Updated: Jul 5

We’ve all heard about the concept of climate change–the earth is getting warmer as greenhouse gasses trap heat in the atmosphere, glaciers are melting, turtles are dying, etc. But as we hear these things again and again, it’s easy to block them out and tell ourselves that we don’t really need to be doing anything, that global warming really isn’t that bad, and that we can just go on with our lives as normal. After all, we still have drinking water, an adequate amount of food, and a warm bed to sleep in at night.

However, there’s more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than at any point in time in the last 800,000 years. The forecasts that scientists have made for the next century are incredibly dire.

Human activity such as deforestation and fossil fuel burning have caused an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the most immediate effect of this is the rise in global temperature. Since the 19th century, the earth’s temperature has risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this may not seem like a lot, the effects that it has had on the planet have been far from small. In addition, scientists predict that temperatures are likely to rise by 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming century.

As a result of the increase in temperature, the oceans have become warmer, causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt, which then add to the water in the sea. Scientists have estimated that over 4,000 gigatons (equivalent to four billion metric tons) of ice sheets have melted into the ocean, causing weather patterns to change and extreme weather events to occur. Additionally, the sea levels have risen nearly 7 inches in the past century due to melting ice. Scientists believe that this could have massive effects in various places; Venice, for example, is expected to be completely underwater in the next fifty years. But it’s not just the increase in sea water that is causing problems, but the decrease in glacier ice. Normally, the melting glaciers in the northern hemisphere provide a steady stream of freshwater to surrounding ecosystems every summer, and every winter, snowfall replenishes those glaciers. In recent years, however, glaciers have been melting faster than snowfall can replace them. When they’re gone, the animals and plants living in those ecosystems won’t have a steady stream of freshwater.

Extreme events are also increasing in ferocity as a result of climate change. Tropical storms, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, extreme heat, and drought have also grown in frequency and intensity over the years, and this trend is predicted to continue in the coming years. All of these not only have a profound effect on the ecosystems and wildlife on earth, but on humans too—not only because the world will be harder to live in, but because we’re connected in ways that we can’t even imagine to many of the plants and animals that live on earth.

The bottom line is that, as this way of life continues, the costs of climate change will become costlier and harder to control. Perhaps we are living comfortably now–but what about in fifty years, and what about the next generation? The effects of climate change will continue to worsen unless we make significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take care of the planet we were given.


Hi! I’m Justin Sather. I’m 11 years old and working to create a healthier planet for my friends, family, the next generations, and my favorite animal–FROGS!

When I learned frogs are getting sick and dying because they are sensitive to the environment- I wanted to learn more. I learned that frogs breathe and drink through their skin and pollution, pesticides, and dirty pond and river water are some of the causes frogs are on the decline. When I learned frogs are indicator species–I knew frogs were a true sign that the planet needs our help.

My determination and work to save the frogs and help the planet led me to legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall. Dr. Goodall challenged me to take my work one step further and focus on plastic pollution. She told me there is only a small window of time before there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish if nothing is done.

Since then, I have made tremendous efforts to learn the root cause of single-use plastics, the downfalls of recycling, and the negative effects plastic has on sea life and human health.

I’ve won numerous awards for my work including the President’s Environmental Youth Award and have been featured on Spectrum and ABC News for my efforts.

I’m also a youth Ambassador for Plastic Pollution Coalition and started “The Parallel Projects Campaign” in which I work with pen pals around the world to inspire youth to take better care of our planet.

My current project is working with The OceanClean Up’s Interceptor Boat Project which is cleaning up the most polluted rivers in the world. I’m working to support the next boat that is scheduled to start cleanups in Ballona Creek in Los Angeles. I believe the Interceptor Boat is a great starting point on bringing awareness to local students about our world’s plastic pollution crisis and is one step closer to creating a cleaner planet.

Learn More Here:

What exactly is groundwater? Like the name suggests, groundwater is found in cracks of soil, sand and rock in the Earth, comprising almost all of the available freshwater [1]. It’s also one of human’s biggest water supplies: farmers rely on groundwater to irrigate their crops and pools rely on groundwater to fill their depths. This water we consume—that we bathe in, drink, and use for countless other purposes—is being used up in large amounts daily.

Two Tuesdays ago (March 20) was World Water Day, and its theme was “Groundwater, making the invisible visible.” All this water beneath the Earth’s surface is crucial beyond belief, yet its sources are being depleted at record rates. Take California for example, its recent drought causing California’s groundwater to be used up more quickly [2]. In California’s case, this used up groundwater may be really hard to recover naturally. According to UC Riverside research, 85% of Californians rely on groundwater as a water source, specifically private wells [3]. However due to the high volume of people using it, exacerbated by the drought, it’s changing up the ground’s density composition, resulting in land surface sinking [4].

It’s estimated that groundwater takes three years to recover without human activity hindering it. With constant movement of humans and constant dependency on its resources, researchers doubt it will ever recover. The government passed a law in efforts to preserve it: the SGMA (or Sustainable Groundwater Management Act). SGMA essentially states that sustainability agencies can control all future plans to preserve groundwater. SGMA also states that water is a shared asset and rules can be created to limit its use [5].

Water is what makes Earth so different from the rest of the planets in our solar system—it’s why life exists and humans are able to roam and learn like we do.

Water is important, but how exactly can we preserve what we have? A few ways we can proactively do our part can be regularly testing our water quality, using only the water you need (cut down on shower time, wash full loads of laundry instead of multiple small batches, etc.), and remaining aware about the state of our Earth since changes can affect the quality of groundwater, and just staying informed in general [6].

It’s a sacred natural resource, one that we should do our best to preserve. As nature works its forces, water, and clean groundwater, is what truly distinguishes planet Earth from the solar system. We should work together to save the water we have.

Sources Referenced





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Cover Image: Encyclopedia Britannica