climate change clouds

Is this planet cooling, or is global warming a real threat to humanity and planet Earth as you know it? Maybe you think climate change is real, but you’re just one person — right? That’s where it starts. People will have the power to combat climate change, and it starts with one person to stand and make a difference. Where there is one, more will join.

Leonardo DiCaprio sets the prime example of what one person can do to make a change. “Before the Flood” can help you understand the true crisis of climate change, and show you how to become an advocate for change.

Fossil Fuels

Raise your hand if you can name all of the fossil fuels and what they’re used for. Do you know? If you didn’t say “coal, oil and natural gas,” then your answer was incorrect. But don’t feel bad because you’re uninformed. In “Before the Flood,” Leonardo DiCaprio felt genuinely uninformed too.

People see a problem, but turn their heads — and so they simply don’t know how much of a crisis this really is. They’d rather run from it than stand up and make a change. Everything you do releases carbon dioxide into the air, which disrupts the ozone layer, creating climate change. So what does that mean for you and the planet you live on?

America is a “fossil fuel-addicted” country. Americans rely on fossil fuels for virtually everything they do. It powers our electricity. It’s the gas in our cars that gets us to and from wherever it is we go. But everything has to come from a source, and a source comes with a price. That price is costing the planet things it can’t afford, such as deforestation, polluted waters, natural disasters and destroyed land.

If you don’t think fossil fuels are the root causes of climate change, it’s time for you to look at the facts. According to “Before the Flood,” China has nearly 9,000 factories throughout the county. China is working on transitioning from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy, much like the country of Sweden already has.

Sweden will most likely become the first fossil fuel-free nation. How do we get other nations to move quickly enough to stop climate change before it’s too late? One idea is a carbon tax. This would put a tax on any use that emits carbon into the air. By raising the price, less people would consume it, which means less carbon emitted into the air. People would then turn towards solar and wind power.

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America’s Consumption

During an interview with Sunita Narain from the Centre for Science and Education of New Delhi, India, Sunita showed Leonardo some hard facts about American consumption. Sunita is devoted to finding solutions to air pollution and climate change. She showed Leo statistics that one American household consumes the same amount of electricity as 30 households in India, as 10 households in china and as 61 households in Nigeria. This is clearly a glorified lifestyle issue.

Americans want to live comfortably. The rest of the world wants to join them. They don’t want to spend money on renewable energy, yet funnel out bundles of money on electric bills each year. It’s costing the planet much more than the money we’re spending.

India is the third-largest emitter of fossil fuels, yet there are 300 million people that don’t have access to power. Poverty-stricken people trying to transition from fossil fuels to natural energy sources seems nearly impossible unless they can lower the price of renewable energy.

Solar panels charge batteries without ever requiring actual electricity lines, and sustainable energy in general is becoming more and more affordable. Developing nations will have access to light and power without high-voltage electricity plants. The only problem is that the government needs to support sustainable energy in order to get the funding for this to happen.

Once people invest in wind and solar it will provide free, renewable energy. That’s something both you and the planet can afford.

Ocean Levels

People can’t ignore this. The time is not tomorrow. The time is now.

Is climate change an invisible crisis? It is nonexistent? Ocean levels rise as the ice melts. The scientist in “Before the Flood” estimated that the North Pole would no longer exist as of 2040. So it’s not just our environment that’s effected — it’s whole ecosystems. Species.

Billions of people around the world rely on fish and other animals to survive. What happens when climate change pollutes ecosystems, the ocean, the air? It already has. Corral reefs are dying. Ocean levels are rising. Species are going extinct.

Why does that matter? What’s your carbon footprint? We all walk around on a daily basis — therefore, the responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint is ours.

There’s No Planet B

We have one planet. We have one chance at life on Earth. We can’t create a second Earth to move to when this planet is destroyed. Don’t laugh. It’s possible that humans will bring about the death of the Earth. What happens if we continue to watch climate change and sit back doing nothing? If you don’t believe this is a problem, take a look at the facts. When you hear that there’s 40-50 years left, how does that make you feel?

The media has so many mixed views on climate change, and as a result, the public is split in half. You either believe that people are the problem and must make a lifestyle change, or you think it’s a joke or a hoax and choose to ignore it.

It’s Not Too Late

If we make the change now, we can repair the damage we’ve already done. Although the warming of the planet would still happen, it would level off and slowly cool once again. The threat level of climate change would decrease. The health of the environment would improve. This is the best way out.

But people have to make a change. The time isn’t tomorrow. The time is now.