Throughout late October, early November, students were still able to wear long sleeve shirts, shorts and sneakers outside without worrying about the elements. A lot of people were startled by this. According to NASA, 2016 was the hottest year in history.

“Not only was this the third consecutive year to rank hotter than all previous years, it also means 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.”

As Earth’s oceans grow warmer, moisture evaporates into the atmosphere about four percent more since 1970, according to recent data by the NOAA. This additional moisture in the air makes it more likely that storms will bring downpours like the ones that hit Beijing in late July, National Geographic reported.

People might not realize how threatening this could be. Climate change is changing wildlife habitats and landscapes. It is also causing sea levels to rise, storms, droughts and floods, putting communities at risk and lastly, causing an economic impact, according to an article published by nature.org, a website with a mission of the Nature Conservancy to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Climate change not only affects the planet. It affects human health as well. The air becomes polluted, which can cause asthma. Heat waves can cause people to become extremely ill and infectious diseases spreads much more easily due to climate change, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Professor Eric Leibensperger, a faculty member in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at SUNY Plattsburgh expressed concern for the state of the world due to climate change. He thought that the earth’s condition was very saddening, and he hopes the official news would bring about more awareness and initiatives to the matter of climate change.

Vasu Govani, a sophomore also felt that “the heating temperature was kind of hard because of global warming and increasing carbon emissions throughout the world.”

“It’s pretty upsetting because we have the chance to stop this climate change from happening and increasing temperatures,” junior environmental science major Leanna Thalmann said.

How can students help inform and spread awareness about keeping the planet alive? Leibensperger said students have to educate themselves and find real facts instead of going off what they think is true. Students should engage and discuss important issues with each other and listen to what others say because everyone has different perspectives. Thalmann suggested that students can get a reusable bag, reusable water bottle, and recycle more. Vasu joined the Involvement Club, which he believes other students should join as well. Through this club, students can learn ways to be aware of their actions and help keep the planet alive. This way everyone could be more involved in helping the campus and maybe even contributing to saving the planet.

Students might not realize it, but they are contributing to these issues faced by the planet. Thalmann works on Plattsburgh’s Campus at the Express Store and she noticed that usually when students purchase only one item, instead of putting it in their book bag, they get a plastic bag. Students fail to realize how that little thing makes a huge difference.

The later months of 2015 and the first half of 2016 experienced faster warming partly due to the El Niño climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which sent a surge of heat into the atmosphere, according to the New York Times.

It is important to be aware of your waste and helping to do your part to keep the planet clean. Make it a mission of yours to help keep the planet alive. Actions are also contagious, involve families, friends, teachers and co-workers. Not only would that provide humans with proper living habitants but humans are also able to enjoy all the resources the planet has to offer. Some of these resources includes food, water and oxygen.

Email Raheal Neequaye at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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