by Melissa, Coastal Studies for Girls
As I am living at Coastal Studies for Girls I get a chance to be more involved in the environment. I get the opportunity to enjoy, explore, and study so many different parts of nature. Every day that I walk during Solo, our daily ritual, I see nature at it’s most beautiful. The thought of home, in the city, makes me imagine how the beauty I am seeing could be damaged because of cities and because of human impact in general.
Over the last thirty years, the population of the Adelie penguins in Antarctica has decreased from 32,000 breeding pairs to 11,000. This is the result of human actions in our planet. The changes in our planet became more apparent after the Industrial Revolution. This was when many of our advanced technologies were created. A really important creation that occurred during the industrial age was the invention of cars. This changed our whole way of life. We have come to depend on the very things that are ruining our planet.
The invention of cars was very helpful in society for transportation but not for our environment. The constant use of cars, especially today, means an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide that we are putting into our atmosphere; this is not good for our planet. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which traps heat from the sun. Although carbon dioxide is needed in our planet for warmth (it keeps us from freezing), too much of it is extremely harmful for our environment. The increase in greenhouse gases means our planet is getting too hot.
We depend on so many new technologies that everyday we are consuming so much energy and releasing so many greenhouse gases. Over time, as the population of humans increases, so do our greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The increase in temperature that we are causing through our profuse consumption is impacting the ocean. Ice is melting and the sea level is rising. This is the cause of the decrease in the population of the penguins, whose habitat is being destroyed. Many other species will also be at risk of extinction if we keep consuming and emitting so much.
Not only does the rise in sea level impact animals, it also impacts humans; the rise of the sea level means the destruction and flooding of our coastal cities.
The melting of ice is a huge issue. Ice is one of the most light-reflective surfaces in our planet but the ocean is not. The ocean is dark and if we melt most of the ice in the ocean, what will be left is black water. Black water absorbs more light, which means that our planet will heat up even more. Global warming impacts many different species. Changes to our planet changes animals' habitats and the way they live. Some species may be able to adjust, but many can’t or won’t.
Being at Coastal Studies for Girls and having the opportunity to gain a new appreciation for nature has made me realize the damage that we humans do to the environment with our mass consumption of energy. I have also realized that I want to be involved in the protection of our environment. I am going to reduce consumption and encourage others to do the same. Hopefully I will be able to contribute to the conservation of the beauty of the earth -- the variety of habitats and the different species living in them.
Coastal Studies for Girls is the country’s only residential science and leadership semester school for 10th grade girls. CSG is dedicated to girls who have a love for learning and discovery, an adventurous spirit, and a desire to challenge themselves.