Concerned About Carbon 

Staff Writer: Kaetlin Bunner  

At this point, everyone knows that large amounts of carbon dioxide and air pollution are an issue. It does not come as a surprise to anyone that our planet is hurt when too much carbon dioxide is emitted. However, many brush it off as a minor misfortune and don’t realize how much damage is being done. That is why it is important to understand the effects that pollution can have on the Earth. 

The Lorax tried to warn us of the effects of poor environmental awareness. 
Photo Credit: TIME Newsletters 

Over 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year. In 2019, the Unites States produced 5.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Georgia alone emitted 8 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016. This number is quickly increasing each year. Major cities especially, such as our very own Atlanta, tend to produce large quantities of carbon dioxide and release air pollution. “Our local area alone produces so much pollution. I’d hate to imagine how much the world is contributing,” worries Merixtell Camacho Aispuro, Woodstock High School senior. 

Our polluted city  
Photo Credit: Clarksville Online 

Carbon dioxide is known for deteriorating the ozone layer and leaving it strained with holes. The ozone layer helps protect the planet by de-intensifying UV rays. With the ozone layer thinning, there is less to protect us, and the heat from the sun is more intense than it should be. This leads to global warming. As the Earth continues to heat up it runs out of ways to compensate, and eventually we will run out of resources, species, and habitats. This includes human habitats, as 19% of the Earth is expected to be so hot that it will be completely unhabitable by 2070. 

The Earth can naturally absorb some carbon dioxide via oceans and plant life. However, there is now more carbon dioxide in the air than Earth can absorb, leaving an abundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide’s effects on the environment are concerning, but the direct effect it has on humans is even more concerning. Living amongst too much air pollution can weaken and damage your lungs, worsen respiratory issues like asthma, and even develop into cancer. Our oxygen supply is also gradually decreasing as carbon levels increase.  

Of course, many animals are also losing their oxygen supply as well, but a more pressing concern is that they are actively losing their environments due to the heat. Fish are struggling to survive in polluted waters, the ice caps are melting at an alarming rate, animals who are native to ice caps are suffering, and many areas are becoming too hot for some animals to handle. “I wish more people cared about the ice caps,” states Lonnie Schaefer, Ohio resident.  

When it comes to environmental concerns, there isn’t much that we as individuals can do, except educate ourselves and urge political representatives to pass environmentally friendly policies, such as limiting the use of nonrenewable pollutants that large companies can use.   

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