Biden environmental plan sparks hope for battle against climate change

According to the NOAA 2019 Global Climate Summary, “the average rate of Earth’s temperature is on average increasing at rates twice as great since 1981”; consequently, environmentally conscious teenagers around the world like students from Homestead are inspired to initiate environmental ratification, faithful about some of the upcoming changes proposed by Biden’s plans for tackling the ongoing problem of climate change.

Katrina Liberman, senior, specifically has been putting forth extensive research on the ways in which the community in Mequon can adjust to promote the reduction of its carbon footprint. “US leaders demonstrate a lack of prioritization of sustainability, environmental protection or anything of that sort beyond blanket statements and lack of action. It is clear that the United States’ politicians and leaders do not truly value the environment, no matter how many of their constituents urge them to take action,” Liberman said. “I am still hopeful that our generation will be able to pick up after the generations before us, but unfortunately it is very difficult to see a better future when currently there is being little done to get there.”

The state of planet Earth is continuing to be impacted by rising temperatures as the new year begins, despite the lessening emphasis of its extremities in the media; with escalating rates of wildlife extinction, habitat loss, water scarcity, and extreme weather patterns correlating with a perpetuating cycle of human-inflicted deforestation, pollution, and other interferences. However, as President-elect Joe Biden comes into office this Jan. 20, stark oppositions will be seen in terms of the plans for counteracting the environmental crisis, which appear vastly distinct from the initiatives taken in the more recent years of American history.

Abigail Horwitz, president of the Environmental Club at Homestead exemplified the cruciality of government and administrative prioritization of climate change reform; “I believe the United States must take substantial action immediately in the protection of the environment, as we are already at a no-going-back point in terms of global warming, and any damage that has been done is almost entirely irreversible,” Horwitz said. “There are many different ways of approaching this issue, but the biggest thing that can be done is implementing enormous amounts of worker and monetary investment in the renewable energy industry.”

The Clean Power Plan was one of ex-president Obama’s signature environmental policies, and it required the energy sector to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030; however, in October 2017 it was rolled back by Trump’s EPA. Trump and his administration dropped climate change from the list of national threats, loosened regulations on air pollution, and heavily altered many previously implemented laws and regulations, (such as the Endangered Species Act) to better fit economic considerations. Upon reviewing Trump’s decisions back in 2017,

David Doniger, the director of the climate and clean air program at the natural resources defense council said that “We may have to endure four years of an alternative universe in which a lot of time is wasted. We’re in overtime on climate change, so wasting four years is going to have consequences for our children and grandchildren.”Thus, after the aftermath of his presidency, many of the younger generations are tirelessly demanding change, feeling the apprehensions from the detrimental harm this predicament will have on their futures; specifically, several U.S. students, including Liberman, have brought forth ideas to their school and community authority members to thwart these effects and bring further awareness to the requisite vitalities of improving the environment’s current conditions.

“In 2018, the United States alone emitted 6,667 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalent, with 27% of emissions incurring from the electricity sector, making the electricity sector the highest emitter of greenhouse gases, coupled with the transportation sector,” Liberman said. “Solar energy is an attractive and relatively financially sound alternative to fossil fuels; however, the untapped potential lies in the public/private school sector, where solar energy is relatively unpopular in the Midwestern region.”Extensively researching the worthiness of solar panel installation in Homestead High School, Liberman has written a paper for her AP Research class outlining that while some concerns may arise from a financial perspective, the benefits of such an investment would outweigh the losses, as the school could then both contribute to the protection of the home of its students and spark the much-needed conversation about renewable energy in the MTSD community.

According to Liberman’s research abstract, her paper “seeks to assess the feasibility of incorporating solar energy into Homestead High School’s electrical grid in order to contribute to the ongoing national effort to combat climate change.”

“I think it is absolutely necessary for every single person living on Earth to care about the environment. Not only does it affect you in the present, but the environment is something that will outlive the entire human race,” Liberman said.

Now more than ever heated debates will continue to sweep across the planet, as politicians, leaders, and citizens alike advocate for or refute the necessity of heightened plans and investments in sustainability; meanwhile, our lands and waters scorch at alarming rates, swiftly continuing to threaten the sources which all of Earth’s inhabitants heavily depend on.

“There is a growing concern that environmental protection policies are “too radical,” but this idea is only further pushing us back in our progress,” Horwitz said. “Our environmental struggles were more evident in the Trump-era than ever before, with many parts of California destroyed in fires, the worst hurricanes the United States has seen, and the hottest temperatures recorded in nearly every part of the country over this past summer. All of this, and yet, there were refusal and denial in the face of an impending crisis.

The Biden environmental protection plan is going to be game-changing. The greatest thing about his plan… is his economic investments in clean energy, which will not only create a source of non-fossil fuel energy but create jobs in that sector as well. The plan is able to see clean energy as not just an investment in the planet, but an investment in the nation’s economy as well.

As for the initiatives that all citizens can take to fight the ongoing issue of climate change, many individuals are making lifestyle changes like researching before purchasing cars or clothing products, reducing meat consumption, refraining from utilizing single-use plastics, and buying more local produce to minimize their carbon footprint.

“No amount of capital is worth the permanent damage that our planet takes every time we choose profit over sustainability,” Liberman said. “Despite the lack of priority and overall disinterest in tackling climate change, if we as constituents of the United States Government truly show that climate change is our top priority and issue, then it is certain that our government will listen.”

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