Latest Issue

Earth Day and Climate Change

So, clearly, I’m not Jimmy. Jimmy had a technological mishap. He had his article all but finished when it disappeared into the ether. Even I couldn’t figure out what happened and recover his story. Due to rising frustration levels, we decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest to just take the L. Now you are stuck with me for the week.

Jimmy would like me to do one thing though. He wants me to remind you to vote! I know this isn’t a big flashy election, and most things are already decided, but you should still make sure your voice is heard and your vote is counted.

Now onward to Earth Day!

Earth Day will be observed on April 22. According to National Geographic, the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson was inspired to begin a national celebration uniting the environmental movement after witnessing environmental activism in the 1960s. With the help of Denis Hayes, a graduate student at Harvard University, Nelson organized the first Earth Day. Twenty million people participated in events across the United States, and support for environmental legislation like the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act was strengthened.

Earth Day was expanded to a global initiative in 1990 under guidance from Hayes. Nearly 200 million participants in more than 140 countries now join together to protect the planet. Awareness of renewable energy and climate change continues to be raised each year.

One of the hallmarks of Earth Day celebrations is the planting of trees. Researchers estimate roughly 15 billion trees are cut down annually across the globe. By planting a tree every Earth Day, people can make a difference. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and bolster ecosystems for wildlife. Shade trees can reduce reliance on fans and air conditioning systems.’s main message for Earth Day 2024 is the need to commit to ending reliance on plastics. The goal is a 60 percent reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. Plastics are harmful to the environment, and a growing body of research indicates they hurt the body’s major systems, including the immune, respiratory, digestive, and hormonal systems.

Everyone can do their part to promote the ideals behind Earth Day. For 54 years, millions have advocated for change to benefit the planet and human and animal health, and that fight is ongoing.

The term “climate change” has become part of the modern lexicon, while the term “global warming” was once widely used. Still, the term became more common after researchers discovered that the changes affecting the planet involved more than a temperature rise.
What is climate change?

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in weather patterns and temperatures, according to the United Nations Climate Action. Although natural forces, such as natural disasters, can affect climate change, by and large, the most prolific influencer has been human behavior, notably the use of fossil fuels. NASA says burning fossil fuels increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, raising the overall surface temperature of the planet.
Signs of climate change

Scientists are already seeing evidence of the effects of climate change. NASA says the loss of sea ice, melting glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, and more intense heat waves are already occurring. Additional notable and evident effects of climate change include:

• Glaciers are melting at a faster rate.
• There is less snowpack in mountain ranges and polar regions.
• When snow is present, it melts faster.
• Permafrost is melting, releasing methane. This potent greenhouse gas rises into the atmosphere and compounds the climate change problem.
• Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and around the North Pole is melting faster. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicates that the amount of ice covering the Arctic Ocean has diminished by more than 40 percent since the start of the satellite era in 1979.
• Tropical storms have become more severe due to warmer ocean water temperatures.
• Sea levels are rising, threatening coastal communities and ecosystems. The NOAA reports that in 2022, the global average sea level set a new record high of 101.2 mm. That is four inches above 1993 levels.
• In many coastal locations around the United States, the rate of sea level rise is even higher than the global average due to erosion, oil and groundwater pumping, and subsidence.
• High-tide flooding is now between 300 and 900 percent more frequent than 50 years ago.
• The ocean stores most excess heat from rising global temperatures, contributing to measurable shelf retreat and stress on marine life.