Address Climate Change

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Dear Mr. Trudeau,

Our world is full of beautiful things. Bright, endlessly colourful coral reefs beneath the glittering blue waves of the sea. Mountains so high it feels as if one is staring down not at a forest, but a blanket of emerald green rises and valleys, broken only by clearings so full of vegetation they seem as if they will burst at any moment. Sunsets turning the sky deep oranges, blood reds, and fiery pinks not even imaginable unless you’re seeing them burning across the horizon, blending in waves and contrasting in folds of liquid flame.

But all of these wonderful sights are threatened by climate change, and if you travel back far enough in time (which, sadly, is not very far at all), then you’ll see that humans are - though not the only - the main cause of it. You probably know that greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, are the biggest factor in our place on the list of reasons for climate change. That’s because so many things we do involve them. Home heating? Most types burn fossil fuels, therefore emitting CO2 into the atmosphere, unless it’s generated using wind, water, or sunlight - which isn't very common, even nowadays. Motorized transportation? Whether it’s by car, truck, boat, train, or plane, that also emits greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide - except if we walk, bike, rollerblade or happen to be wealthy enough to own an electric car, which, even then, still burns fossil fuels to generate the electricity needed. Deforestation has a huge effect - not only do trees soak up carbon dioxide and release oxygen, but when they are cut down, that carbon dioxide is diffused back into our air - that means that the trees are no longer able to better the atmosphere with their oxygen emissions. Along with taking away the life of a living thing, we have effectively undone all its work in taking the CO2 out of the air.

In only one year (2011), we managed to emit nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (www.cbsnews.com Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has risen by 1.6 deg. Fahrenheit (0.9 Celsius). Due to this the glacier count has gone from more than 150 to less than 30 since 1910. Each year global sea levels are rising 0.13" (3.2 mm) because of the melting glaciers (www.nationalgeographic.com Due to this, cities are flooding more and more each year. In other areas still, it is so hot that water is evaporating all over the place and there has been increased drought. The same way a trophic cascade effect occurred in Banff National Park when wolves were kept to a minimum in one area, a trophic cascade is happening around the world because of carbon emissions.

There are so many ways to stop our carbon use, and so many reasons to use them, but we’re hardly trying at all. So I’m writing this letter to ask you to please do everything you can to stop our carbon emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible. Make solar panels more affordable and easier to use - maybe promise an annual rebate if someone buys them for their house or commercial building, or make sure insurance prices won’t be raised with solar panels on a house. Make electric cars more accessible and affordable - put charging stations at the same intervals as gas stations would be, or raise the rebate level for buying one. Maybe give money to gas car companies so they can convert their factories to make electric cars instead. Give money to commercial companies for a rooftop garden, as this not only lets the plants take in the CO2, but it lowers the heat inside the building, meaning less air conditioning can be used. This will mean less energy is used up.

These are only some of the solutions we need to do in order to stop climate change and save our planet. Not one of them is extremely difficult at all, and though they are all just small changes, they will have an effect on the environment, and can also create new job opportunities in the ‘green economy’. The government needs to work with the people to make our world and our economy more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Martin Luther King Jr. said once that “If I cannot do great things, then I will do small things in a great way”. But right now, with climate change no longer a question of being prevented but stopped, we need everyone to do great things.  And so again, I, along with everyone who’s signed below, ask you to do everything you can about this growing issue.

Thank you,

 

Samantha Wotten, age 12