Reasons to be Optimistic Bring on the 2020s

January 13, 2020

Dear Editor:
The global atmosphere is being altered; the climate is changing. It has changed in the past and will change again in the future. The temperature and weather on this planet has and will fluctuate. Fortunately for the last 10,000 years, the atmospheric conditions have been ideal for the current biodiversity and have allowed humans to be at the top of the food chain.

The climate change now, though, is putting our human lifestyle at stake. Carbon dioxide and other known greenhouse gases are the reason for the increase of heat energy within our atmosphere. Human desire for energy through the combustion of fossil fuels (carbon-based fuels) is the main contributor towards the increase in carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases.

Optimistically, when we focus on the root cause, human’s desire for energy, there are plenty of alternatives. We have solved many self-imposed environmental problems in the past: ozone depletion, endangered animals, land and water contaminations. Reality is when we focus on the problem and create alternatives that provide us with what we desire and eliminate the dangers; we can solve enormous environmental problems.

The reason the 2020s are especially optimistic is the true effects of climate change are becoming a reality. Unfortunately, in the past, the simple threat of climate change was not enough. In 2000, not even Al Gore would speak of climate change for six more years. By 2010, only a few of us were willing to admit climate change was eminent and deserved serious attention. But today in 2020, most people are realizing climate change is affecting their lives through more intense flooding, the frequency and strength of the tornado and hurricane activity, the lengthen and increasing in the summer temperatures, along with numerous other negative effects.

serious as these problems are the solutions begin with education, another reason to be optimistic. The millennial generation has grown up knowing the inevitability of climate change. They have heard about it in the daily news and have been educated on the complexity of the topic in school.

This is a stark change from the education Generation X or Baby Boomers received. Climate change was not taught in schools until the turn of the century. Now it is a Performance Expectation within all the sciences. Today’s students understand the need for energy and its importance within our modern society, but they also realize there are alternatives we need to embrace before it is too late.

This is not a proclamation of doom and gloom, but rather a declaration of hope and opportunity. The climate is changing in disastrous ways, but over the next decade this problem will be addressed. Much like the depleting ozone layer in the 1990s, the endangered species of the 1980s, the DDT crisis of the 1970s or the contaminated water ways of the 1960s, once these problems are given the attention they require, compressive solutions soon follow.

The 2020 decade begins with more people informed about the realities of climate change. Many of us have personal experiences with some sort of “normal” natural event that has been “intensified” due to climate change. Here in Michigan, we don’t need to look any further than the extreme variation in seasons for evidence. Optimistically, it is through this universal concern of self-preservation and desire to remain at the top of the food chain that there will be more commitment and innovation towards solving the root causes of climate change.

Andrew J. Frisch
Science, Mathematics, STEM teacher, FHS

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