VALLEY’s Climate Change Update

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We can’t lie to you and say there isn’t anything worrisome about 75-degree weather in November, especially in central Pennsylvania, an area that is prone to chilly fall weather. On Nov. 8, 2022, the high for the day in State College was 78 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com . Students were walking to class in shorts and t-shirts as opposed to fall jackets and beanies.

It’s easy for us to think, “Wow this is great! It isn’t getting too cold yet, so we get to enjoy the warm weather for a bit longer.” However, it’s important for us to see this weather for what it is— unusual and concerning.

Climate change is a global crisis. It is the long-term shift of weather patterns and temperatures around the world and the biggest driver of this phenomenon is human activity. Burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) is a huge contribution to the climate crisis, but if humans were to make daily steps in their conservation efforts, our climate would have an extra layer of protection.

Scientists and experts say that it’s only a matter of time before our world reaches a ‘point of no return.’

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What’s To Come

Scientists at the Fraser Institute are concerned about the global temperature rising and claim that it’s only a matter of a about decade for our world to enter a stage where there is no going back. That is, on the assumption of future potential climate events rather than trends. Imagine: the year is 2035. Instead of getting our kids ready for school, we have the climate crisis and an uncertain future looming over our heads.

The common denominator of scientists’ assumptions about the coming ten years is none other than greenhouse gas emissions, which are guiding their research.

Greenhouse gas emissions are a side effect of burning fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the Fraser Institute’s research shows that humans activity is the biggest factor in the climate crisis and it’s up to us to make a difference.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency claims that coastal cities are some of the regions that will be most affected in years to come. Being that these cities sit alongside bodies of water, they face bigger risks of rising sea levels and flooding along the coast, along with heavy precipitaition. Unusual warm temperatures may also harm marine life and make being outside unbearable even in the traditionally cooler months.

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You may have seen the disturbing visual of what the tip of Florida could look like in the not-so-distant future thanks to climate change. Florida is a state especially at risk for rising sea levels especially in the southern part of the state. If we don’t do something soon, we can kiss those trips to Miami Beach goodbye.

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U.S. Climate Change Legislation

Climate change is not something most government officials are taking lightly. In August of this year, President Biden signed a historic climate change bill that was backed by scientists and climate experts. The Inflation Reduction Act will give $369 billion to climate investments throughout the next ten years, which will be critical in protecting our planet before it’s too late.

The legislation will cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, which will inspire other nations to follow suit, as the United States was once the leader in greenhouse gas emissions. The bill includes huge climate change research grants, hurricane observation machinery and high-performance weather computing equipment, as well.

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Easy Ways to Be Sustainable

Our government is taking big-picture measures to protect our planet, but what you do at home can make a huge difference. Here are some easy ways to make sustainability a part of your daily routine while at school.

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may want to consider using a reusable cup. Around the world, coffee drinkers use over 8,000 paper cups from Starbucks every minute, adding up to over 4,000,000,000 a year! Disposing these cups everyday only leads to more plastic pollution, so ditching your plastic cup for a pretty, reusable one is a great way to make sustainability fun.

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Shop at thrift stores! Everyone loves to snag a unique find at a thrift store, but you may not realize how important thrifting is to sustainability. Fast fashion brands are not only usually unethical, but burn harmful gases into the atmosphere to mass-produce their apparel as fast as possible. In fact, the fashion industry is a major contribution to pollution because of this. Many high-end brands engage in sustainable production practices, but they aren’t always in everyone’s budget, so thrifting is your best bet.

Democracy is a beautiful thing. Get out there and vote! Government officials take climate change very seriously and your vote can go a long way when it comes to enacting monumental climate change legislation into place. Let’s protect our planet together, one step at a time!

How do you incorporate sustainability in your everyday life? Tweet us @VALLEYmag and let us know!

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