To Fix Climate Change, We Must Hold Those in Power Accountable

Opinion

Damiyah Watts

When I was little, I didn’t want to think about the fact that the earth could die, and we too would go with it. When I first learned what climate change is, I would ask my mom why we didn’t have solar panels. Sometimes I would go outside and see how hot it had gotten. I was terrified and constantly worrying about what will happen. I would even sit down and just go on an endless cycle of thoughts about how the earth would look and feel. Would the earth burn up? Will the oceans flood us? Would the ground crack under my feet?

Global warming, now mostly called “climate change,” is the rise in the Earth’s temperature. Now, when you first hear that, it may not sound too bad, but these changes become permanent and will cause long-term damage. Because of these changes, food production is threatened, and the sea levels are rising, which increases the levels of disastrous flooding. It will get more hot and hot as time goes by. To me, global warming is a much more appropriate name than climate change, it hits you and gives you the hard truth. Climate change has more of a gentle approach to the enlarging problem we face today.

It seems as though many people have neglected the fact that global warming is still a very real thing. It can’t just go away. We have let it go on for too long and before you know it, it may be too late to reverse all its effects. The news about global warming was spread all over the world at one point, but it seems to have died down. Some people did try to help fight it but eventually forgot about it or gave up.

Now to prevent further climate change, we have to know what it is. Earth’s greenhouse gasses trap heat to warm the planet; without them, we would all freeze and turn into human popsicles. They are not only beneficial but necessary for life on Earth to exist. Unfortunately, too many of these gasses will cause the temperature on Earth to rise too high to the point where the ecological balance will be destroyed.

We humans are making the greenhouse gasses increase by us burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas, all of which release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

To reverse global warming, we need to leave fossil fuels. This is a very difficult thing to do because we rely heavily on them to heat our homes, run our vehicles, and provide us with electricity. The oil industry consistently makes trillions of dollars, but there are other energy sources we could turn to, such as solar, wind, and nuclear energy. The United States needs to step into its role as a leader and make the changes we need to start a healthy and refreshed world.

Not only are solar and wind energy renewable sources, but we can also use hydroelectric, geothermal, tides, and biofuel. Renewable energy is an energy source that we could not run out of because our using it does not deplete its source. For example, no matter how much we use the sun’s energy, sunlight will continue to exist. Renewable energy could play a big part in our conversion from fossil fuels.

The United States leaders know fossil fuels are terrible for the environment, yet they haven’t put them down. Senators and their spouses have invested in fossil fuel companies, making sure their money will continue to flow in. Leaving oil will be very hard to do, and doing so would leave an incredibly large impact on the economy. So many people invest in the oil industry. While 2.9 percent of industry shares are owned by corporate management, the rest is owned by 10s of millions of middle-class Americans. The industry supports more than 11.3 million jobs around the country. Since the oil industry is relied on so much around the world, we would have to move off of it slow and steadily.

Switching over to sustainable energy is extremely expensive. For solar panels, the price of installation can range from $9,255 to $28,000 for a single home. If the United States were to leave fossil fuels and use sustainable energy instead, how would we all afford it? President Biden made a bill called the ‘Build Better Act, which, if passed, would have provided the needs necessary for the American people, address the dangerous lack of money we have, and overall improve our economy by making transformative investments. Tax laws would be enforced so everyone would pay their fair share, and large corporations, wealthy citizens, and corporations would no longer get tax benefits for shipping money and jobs.

The Build Back Better Act contained many programs that would have tackled climate change. The programs would have helped the switch to better sources of energy easier for the people who can’t afford $20,000 solar panels, by offering a stimulus for homeowners to install solar panels. If citizens would get a check to get rid of their electricity bills, they would be more motivated to do something to address climate change.

Unfortunately, Biden’s bill did not pass in the Senate. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, whose family profits from a coal business in West Virginia, has had issues with plenty of climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. Eventually, Manchin pulled his support for the act altogether, and without any Republican support, the bill died. This is a prime example of why we can not make the changes we need to better our problem with climate change. There are people in power who do not want to see these changes made because they profit off of the companies adding to the problems. They would rather continue making money instead of doing what’s right for everyone else. I’m sure they can make money elsewhere. There are many other industries to invest in. I get it, oil and coal are what’s making money, but you can even make your own money doing something that won’t put the entire planet at risk. Who will be the first person to invest in a renewable energy source? I’m sure after someone makes that decision, the rest will follow.

It is so tiring, we get so close to a solution, and then here comes more problems crashing down. The Build Back Better Act would not have completely solved climate change, but it would have been the perfect start. This act made it where we would have been way more likely to actually switch to sustainable energy. Some of the provisions would have had many persuaded citizens; they had benefits for the people following them and that would have helped save the Earth. It’s terrible how some people wouldn’t want to make the world better just because they want to stay wealthy. Don’t you have a savings account?

A budget was made specifically for fighting climate change. The reconciliation bill would have been an initial step in making America better. We will eventually run out of oil anyway so why not make the change now? Our say matters. Without us, these senators and presidents wouldn’t even be where they are. We need to stop giving the wrong people power, we need to lift up the people who actually want to make a change. We have the power so we need to use it for the better.