Consider this: Climate change

Reed Harris

First, I would like to congratulate all our Rochelle Township High School Hubs football teams for the efforts they put into this season’s games. I am so proud of them and for the varsity team making it to the quarterfinals. From what I’ve seen this year, we have many more years of victory ahead.

It appears that there may have been a big hint during our recent election that climate change means a whole lot to many young people in this country. As well it should. As the climate changes, and in my mind deteriorates, we have a silent ultimatum to do something about it.  Though we have taken some steps to see improvements be implemented, we have a long way to go.

I have heard from many people that the changes to the climate we have seen are normal. It may surprise you to hear that I think this is correct. So, let’s try to imagine what normal is. If you feel that our planet is as special as many do, you may also feel our Earth will try and correct anything that is abnormally occurring. When it is occurring on a massive or accelerated basis, then dramatic changes in weather may occur. It is normal then, that the Earth tries to correct itself.

So, we should ask ourselves, are these more-destructive weather occurrences due to massive or accelerated events? If they are, what do we consider these events? Is the removal of life-giving trees one of them? Trees remove up about 30 percent of the carbons produced by industrial manufacturing. As the number of trees decline, carbons in the atmosphere rise.  Though this is a small number, why would we want to keep cutting forests without somehow replacing them, a long-term correction, or adding another type of absorption process?  This, of course, is a human factor, along with increasing outputs of carbon from manufacturing.

Do we feel that our overuse of water qualifies for one of these major events? When we overuse water, there can be many effects that follow. A big one is the reduction of peatlands. These are one of the largest of carbon absorption methods and outweigh the forests in carbon reduction.  As we use more and more water, the surface water becomes reduced and the ability of peatlands to survive is diminished. Don’t let the difference between ground and surface water confuse you. Both are required in everyday use.

In the same way, the use of water for crops reduces the amounts of water we have left for other uses. Some crops like almonds are highly water-intensive. Some manufacturing methods are water-intensive in the same ways. At least with farming, new crops are being developed to allow for plant growth using less water and thereby allowing survival even in drought conditions. The use of water is another human condition.

Climate change was once referred to as global warming. Many said that the weather wasn’t feeling warmer where they were, and many said it seemed colder, not warmer. Well, it wasn’t called positional warming, always global. But climate change is a much clearer term so we should use and stick to that.

We should also remember that climate change is a normal thing. The Earth doing what it can to repair itself. Of course, the more we ignore the causes for these repairs, the more repairs Earth is going to make. It can’t help itself. It must survive, even if it means we might not. We may have done more than we should have already. Let’s hope that this isn’t true. Let’s also hope that our children can correct these problems we have given them.