I’m sure you’ve all seen the photo of the huskys running through melted ice water in Greenland. Bar the patches of snow atop the hills in the distance and the huskys themselves it could easily be a photo of the Caribbean. It perfectly exemplifies the threat of climate change and what it is doing to our planet.

This isn’t a ‘phase’ that we are going through. It isn’t a natural change in our weather systems. It isn’t normal. It’s time to stop shrugging off the obvious warning signs and start taking action. While many of the worlds leaders remain ignorant over the threat, we continue to destroy the planet at an unprecedented rate. The worlds temperatures are rising and we are experience devastating weather events worryingly regularly. Global sea levels are rising at approximately 3mm per year according to Met Eireann. This may seem like a relatively small amount but it will have devastating consequences if we don’t do anything about it.

It worries me that so many grown adults refuse to believe the scientific evidence and instead insist that climate change is some hoax made up by the government to take our money. It’s a selfish way of thinking from people that are unlikely to suffer the gravest consequences. Nothing about Greenland seeing temperatures 15 degrees above normal is acceptable and while the change in weather might lead to nicer Irish summers our delicately balanced ecosystem experiences immeasurable damage. It probably doesn’t matter to 50 year old Dave from Shankill that the polar bears home is literally melting under their feet or that the Hawksbill sea turtle is characterized as critically endangered but if he knew what the real dangers were then he’d start being a bit more concerned.

Until we start taking the threat seriously our planet will continue to suffer. Getting a keep cup and refusing plastic bags is a start but more needs to be done on a systematic level to address the problem. Over 70% of harmful emissions are caused by major industries. Our future needs to take precedence over profit and sacrifices will need to be made for the benefit of our children and our children’s children. We, as citizens, need to put more pressure on our government to enforce change. Of course, as individuals we have a responsibly to be better. Very simple actions can have a very important impact. For example, electing to take public transport rather than cars help reduce the pressure on our roads and reduce pollution. Avoiding single use plastic is another step we can take to limit our impact on the planet. In the long term, a switch to hybrid or electric cars should be considered. However, if we continue to appease to major industries, who are the greatest contributors to pollution, then we will not see sufficient change.

One of the things that suffers most as a result of climate change is our wildlife. We mentioned how polar bears are dying as a result of the melting ice caps and also the plight of the poor hawksbill sea turtle who is on the brink of extinction (The National Geographic,) . As well as them, the South China Tiger is classified as endangered and it is said that there may not be any more in the wild with just 100 in captivity (The National Geographic). Meanwhile, the rainforests are being cut down, destroying the homes of thousands of species of animals and plants. This is completely our responsibility. We created it and we must fix it.

We have already seen the dramatic consequences of climate change with extreme weather being experienced across Europe and across the world. Temperatures have reached dangerously high levels in America to the extent that road signs have literally melted. However, it is not too late to save our world. There is a huge amount of work to do and both governments and citizens will need to contribute. We have a chance to ensure the future of our planet but we need major change and we need it now.