Recently, Donald Trump has gone public in his announcement to try to remove the United States from the Paris Agreement. This agreement states that all countries that are involved will work toward combating climate change. This agreement requires all involved countries to work to keep the global climate change at least two degrees Celsius below pre-industrial temperatures. This basically means that before the industrial revolution, there were fewer greenhouse gases polluting the atmosphere and raising temperatures and with the Paris Agreement there would be a global effort to reduce global temperatures to what they were before there was a major pollution issue.
While this is bad news globally, I think it is necessary to shine some light on the people who are more affected by climate change than anyone. These people are the millions of people who are living in developing countries.
When considering climate change, it is important to take developing countries into account. Sure, everyone is affected by climate change, but not everyone is affected equally.
According to the World Health Organization, about 25% of death and disease worldwide is linked to climate change and pollution. This is especially true in sub-Saharan African countries where pollution-related deaths are 10% higher than in other areas of the world. This is due to poor water and air quality. The people who live in these countries do not have the same kind of access to clean water and other resources that are readily available in developed countries.
So why should we care? We should care because according to the Global Atmospheric Pollution Forum, the main causes of air pollution are the combustion of coal, gas and oil to generate electricity, burning diesel and gasoline to power vehicles. These sources of pollution are abundant in developed countries. Those who live in developed countries are creating a majority of the pollution that is causing death and destruction not only at home but for people who have fewer resources to turn to in order to avoid death and disease related to water and air pollution.
There are steps that everyone can take to improve the quality of the environment all over the world, however. I will list some below.
1. Try to reduce your carbon footprint. Calculate your carbon footprint here and learn how to take action to reduce your involvement in climate change.
2. Support the cause! Sign petitions and donate to causes that support America staying in the Paris Agreement as well as other causes that support reducing climate change! There are many petitions on change.org and a simple search for local environmental supporters can help you get involved.
3. If you have a personal car, try to reduce how much you drive. This reduces the amount burning fuel you are releasing into the atmosphere and therefore reduces air pollution. This can be done by taking public transit, biking (if possible) or carpooling with others wherever you may need to go.
4. Simply spreading awareness can be helpful to any cause.
It is time to think of this planet and think about how the state of the environment is affecting the entire population, especially those who lack resources that we often take for granted. The human race quite literally has the whole world in their hands and it is time that we treat Earth with the respect she deserves. This is our only home, it is time to protect it and all of its inhabitants.