts, but will this ever be enough? Is going to climate marches (and missing school) really the answer to the global climate change problem? I believe that solving the climate issue involves multiple steps. The first step is noticing and researching what it actually includes. I believe we’ve done this very well as there are multiple institutions and organisations continuously researching about what we can do to stop climate change. The next step is promoting the issue and making people aware of the issue that we face. This is what we’ve been doing for the past couple of years, which is amazing as I’m sure that everyone has now heard of climate change. The next step to solving this issue is actually taking action. This may be the most important yet hardest step. We can encourage our parents to drive less, use less plastic and recycle. Even though it may seem like small actions, every little step counts!


Now is the time for us to take action and move on from the promoting stage in order for the issue to actually be resolved. We can keep going to the marches, continue sharing and reposting images of disasters on Instagram, but it won’t change anything. Everyone knows the state our earth is in right now, so it’s up to us to decide whether we can resolve the issue that thousands are denying to be true. 

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