Written by: Maura Leaden ’16, Staff Writer
Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-awaited Oscar’s acceptance speech took many viewers by surprise when he decided to dedicate it to the harsh reality of climate change. He purposefully used his limited time slot as a call to action for all those listening.
In his speech, he opened the eyes of his listeners by reporting that 2015 was “the hottest year in recorded history.” He continued by saying that the production for his new movie, The Revenant, “needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.” This issue is relatable for all of us in New England, where we hardly had any snow this past winter.
Even if our lack of snow this year was most likely due to El Niño, and effects of climate change are threatening multiple aspects of human life, in addition to the more drastic tolls it is taking on animal life. (According to CNN, El Niño is a change in weather caused by the warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean along the equator. It occurs every two to seven years.)
Perhaps the scariest side effect of global warming is sea-level rising. National Geographic provided important, startling information. Due to a combination of the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, and ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica, scientists have estimated that by 2100 (84 relatively short years away), the sea-level will rise between 2.5 and 6.5 feet. (Imagine the entire ocean rising by one whole you, as most high schoolers are approximately 5 to 6 feet.) This means losing parts of our coasts, and even some islands – they will be swallowed up whole. Couple loss of land with the world’s increasing population, and we have a major problem.
The following claim is frightening. According to The Nature Conservancy, “experts predict that one-fourth of Earth’s species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate.” We can see how quickly our world is about to change if we do not pay more attention to it.
To conclude, although we are unable to control mother nature, we can try to aid our planet by conserving our resources and preventing pollution. Otherwise, we are only intensifying the otherwise natural fluctuations in the earth’s temperature by rapidly polluting and destroying our planet. This cause is so important that even big-name celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo have drawn attention to it in their Twitter bios.
Here are some small ways that you can try to help this process of protection: drink from a reusable water bottle, avoid using your car’s air-conditioner frequently, unplug your chargers when you are not using them, don’t waste paper, buy local produce, and get informed. Good luck!