Get involved, slow climate change

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Young group of teenagers activists demonstrate against global warming.

Jack Baudoin, Columnist

Global warming’s effects are encroaching closer to home more than ever before. People need to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint in order to combat climate change’s destruction. 

Strong winds linked to global warming around Lake Erie are causing water with low oxygen and high phosphorus content from deeper in the lake to be mixed with the rest, according to FOX 2 Detroit

Not only do the extreme winds harm the water quality of the lake, but they are also a hazard for the fish that call Lake Erie home and the insects they call dinner. The harsh winds may affect the rest of the Great Lakes as well, according to the researchers studying the phenomenon detailed in the FOX story.

These ecosystem-disrupting winds could cause huge problems for Lake Michigan and the people who depend on it. The lake is the source of water for Chicago, according to Tapp Water, a company that creates tap water filtration systems.

“Obviously, the water that gets consumed goes through filters, and there are some plankton that can cause illness,” said Reed Scherer geology and environmental geosciences professor. “If there are more particulates in the water from algae, then cleaning and filtering the water will become much more difficult.”

Lead scientist of the study described above Josef Ackerman said these strong winds have increased by 40% in the last decade. 

The hottest years on record were 2020 and 2016, according to NASA. Global warming has been an issue for decades, and it’s only getting worse. The fact that it is now conclusively affecting a lake and state so close to our own is cause for even more concern. As the species that has caused the problem, it is up to all humans to do their part to rectify the situation and help the planet heal itself. 

Not everyone is an environmental scientist; however, there are many easy ways one can reduce their carbon footprint in their daily lives.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to cut down on car usage. Going without a car for a year could reduce about 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide, according to a 2017 study by Lund University and the University of British Columbia. While cutting out cars completely may be unrealistic, limiting car usage will still drastically reduce the amount of carbon emissions that they create in a year.

Another easy way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to reduce meat intake. The livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of man-made greenhouse gas production, according to State of the Planet, a blog by the Earth Institute at Columbia University. While it might be hard to say goodbye to burgers for some, not eating meat for a year will reduce one’s carbon footprint by 2,920 pounds— a rate of eight pounds per day.

Reducing one’s carbon footprint is also an opportunity to liven up one’s wardrobe. Americans on average throw out 80 pounds of clothing per year, per person, according to State of the Planet. Most of these clothes end up in landfills, so donating to and shopping at local thrift stores is a great way to save the planet while also possibly saving one’s fashion sense.

“The best thing that any individual can do is to convince the leadership that makes the decisions,” Scherer said. 

Global warming affects everyone on the planet. Last year was the hottest on record and its effects caused water quality damage at nearby Great Lakes. These effects should be cause for concern, and everyone can do their part to lessen their environmental damage.