• Walter Einhart (he/him)

An Introduction to Environmentalism

Updated: Dec 14, 2020


Image by Ponomariova_Maria via iStock by Getty Images

The environment is something we need to protect. That shouldn’t just be an opinion, it should be a fact. And while environmentalism has become a more trendy topic in recent years, humanity as a whole still isn’t taking the needed measures to ensure the protection of the environment. Methane and carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in years. In fact, Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University said on the topic of methane in the atmosphere, “Here we are. It’s 2020, and it’s not only not dropping. It’s not level. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growth rates we’ve seen in the last 20 years.” Methane, while not as long-lasting as carbon dioxide, is approximately 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than it’s longer-lasting counterpart. And according to NASA, carbon dioxide levels have reached 415ppm (parts per million) in the atmosphere, the highest they’ve been in 650,000 years.


Why exactly is this the case? A large part of it is due to the massive landfills present throughout America, the tons of trash produced by American citizens contribute to the production of landfill gas (methane). Moreover, the usage of fossil fuels is becoming less prevalent throughout the world. Whereas fossil fuels still make up the largest portion of the United States’ energy consumption and production. It’s because of these fossil fuels that carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric levels are still at an all-time high. “So what’s the point of caring?” you may ask, “It probably won’t affect me.” And while it’s possible that current generations won’t be affected by rising sea levels, the melting of the Arctic and the average global temperature rising, the ramifications of the continued destruction of the environment will most certainly be felt by future generations. So what can we do to allow posterity to have it better than we do? We can recycle, we can continue to use environmental products like paper straws (even if they may annoy us), we can pick up trash we see on the side of the road, and we can stop throwing trash out on the side of the road. Environmentalism isn’t just a trend, it’s a battle for the continued survival of Earth. And it’s one we’ll never stop fighting.


- Walter Einhart, TeensForNature Head Editor

Sources:

“Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA, NASA, climate.nasa.gov/.

Deaton, Jeremy. “Methane Levels Reach an All-Time High.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 12 Apr. 2020, www.scientificamerican.com/article/methane-levels-reach-an-all-time-high/.

“Impacts of Mismanaged Trash.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 30 July 2020, www.epa.gov/trash-free-waters/impacts-mismanaged-trash.

Land of Waste: American Landfills and Waste Production, www.saveonenergy.com/land-of-waste/.

“U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis.” Fossil Fuels Account for the Largest Share of U.S. Energy Production and Consumption - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=45096.

“Wastes.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 19 Nov. 2018, www.epa.gov/report-environment/wastes.

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