Waste Prevention & Climate Change-Toby Clack Yr9

May 1, 2019

Climate Change is now proven, and it is widely believed that it will be humanities biggest and most dangerous threat in the future. At St Patrick’s College we want to do something about this problem and this is being led by our student action group SAGERS.- SAGERS stands for Student Action Group Environmentally Resource Smart.- It is a group of approximately 20 students who care about our future.- Any student can join the group and to join simply contact Mr Michael Weadon at mweadon@stpats.vic.edu.au

A great deal of things contribute to climate change, waste, fossil fuel consumption, and the production and discarding of one-time use materials such as plastic wrappers, bags or wrap. All of these things however, are things that can be combated and turned around, you can do your bit for our planet by limiting yourself to minimal waste, this can be done by using multi use plastic containers, and limiting your fossil fuel consumption, by keeping the lights off in the home or riding your bike to school instead of being driven 1 or 2 kilometres.

Scientists have proven that the sci-fi dystopian future of earth where huge storms rise from violent polluted and tainted seas that years ago rose to swallow our coastal cities, and droughts suck the life out of our crops and inland areas, leaving only a few habitable places where a solemn human generation in despair live in crowded slums drinking the last of our precious life sustaining resources under a smoggy sky, might soon become our reality. Humanity could potentially avoid 150 million excess premature deaths by the end of century from air pollution (the equivalent of 25 Holocausts or twice the number of deaths from World War II) if we could limit average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or hold warming at 2 degrees without relying on negative emissions.

Some may argue that we will never live to see the effects of climate change and that it isn’t our problem, but it is, and we are already feeling the effects, the ice on greenland is melting 16 times faster that it was in 1900, and- four times faster than it was 16 years ago, causing sea levels to rise by 13-20 cm on average since 1900, and having the 16 warmest years (on average) in history, in the last 17 years. Half of the world’s coral reefs have died in the last 30 years, and two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef have been damaged by coral bleaching -“ this happens when the sea temperature is too high. The usual rate of species extinction is 5 per year, but because of climate change that rate is 10,000 times higher, dozens of species are becoming extinct per day, making pests like insects and spiders more common. A quarter of the Earth’s surface-”land that could feed 1.5 billion people-”has already been lost to erosion, deforestation, and poor farming techniques. We only have 60 years of harvests left before the world’s soils can no longer support life.

The UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has published a report entitled The Changing Arctic, which summarises what is happening. “The Arctic is undergoing profound environmental change from warming surface and ocean temperatures,” the committee says. “Multiyear sea ice has been reducing for decades, and melting has accelerated since the early 2000s. It is now at its lowest level since records began and the Arctic Ocean may be ice free in the summer as soon as the 2050s, unless emissions are reduced.’ And in Antarctica in the past two decades, the speed of melting has increased by 280 percent.

In 2018 California saw a devastating bushfire season, where wildfires burned more that 1 million acres, If we continue on the track we’re on now, in terms of emissions, and we just take the wildfire example, conventional wisdom says that by the end of the century we could be seeing roughly 64 times as much land burned every year as we saw in 2018, a year that felt completely unprecedented and inflicted unimaginable damage in California.

SAGERS believe, especially with the extreme weather that we’re seeing over the last couple of years, we need to and we are beginning to relearn the fact that we live within nature, and all of our lives are governed by its forces. None of us, no matter where we live, will be able to escape the consequences of this.

There are still people who focus on sea level rise and imagine that they’ll be fine so long as they don’t live on the coastline. But this is pure fantasy. No one will avoid the ravages of warming, and the reality of this will be impossible to ignore in the coming decades.

Now, there are countries in the world that are going to, at least in the short term, benefit slightly from global warming. Especially in the global north. Russia, Canada, and parts of Scandinavia are likely to see a little bit of benefit from warming, because slightly a warmer climate means greater economic productivity and higher agricultural yields.

But where we’re headed, we’re likely to pass those optimal levels for those countries. And even in the short term, the balance of benefits and costs is so dramatically out of whack that the overwhelming majority of the world will be suffering hugely from the impacts of climate change. Even if there are a few places that benefit. The southern hemisphere will suffer more than the north, with devastating droughts and floods, sea levels will rise by up to 75 metres if all the polar ice melted.

The time to act is now, because if in 11 years if earths carbon emissions don’t reach zero, it will be nearly impossible to stop climate changes worst effects before 2100, which is in our lifetime. the effects of climate change that we might live to see are the shutdown of all coral reef systems, the mass extinction of many beautiful and vital species and ecosystems. and the displacing of billions due to the rising sea level. If we don’t stop consuming and wasting materials at an alarming rate, one day our great grandchildren or even our grandchildren will ask us stories about when the sky was blue, and the seas were calm, and when cities like New York, London, Rome, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing still sprawled along the coast, and were not our scuba diving destinations. Here is a link to a video showing what the earth would look like if all sea ice melted. https://youtu.be/VbiRNT_gWUQ

The message is quite clear for humanity, and that is to combat the effects of climate change while we still can. so do your bit to save our future. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Thank you for your time,

Student Action Group Environmentally Resource Smart (SAGERS)

P.S. think about Climate when you choose who to vote for in the upcoming Federal election.

Kind Regards, Toby Clack,- Year 9