The Impatient Patient: To care or not to care, that is the question

By Renee Wang

While we lounged after our Thanksgiving meals and went starry-eyed from too-good-to-pass-up Black Friday deals, the fourth National Climate Assessment revealed a more dismal reality:  greenhouse gas emissions will continue to plague us for centuries, temperatures will continue to rise and forest fires will continue to rage.

Donald Trump’s response “I don’t believe it.”

And for once, I agree. I too, cannot believe that all over news, we see a constant stream of studies warning us our Earth is in trouble, yet suspend any belief that we are exempt from the effects of climate change.

Our president continues to cut federal funding for environmental research and roll back on policies targeted at climate change. Meanwhile, worldwide,  countries are making minimal progress in their goals set in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, particularly regarding cutting carbon emissions.

Donald Trump does not care about climate change. The world is not doing enough to stop it. But we cannot sit idly by.

And by that, I mean parents, guardians and friends waiting during pick-up after school: turn off your idling engines. Dozens of cars arrive — sometimes half an hour before school lets out to beat the pick-up rush, and for every 10 minutes of idling, one pound of carbon dioxide is released.

Idling has also been linked to asthma and allergies, making it all the more dangerous especially in a school zone. In California alone, 37 percent of emissions are due to transportation.

It might seem insignificant. It might seem like no use. But it really requires little effort you do not have to pick up trash at a reservoir to help the environment. You could just turn off your engines while you wait, and you would already be saving the environment, one pound at a time.

But, idling cars aside, I want to call to a greater issue: why should we care? It is easy to have the mindset that because our Earth is already so degraded, perhaps it is hopeless. The root cause of human destruction unto the planet lies in our culture of materialism, and our belief that nature is an open-access area catered to our every need.

When we tear down forest habitats of Orangutans to make way for palm oil plantations, sure, humans benefit economically — but by operating under the assumption that nature is our right we neglect the other species on Earth who are just as dependant on the same ecosystem services we rely on.

A small act of caring, is a giant leap for preservation of the Earth for humans and the generations that follow.