OPINION: The People’s Climate March and the truth about climate change

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Elise Johns is a first-year
undecided major
from Carmel, Indiana.

Imagine 400,000 impassioned and motivated people — students, professionals, teachers and even children — together, walking the streets of New York City. All unified with the purpose of raising awareness about global climate change. 

This is exactly what happened on Sunday, Sept. 21. Yet the gathering was not an isolated event; simultaneously around the world in 166 countries a grand total of 2,808 demonstrations occurred organized under and affiliated with the People’s Climate March. 

Catchy slogans like “To change everything. We need everyone” and “There is no planet B” could be found throughout the march. Along with the absolutely flooring statistics, which depcit the rising atmospheric CO2 levels and the ongoing depletion of our natural resources, it is hard not to feel responsible and become invested in the call for environmental rehabilitation towards more sustainable existence.

Sadly the issue of climate change, especially in the United States (like many other pressing issues) has become deeply rooted in partisanship. There is a seemingly never-ending cycle of politicians who refuse to participate in the debate between the ‘hippie-liberals’ and the ‘ignorant-business-loving-conservatives.' Change isn't conceivable in the foreseeable future.

Although some people do perpetuate these stereotypes, the outliers need to be set aside in order to focus on the big picture. Regardless of the political leanings a person or politician may have, one inescapable fact remains; our planet is in danger. 

In an experiment conducted in the 1970s coined ‘Biosphere 2,’ researchers attempted to create an entirely contained and self-sustaining collection of ecosystems that could support and maintain eight humans for two years. The results were disastrous. Biogeochemical levels spiked and plummeted in all the wrong places, causing the extinction of most of the plants and animals as well as negative mental effects on the eight humans. The main conclusion of this failed experiment is a simple concept, presently there is no alternative to Biosphere 1—our planet Earth.

We need to invest in the future of humanity by raising awareness of global climate change, just as the People’s Climate March did this past weekend. 

The well-being of the Earth is not a partisan issue and it is not an issue one country can tackle alone. Change must occur globally and it must occur soon. At this point in time there is no substitute for Earth, so it is crucial that we begin to treat our only biosphere with care. 

Once a force of people dedicated to the cause of environmentalism is assembled, humanity will have to take progessive steps in the right direction. A plan must be made to reduce our harmful environmental impact. Eventually, we can address enivronmental areas in need of rehabilitiation in hopes of repairing our world.

These steps are absolutely essential to ensure our long-term existence on Earth is sustainable.