Earth’s Ten Year Challenge

Ronee Fritcher, Staff Writer

As 2019 has kicked off you have probably seen everybody’s “10-year challenge” showing how they have changed and essentially “glowed up”. The definition of a “glow up” is the complete transformation of a person’s appearance for the better. While seeing how your friends and family have changed over the years surprises you, there is a more important “10-year challenge” people should be shocked about. There is a major difference in the Earth since 2009, and it is horrifying.

One of the most visible impacts on our planet is deforestation. In just 2017 we lost 40 football field’s worth of trees every single minute. A regular football field is 160 feet wide and 360 feet long. Could you imagine how much forest was lost in just an hour? In just one minute that is a loss of more than 39 million acres of trees.

Between 2009 and 2019, the Amazon rainforest has lost about 23,160 square miles of forest. You’re probably thinking “there are still plenty of trees, just look outside”, but forests are the key for storing carbon, helping to alleviate the impacts of carbon emissions. If we keep losing trees, we will also lose an abundance of wildlife, including the critically endangered orangutan and other beloved species.

What about the toll that global warming has taken on the Arctic? According to NASA, Arctic ice is depleting at a rate of 12.8%. Global warming is greatly affecting our planet. Since the Industrial Revolution, the planet has become about 1.8℉ warmer. This may not seem like it is so terrible; however, in order to avoid a climate catastrophe we need to get the warming down to below 2.7℉ by the end of the century.

Take a look at the accompanying  image for this article. Horrifying right? The climate change has had such a devastating impact on one of the world’s most iconic and loved species, the polar bear. These lovely creatures rely on Arctic sea ice for hunting seals but that ice is melting. The melting ice indirectly causes them to starve. They cannot find food and they have to travel far to find anything to eat. While most populations are currently perceived to being pretty decent, they are projected to greatly decline 30% by the year 2050.

Polar bears are not the only animal affected by this climate change. Both Black Rhinos and Southern White Rhinos are on the critically endangered list. The Northern White Rhino is thought to be extinct in the wild. Global warming has had a dramatic impact on the world’s frozen glaciers. Between 2003 and 2010, Alaska’s glaciers lost a total of 46 billion tons of ice.

Only recently the world has woken up to it’s terrible problem of plastic pollution. We throw 80 million tons of plastic into our oceans every ten years. Here is a scary fact for you, by 2050 the amount of plastic in our oceans will outweigh the amount of fish.

In addition to the pollution, the warming of the oceans has killed half of the coral on Australia’s northern Great Barrier Reef, and they are likely to not recover.

As humans we are naturally selfish (in my opinion), but to be killing the animals that live on our planet, to kill the nature around us and to be destroying the planet that we live on at such an alarming rate is very inhumane of us. Not enough people are paying attention to what is going on in the world around them even though it is so easy to see that we are killing our beautiful home, well, she is not so beautiful anymore. We, as humans need to put a stop to what we are doing. Instead of killing Earth, why aren’t we trying to love her and nurture her?