Natasha Vandamme, Lifestyle Staff Writer
Climate change. It is real, happening now, and caused by humans. Since the Industrial Revolution, average global temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius. This may not seem very important, but the change has certainly had an impact on the Earth. From rising sea levels to species endangerment, climate change has caused enough damage, but what is causing the climate change itself? Humans. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused a major accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, exacerbating the greenhouse gas effect. This not only creates problems with temperatures, ecosystems, species, and natural disasters, but also our oceans. Known as the second climate change problem, ocean acidification is not a well-enough-known issue considering how significant it is. Ocean acidification is when the ocean (a carbon sink) absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide, causing the water to become more acidic; for all the chemistry majors reading this, the formula is H2O + CO2 → H2CO3. Ocean acidification depletes the ocean of bicarbonate minerals and calcium carbonate ions, which shelled creatures and coral reefs need to live. As consequences of climate change, about one-third of coral reefs have already died, another one-third is dying, and the last one-third is still healthy. Not only is ocean acidification harming these creatures, but it is also affecting the other creatures who rely on coral reefs for survival. When coral reefs die, the whole ecosystem goes with it, unfortunately. Overall, climate change is damaging our coral reefs and threatening biodiversity, especially in our oceans. What can humans do to help? People can eat less meat, recycle, thrift shop, switch to more energy efficient practices (such as solar energy), and become more educated. Change starts with awareness. Spreading one’s knowledge about these issues and what people can do to help will make a difference. Everyone can help to create a better future for the earth.
Lizzy Adams, Lifestyle Staff Writer
The ocean is loving, generous, and hopeful. The water embraces bodies in ways that are intimate, especially when the sand caresses your toes and the wind pecks your skin. Water — in lakes, oceans, and rivers — is as mystical as the transparency that defines it. It is essential to the survival of our existence and the interconnectedness with the planet’s system. A trace of peace, it falls from the sky, nourishes the land, and feeds our being; it is more human than we can recognize. The serenity of water is not without cost, and there must be more compassion to the methods in which we misuse her gifts. The plastic we dispose of and the waste that befalls her, is menacing; it is all from our doing of reckless selfishness and obliviousness. Return what is given through caring for the ocean as it has nurtured us — she is open to forgiveness.
Colleen Conradi, Lifestyle Staff Writer
One of my favorite places on Earth would undoubtedly be McArthur-Burney Falls in Northern California. My family used to go camping there in the summer and after one visit, I fell in love with it. It’s an understatement to say camping in Burney is hot. Temperatures quickly climb into the hundreds, so you wake up sweating in your sleeping bag. However, the one, true escape from the heat would be the walk down to the falls themselves. A sweltering walk from the campsite to the beginning of the trail can cause doubts in your mind that a waterfall could be worth it; keep going! Once at the start of the path, you begin to slowly descend on a winding trail down to the pool of the falls. With each step, nature’s air conditioning blesses you with a continuous cooling temperature drop in addition to the spray of mist on your face from the falls. Soon you’re barricaded by trees, moss, rocks, and facing a monstrous waterfall pouring into a deep blue pool at the bottom. The temptation to jump right into the water is almost too much to resist. This refreshing oasis in the midst of such heat and sweat suddenly brings out wonder and admiration for nature. Places like these are a beautiful reminder that we live in on an incredible planet. We couldn’t be luckier to have been planted here on Earth, so take every chance you get to explore and celebrate what nature has to offer!
Samirah Martinez, Lifestyle Staff Writer
As a child growing up in the desert, my weekends were often spent inside with the air conditioning blasting as I watched TV. The desert can be a difficult place to love for many. It’s hot, there’s scorpions, cactuses are spikey, and did I mention it’s hot? I’ll admit that as a child, I wondered why my parents had ever settled down in a place that seemed so uninhabitable. But when I moved away for college, I began to appreciate the hot cauldron I called home. I find that there is nothing that can beat the feeling of being outside early on a desert morning and hearing nothing but a gentle breeze. There is nothing quite as simultaneously scary and silly as hearing coyotes howling just a few feet from your backyard. There is nothing quite as exciting as an unexpected sand storm forcing you to seek shelter. There is nothing like the smell of rain in the desert and the sweet scent that takes over everywhere when the humidity hits the creosote bushes. The desert will always have a special place in my heart, not because of its heat, but because of nature’s miraculous ability to remind me that I am nothing and everything all at once.
Annika Olives, Head Lifestyle Editor
It’s Saturday, and I’m lying on a red-and-blue plaid picnic blanket at La Jolla Shores, reading a collection of short stories and absorbing the rays from the evening sun. The warm day has drawn crowds of people, but it’s mostly calm by this point, even though I go back and forth between my book and worrying I’ll get hit by a whizzing frisbee. Eventually, my friend and I get up to put our feet in the water, and we marvel at the hundreds of tiny clams, whose whole existence seems to consist of trying to not get swept up by the rushing sea.
It’s only the second or third time I’ve gone to the beach this school year, and I suddenly realize how much I take this place for granted. I’ve grown too used to the sound of crashing waves, the brilliant pink and orange sunsets, living somewhere that so many people wish they could be. That afternoon was a reminder that enjoying nature doesn’t have to take the form of a big trip to Joshua Tree or Yosemite. Sometimes it’s simply about enjoying your surroundings with a fresh pair of eyes, like you’re seeing the world around you for the first time.