Accidental Destruction by T.B.

One of the seven wonders of the world is officially dead.

The Great Barrier Reef was pronounced dead this year due to the fact that more than 30% of the coral is no longer living. The ocean is dying at an alarming rate and humans are the reason. We are killing off species, pumping garbage into the ocean, and not looking like we are going to stop any time soon. We are so reliant on the ocean that when it dies so will we. However it is not too late for the ocean and the human race.

Many species of dolphins, whales, manta rays and many more are extinct or on the verge all because of unnecessary human interaction. We are hunting and killing them to the point where they cannot, as a species, recover. Research shows that over 95% of dolphin deaths are directly attributed to man-related causes. At this rate it is estimated that Maui’s dolphin population will be extinct by the year 2030 if drastic changes are not put into place. Japan’s killing of whales and dolphins is leading to an insane plummet in both of their populations. In some countries the people sell these  animals and depend on them to keep their families afloat. In indonesia people hunt and kill manta rays for their gills only because that is an extremely valuable item there but these actions have put the manta rays on the endangered list.

Marcie Brewster encountered ocean pollution up close and personal. The self proclaimed ocean enthusiast grew up near the ocean and bay in Point Pleasant New Jersey. When asked if she ever encountered pollution she told me that it happened on multiple occasions. “It’s known as the armpit of America” she said referring to the ocean she grew up swimming in. Later she went on to explain how in 1991 a new york medical center took their waste a few miles of shore and dumped it. It then proceeded to wash up on shore in a giant heap of syringes and vials. When asked if she experienced any pollution up close she explained how pollution caused stinging jellyfish to infest the bay in her backyard. “I think it was because of the lawn fertilizer… I used to just dive off the barge and swim around, now I can’t without getting stung by multiple jellyfish”

There are many things we can do to help save the ocean and ourselves before it is too late. Reducing your energy use is extremely helpful, fossil fuels and carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere but eventually get absorbed by the ocean. Most researchers and scientists just viewed this as another great aspect the ocean offers but it comes at a cost. When the ocean absorbs those gasses it leads to a more acidic ocean which kills the coral, marine life, and the bacteria. So by reducing the amount of energy you will help the ocean tremendously. Another easy thing that helps our ocean is using less fertilizer. This will also reduce the amount of pollution that enters the ocean and kills almost everything. The most important thing you can do just so happens to be the easiest: tell a friend. By telling a friend you are raising the awareness of the problem and inadvertently working towards a solution.

Although it will be an uphill battle, the battle to save our ocean is a vital and extremely important task that we need everyone to do their part to help. If we all come together and work towards a common goal then I believe that we can get the ocean back on its feet and ultimately save the human race.

Injustice in the Ozone by N.K.

The recent presidential debates have touched on the issue of climate change quite a few times. I think there is a lot of social injustice involved in the impending ramifications of how we as a people have treated the earth.

Most of the world is not yet feeling big social consequences of climate change. Very small islands in the South Pacific are starting to disappear but for most of the world, the current effects of climate change are more inconvenient than tragic. Americans were affected by record snow in New England last year, are currently being affected by an ongoing severe drought in California, and something close to home, the state of Colorado was affected by the 2013 “500 year” flood. To the average person, these extreme circumstances seem like the effects of climate change. However, these conditions are minor compared to some scenarios that are predicted. One predicted catastrophe is a massive rise in sea levels. Some scientists theorize a worst-case scenario of a 200 foot rise in sea levels; this could threaten many coastal cities around the world, including New York and Tokyo.

Once these bigger environmental events start to occur, the rich countries will have many more options than the poor countries. Not everyone will be able to deal with the repercussions caused by the world as a whole neglecting the environment. If the coasts were to flood rich countries could react. People could be relocated, dams could be built, new housing could be developed; there would be ways to continue living. If fresh water ran low on a global scale, rich countries would be able to purchase water, or invest in new technologies for water purification; they would be able to afford alternatives. If the there was a shortage of oil, rich countries would create green alternatives like wind and solar energy; there would be other ways to create power. For poor countries, none of these solutions would be available, they would just have to live with the mess created.

This discrepancy is particularly unfair because it is the rich countries that are causing the change in the first place. Factories and drilling and other elements of industry contribute greatly to climate change, and the vast majority of pollution comes from wealthy countries. Poorer countries in the world will have to pay the cost for this when they are unable to cope with all the environmental changes. I see this as a social problem because it ultimately affects people’s basic human rights, like food and shelter. This is deplorable because the rich countries cause the problem and don’t suffer the consequences as deeply, but poor countries are less to blame and are put in grave circumstances.

This is truly unjust because it’s the rich countries are the ones causing a lot of the pollution in the first place. It is unfair that the people who caused the problem will be able to deal with it and the the people who might not even know it’s happening will be affected the most. Because the environmental consequences can be so dire, the externalities are not just economic, but are social too.