What the Planet Faces

Cultivating an Environmetally Conscious Mindset


Melenie Ignacio, Gr. 9

Our planet faces numerous environmental issues, from pollution and deforestation to global warming and climate change. These events affect the earth and those living on it and there is scientifically proven evidence that human activity is the primary cause of most environmental problems we’re facing today. 

We are blessed to be living in Hawai’i, America’s third cleanest state, with some of the cleanest air and water in the entire nation! Although it’s easy to take our islands for granted, Hawai’i too has been facing environmental challenges. As the human population continues to increase; so does tourism, urbanization, and worst of all, pollution. Hence, these circumstances jeopardize the quality of our water and marine life.

 Out of the 70% of the water that covers our planet, only 1.2% of it is drinkable. However, that percentage is declining due to pollution and consumption. In addition, plastic pollution can be found everywhere, in our environment, in our food, and in our bodies. Recent studies have shown that plastic is also being found in unborn babies. These detrimental problems are being ignored in today’s society, and if we continue to disown these issues, we will inevitably face irreparable damage.

Our generation is the future, and it’s our responsibility to take care of the Earth. A clean environment is key to having a healthy life. Yet, most students are extremely ignorant about climate change and global warming. A teacher’s role is to further educate students about the consequences of global warming and encourage us to build knowledge and skills in order to confront these problems. If you don’t know the difference between the two, I suggest reading this article: Global Warming vs. Climate Change: How Are They Different?

Climate change has catastrophically impacted our environment. Many climate experts state that we only have about eight years (2030) until we begin to reach a point where there may be no return. Climate change has caused glaciers to melt at a dramatic rate. “We lose Arctic sea ice at a rate of almost 13% per decade, and over the past 30 years, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95%” (“Six ways loss of Arctic ice impacts everyone”). This leads to the sea level rising, causing coastal erosion and change in the ocean currents. The burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses releases an extensive amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the ocean absorbs the most amount of this harmful gas. This is also known as ocean acidification, which is extremely harmful to marine life and coral reefs. The most common misconception is that our trees provide us with the most oxygen when 70% of oxygen actually comes from the ocean. The ocean is an important source of oxygen and food for life on this planet, and if we fail to take care of it, we may face mass extinction. These are just a few of the many disastrous effects of climate change. 

Dramatic cultural and world changes would need to be made in order to completely reverse climate change. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference as individuals. To begin with, we must actually educate ourselves and others about climate change and acknowledge the issues we’re currently facing. The most effective way to reduce global warming is to reduce your carbon footprint. Simple things like conserving water, switching to a more sustainable energy source, reducing, reusing, and recycling will surely benefit the environment. If you want to find ways you can be more eco-friendly and even calculate and reduce your carbon footprint, I suggest checking out the following websites: 50 Ways Families Can Help Save the Planet – Tinybeans,  What is your carbon footprint? | Carbon Footprint Calculator, and Ecological Footprint Calculator. Every decision we make in our day-to-day lives impacts our environment, so it’s important to have an environmentally conscious mindset! 

Sources Cited:

“Six ways loss of Arctic ice impacts everyone”. World Wildlife.Org, Six ways loss of Arctic ice impacts everyone | Pages | WWF

“Why our ocean could hold the best solutions to climate change”. Weforum.Org, Why our ocean could hold the best solutions to climate change

          Lambert, Katie, 10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth, 10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the          Earth | HowStuffWorks

“10 easy ways you can help our environment”. Butterfly-Conservation.Org, 10 easy ways you can help our environment