In the twenty-first century, a growing concern for us human beings is our environmental impact and how we change the planet. This concept may be considered more of a recent observation noticed in the past few decades, but will have lasting impacts long-after our current generation has grown up and become history. In order for species to continue thriving while at the same time not completely destroying our habitat, certain huge changes must be made in the way we live our lives and run our society. Without a doubt certain things have gotten better – air and water pollution has drastically decreased since the 1960s, carbon monoxide and lead emissions have decreased which have had great social effects on people, and awareness is spreading. These things however, can only do so much. The biggest growing problem now seems to be climate change and how that will affect the entire globe.

By this point, everyone knows what climate change is and how it is happening. Greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane produced by human activity are being trapped within the Earth’s atmosphere which in turn is causing average global temperature to increase. This can have devastating effects on the planet such as an increase in sea-level which can lead to a numerous amount of other problems like: altering agricultural seasons, increase in floods, increase in storms and severe weather, and loss of biodiversity. In order for those things not to happen, or to take place at a lower rate where we can manage it without completely ruining everything, there are a number of policy issues and other things that we must do before it is too late.

In my opinion, there are a lot of things that we can do. Some of my favorite ideas towards achieving sustainability, are using renewable energy sources that are less polluting to the environment such as solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass energy. We need to make serious changes when it comes to our planning and design of cities and land use patterns – doing certain things like not building in flood-prone areas or if we do, doing so with construction technology that is made to withstand severe weather so that losses and damages are minimized. Another thing that I am really all for that will have a big impact on decreasing waste generation, is eliminating trees from being used for things like paper, cardboard, and other stationary uses because this is the twenty-first century and we have the technology (have probably had it for about at least 100 years or so) to make these goods out of more eco-friendly fibers such as hemp. Yes, yes, yes, it is illegal, but that should not be the case – It is a useful plant with thousands of uses that would save a lot of deforestation and only have positive effects on the planet. A final thing however, that I am actually opposed to, is the idea of carbon taxation or paying to be able to pollute. This I find hypocritical, corrupt, and you’re still contributing to the problem. Yes people and companies should have to pay for their contributions to pollution and climate change, but it does not have to be that extreme. I guess my big thing with it is when politicians exploit climate change to increase taxes and say that the money will go towards developing greener technology, but is that really the case? If we look at our government’s history, they can’t get their hands out of the Middle East because we are so addicted to cheap oil (which is slowly fading away). When our government and politicians say that the taxes from carbon and other polluting elements will go to “green technology”, they really mean it will go to war and further invasion and military operations in the Middle East because that is their job. Also, it is not necessarily people’s fault and individual people to blame for being grown up in a society where you have to use a car and produce a lot of waste to accomplish daily tasks – it is how our country was planned and it was planned at a time when these things weren’t considered. Changes in planning and shooting for mixed-land uses and increasing public transportation and making people want to drive less and buy less and do activities that produce less waste is really the way to change things.