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Make America Green Again

Ryan Smoot

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Surprises were abundant in 2016, yet the year’s record-breaking temperatures were no shock to scientists. Indeed, 16 of the last 17 years have each shattered the record for the hottest year in documented history, according to NASA, and the pattern has no end in sight.

It is quite difficult — and almost unpopular — to challenge beautiful 70 degree weather in February, but the warming of Earth is bound to bring numerous consequences…far more devastating than shorts and Chacos being worn in mid-winter. According to the EPA, these effects include the rise of sea levels, deadly weather storms, reduced crop yields, and the extinction of certain animal species.

President Donald Trump has made headlines for his denial of climate change, tweeting that global warming was simply a “hoax perpetuated by the Chinese” and has vowed to annul the Paris Climate Agreement. On the campaign trail, he stated that he “wasn’t a big believer in man-made climate change”. Meanwhile, approximately 97% of climate scientists concur that humans are largely responsible for the recent change in temperature. Reynolds students are largely in agreement with such conclusion, though they concede that natural occurrences have some play. “This could just be a cycle, the world’s temperature has always been fluctuating, but now it’s so extreme, I have to believe [climate change] is manmade”, says senior Mike Scarborough.

Implementing solutions to reverse the effect of climate change is not rocket science, and ideas are brewing not just in laboratories, but also in the halls of ACR. Anna-Kate Self, a sophomore, says that it may be too late to completely curb global warming, but that “we can still make a significant difference by researching and investing into alternative energy, as well as reducing our energy consumption”. Her words echo the Obama administration, which invested millions into alternative fuels through the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and imposed regulations on fossil fuels and car manufacturers in it’s Clean Power Plan.

On a smaller — yet just as important — scale, the Reynold’s Environmental Club seeks to install alternative energy at the school. “The [club] is trying to get a solar panel; we’ve applied for a grant, and have worked with the county offices on the matter,” says co-president Leila Zefri, adding “the county is also working on getting a solar panel for our hot water system. It’s a natural energy resource, which is obviously great for our local environment”.

While Zefri is transforming the school’s carbon footprint, she acknowledged that some issues are outside her reach, adding “[I’m] very concerned over the President’s climate agenda, and EPA selection”. President Trump appointed Scott Pruitt Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January, a former Oklahoma AG who had sued the EPA 14 times, according to The Washington Post. Trump’s recent budget blueprint slashed the agency’s funding by 31%, and under Pruitt the EPA is expected to roll back Obama-era regulations on carbon emissions, as reported by NBC News.

Earth Science and Biology teacher, Jennifer Conwell, stressed the importance of educating students about climate change, stating “We need to focus more on climate change because it’s something that is affecting our generations to come,” adding, “if we don’t take care of our Earth now, we may not have an Earth to call home in the future”.

Climate change is not just an issue for Reynolds, or Asheville, or even the United States — but rather for the world. Climate change does not merely pose a catastrophic threat to polar bears in the Arctic, or to the revenue of ski resorts, but to the human species as a whole. Perhaps it is time for the United States to rise as a world-leader, enacting new legislation to regulate CO2 emissions and provide subsidies for renewable energy. Perhaps it is time for North Carolina to re-implement the $35 million tax-break they provided for solar energy, a program the state legislature ended in 2015. In 2017, it is due-time for AC Reynolds to implement solar panels of their own, and become a beacon of hope to the future of a sustainable planet. After all, the sun hasn’t set quite yet on the Cedar Cliffs.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Make America Green Again”

  1. Mohammed Smith on April 25th, 2017 1:00 pm

    Excellent.

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Make America Green Again