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Humanity’s future is dependent on our perspectives and how we see and act on climate change. We define climate change as the overall change in region’s temperature over time. With this definition, some indications include: extreme high/low temperatures, rising sea levels, and exposure to diseases and microbial pathogens. Due to these causes, various effects involve: disruption of ecosystem, animal extinction, and drastic change in temperatures. It is important to see how climate affects us all so here is a historical narrative created by our team.


Since the 1800s, scientists have been aware of the changes in climate change. They explained that climate change is an issue due to the evidence of the ice age. In the 1950s, scientists noticed an increasing pattern of the Earth’s temperatures so they had a sufficient amount of funding to explore this important problem. During their research with past species, they discovered that not only was climate change the cause of some species extinction but also that the release of carbon dioxide was a major contributor to the increasing temperature. This led to a political push for action to be taken on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Clean Air Act created in 1963. The Clean Air Act aimed to improve air quality and reduce air pollution by controlling usage of certain gas emissions. Additionally, oil companies were main contributors to high gas emissions. Some examples are: Exxon mobile, Shell, and BP Chevron. These have helped the environment as it reduces air pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes, and improved people’s overall health. However, this act did not benefit these oil companies who already knew about the reality of climate change, which resulted in them and other people spreading false, or altering, information about the severity of this problem in the 1980s. For example, James Hansen, former director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a professor directing the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, argued that climate change is a real problem and showed proof through three possible future scenarios of climate change in his 1988 study (SkepticalScience, 2018). However, Patrick Michaels in the testimony to Congress attempted to downplay Hansen’s research by only presenting one scenario which made it seem that his argument was exaggerated, and thus, created a gap for uncertainty (SkepticalScience, 2018). Through the mis and dis-information of these companies, people started to not see climate change as immediate concern for their health and future.


From then on, more initiatives have been taken to close the bridge of this dichotomy. The Paris Climate Agreement, signed by the UN members on November 4, 2016, was a pivotal moment for all us. This was an international law to strengthen countries together in hopes of combating climate change, specifically to decrease 2 degrees Celsius or below in temperature (UN, 2018). When Donald Trump became US President, he nominated longtime climate denier, Rick Perry, for energy secretary and former CEO of Exxon mobile, Rex Tillerson, as secretary of State (Friends of the Earth, 2018). This meant that climate skeptics and people with oil company relations had a strong position in the government, impacting the actions taken on climate change. Tillerson was later replaced by a former CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who had major ties with big oil companies after attempting to persuade Trump to not back out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Today, organizations and activists in the community (e.g., Al Gore, Alexandria Villaseñor) are still fighting for what they believe is right to preserve the environment, and essentially, the Earth.

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Global Warming throughout the years (NASA)

CO2 throughout the years (NASA)

Arctic Sea ice level minimum (NASA)

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