Environmental impacts don’t make an impact

Sara Kozlowski

On March 31, it snowed in Hamden. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to bother everyone who enjoyed 70 degree weather only a few days earlier. Many students, in disbelief, thought the snow had to be an early April Fools joke.

Most were annoyed by the bizarre weather, but didn’t think much about it. But the odd weather is not something that should have been overlooked. It should have been a wake-up call.

The topic of global warming was at the center of media attention during the U.S. presidential election in 2000. Democratic candidate, Al Gore, strongly believed in preserving the environment and protecting it from human impact. He largely believed destructive human behaviors, such as the burning of fossil fuels, were the main causes of climate change, the deterioration of the ozone layer and the melting of the ice caps.

Now, in 2014, the world is experiencing erratic weather patterns–now more than ever–and it is exactly what Gore was predicting. An article was released on April 15, just a little more than two weeks after the unpredicted snowfall. This article was titled “Smog in India, China is changing weather patterns in US, finds study.”

The author of the article explained how toxins from pollution produced by India and China lead to the increased formation of a certain type of cloud, which is what caused the unusual storms. This is why the United States and Canada have been experiencing abnormal weather patterns–like the snowfall on March 31.

Human impact is directly causing our own weather to change.This is horrifying news and no one seems to know anything about it. Sure, the media needs to keep up with current headlines like Malaysians Airlines Flight 370 and the Washington State Mudslide, but this topic is something that impacts every single person on this planet.

It can’t be that no one cares about the Earth; it must be more than that. According to a Gallup poll released last month, 57 percent of those surveyed believed climate change is due to pollution from human activities. This shows 57 percent of people know what’s going on around them, but environmental problems rarely make national news.

The BP oil spill in 2010 is one of the rare examples where something that impacted the environment made an appearance in national news. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana. It was considered the worst oil spill in United States history, yet after only a few weeks, the impact of the spill gradually disappeared from media attention and quickly became a thing of the past.

This is typical. The BP oil spill was a huge deal in 2010. Oil leaked for 87 days straight, but the impact of the spill on ecosystems in the past four years remains under the radar. Smog will also continue to impact us in the future.

Most people care about the environment, but we need to start showing it more. This current indifference and displaced responsibility to take care of the Earth needs to end. It’s about time we started making this a big deal.