Make Climate Change and Sea Level Rise part of the Political Consensus

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 This is a call for action on climate change.

My name is Sara Ransdell. I’m in 10th grade and I’m a homeschooler at Arden Reading Clinic in Asheville, North Carolina. My science teacher and I have been learning about climate change, the environment, and the impacts of sea level rise. I have been deeply affected by what I have learned, and it has inspired me to write this letter to you. The threat that climate change poses on my future requires immediate action, and that is what I am asking from you, my political representatives, here today.

Antarctica and Greenland are melting faster than predicted. In fact, they are 60 years ahead of scientific predictions. If these polar ice caps melt, we are in serious danger. Smog from fires and pollution is turning the ice in Greenland black, which causes the ice to absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it. This, along with increasing global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, is contributing significantly to sea level rise. Recent evidence that the western coast of Antarctica is melting too, poses an even bigger threat to global sea level than Greenland. Antarctica holds 90% of the world's ice and 70% of the world's fresh water. The region in Western Antarctica that is experiencing melting, which is approximately the size of Germany, is likely to melt in the next century and cause 4 ft of sea level rise. Scientists predict that the combined melting of Greenland and Antarctica will cause 7 ft of sea level rise by the end of the century.

What does all of this mean for society? It means places like New York, Bangladesh, Miami, Venice, Nigeria, the Marshall islands, and so many other coastal regions will be underwater. To combat this sea level rise trillions of dollars will need to be spent to either move cities away from the coastline or to build barriers to protect the cities. The detrimental effects of sea level rise can already be seen in Miami. Fair weather floods in Miami are already happening as sea water seeps up through the porous limestone which Miami is build on. With just 3 ft of sea level rise, 300,000 homes and 145 billions dollars in property assets will be lost in Miami. With 6ft of sea level rise (which is the predicted amount by the end of the century), 1.4 millions home and 544 billion dollars in property assets will be lost. Miami is just one example of what is to come. Other countries like Bangladesh and Nigeria, that can’t afford to build barriers or move their cities, will be forced out of their homes and into slums, thus further contributing to health, societal, and poverty issues in these places.

As you can see, global warming and sea level rise is not just an environmental issue, it’s a sociological and economic issue too. As a community we need to come together to fight this issue. Asheville may be a relatively small voice in the grand scheme of things, but in a swing state like North Carolina, 4 votes here is worth 4,000 in a state like California when it comes to climate change reforms. If we come together and take action on this issue we can hopefully inspire change in other people and see other communities and legislatures come together to fight this issue too. Although, I myself am too young to vote, I like think my representatives still represent me and care about my future.

Barack Obama said “ we are the first generation to see the effects of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about”. I’m a young person, with a bright future, but my voice can only go so far and there’s no time to waste. Climate change needs to be a part of the political consensus now! I’m asking you, I’m relying on you, to help create a future where me, my children, my children's children, and so on, can live in a world uncompromised by the mistakes previous generations made.



Sara Ransdell


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