A recent United Nations study stated that humans have 12 years to limit their ecological footprint before the effects of global warming become irreversible. The UN relays that if people don’t make some drastic changes to their current way of life, there will be devastating effects to the planet.
According to AP Environmental teacher Jessica Timmons, the population can expect to see “mass extinction on a global scale”.
There have already been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history, like the Cretaceous that took out the dinosaurs, but according to TIME Magazine, the Earth is currently in the middle of a sixth.
A mass is extinction is characterized by the extreme loss of species over a relatively short period of time, according to National Geographic.
Scientists have already seen hundreds of species go extinct in the past century, like the baiji dolphin and the pinta tortoise, due to people’s overconsumption of Earth’s resources. Now several other species, such as the Asian tiger and the polar bear, are on the brink of extinction due to human activity.
According to National Geographic, people can expect the extinction of hundreds of species as well as the destruction of Earth’s oceans and forests.
With president Jair Bolsonaro recently elected in Brazil, one can expect to see massive amounts of deforestation. According to Business Insider, Bolsonaro plans to privatize the Amazon rainforest for commercial logging, as well as build a major highway.
Timmons said people should be worried about “the impending doom and problems that are going to be developed because of (global warming).”
The possible effects of this mass extinction are “terrifying”, Senior Miranda Bingham said.
“We’ll see lots of disease because as the climate warms, we will see insects spread,” Timmons said. “We’re also going to see famine because areas that have a lot of water and grow tons of crops aren’t going to have water, and people will starve.”
Global warming will still present a problem even after humans are gone, and these effects will span farther than the current generation, according to researchers at The National Academy of Sciences.
“I hope that people all around the world, and especially at Orange, will realize the gravity of what’s happening and try to do something to help, even if it’s small,” AP Environmental student, senior Megan Bernard said.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot of changes for us to make a difference; it’s just changing habit,” Timmons said.
To many students, it’s not easy to change habits. However, students in the Olentangy Orange Environmental Club have expressed that the ecological advantages usually outweigh the economical and personal downsides of living a green lifestyle.
According to co-president of the Environmental Club, senior Mekenzie Altman, a possible solution for global warming is to pay more attention to where one spends money.
“There are people who have a lot of money but they think they have to spend it on commodities rather than better things, like environmental organizations,” Altman said.
The Environmental Club encourages students to take action.
“We’re trying to get rid of the Styrofoam plates because that’s a big problem in our school. We’re also going to put more recycling bins around the school,” Altman said.
The Environmental Club meets after school in Timmon’s room every other Monday, and plans to make more changes to the school throughout the year.
“Anybody can show up,” Altman said. “We just talk about what’s going on around the school and what we can do to help in the future.”