Out Living Our Earth

Lauren Shields, Opinion Writer

Imagine a world where life expectancies exceed one hundred years. The human population continues to grow steadily with less and less deaths every year due to miraculous advancements in medical technology. New procedures and machines are developing in research centers across the globe. These researchers all share one goal, to extend and protect human life. People living longer and healthier lives sounds like a wonderful use of medicine. The ironic truth, while our life expectancy grows, the Earth’s expiration date to accelerates toward us at a troubling pace. 

The levels of atmospheric carbon and concentrated GreenHouse gases are higher than ever world wide. This concentration becomes trapped directly below the ozone layer which deteriorates the layer that protects us from fatal radiation and detrimental exposure to the brutality of the thermosphere and mesosphere. Which are the layers of the atmosphere that remains above the ozone. In addition, according to Henry Fountain, a journalist from the New York Times, the build up of these gases “trap more of the heat that radiates from Earth’s surface as it absorbs sunlight.” The absorption of sunlight manifests itself in the atmosphere which ultimately increases the temperature of the globe. There is a common misconception that seemingly small fluctuations in the Earth’s climate is entirely normal, and yes, it is. However, climate change is occurring causing the temperature of the earth to rise and has been climbing for decades now. The lasting effects of this could be potentially irreversible. Habitat destruction, mass extinction, and cycle change are raveging our planet and stripping ecosystems of their resources.

 

Climate change can be linked to several naturally occurring procedures but the majority is a direct result of humans. From overharvesting of resources, pollution to careless discard habits. The western world is especially guilty of this lavish lifestyle and according to East High’s very own Mr. Durham, “It would take five more planet earths to maintain the lifestyle of the average american citizen.” Thankfully the majority of the world do not live the way Americans do. We produce excessive waste, consume goods, and travel often. This is a lifestyle that will not be sustainable if we wish to maintain the current state of our planet, let alone improve our current state. 

If hypothetically we ignore the warningings that our environment has expressed, we would continue to live our lives and possibly live longer because due to our eagerness to protect the human population. Unfortunately, the planet would only be able to sustain us for a relatively short amount of time and our extended lives would become insignificant. If we strip our only known sustainable home in the solar system at this point, where will we go? The threat of human life can create incentives for nations to bond together and generate eco-friendly techniques for citizens to live by. According to BBC reporter Amanda RuggeriThe average person born in 1960 could expect to live to 52.5 years of age. Today, the average is 72.” Additionally, because people live longer our population is less affected by the death rate and driven by birth rates. As nations modernize and citizens gain education, gross birth rates tend to decline and women have less children. 

Ultimately, our Earth is in a dire state and if we value our lives and the quality of life for future generations we need to make a change. It is imperative that we take measures to live green by decreasing our driving, buying goods from local organizations, and being conscious of our waste and supporting businesses that seek eco-alternatives. This change and awareness can begin at our very own East High School. As a student body, we can make a difference just by adjusting our daily habits.