On March 22, 2017, thousands of people all across the globe gathered in major cities to march for science.
From Washington D.C. to Boston, and all the way to Paris and Frankfurt, people gathered to protest the recent rise in anti-scientific government actions.
These actions ranged from Trump’s recent budget plan, which according to the Washington Post would cut 31 percent of the EPA’s funding, to the Australian government rejecting the Climate Change Authority’s report on potential policy changes, as reported by Gizmodo.
The march may not have been solely focused on climate change, but for many it was their primary reason for marching.
And for good reason too, climate change is a hot-button issue that impacts everyone.
According to a mid-January NASA report, 2016 was the third year in a row to set a new record for average surface temperatures.
These massive temperature increases are caused by the massive amount of carbon dioxide, or CO2, buildup in the atmosphere.
Throughout the Earth’s history, the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have fluctuated, generally ranging from around 180 parts per million to 300 parts per million.
For as far back as scientists can measure, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have never gone above 300 parts per million.
However, NASA finds that since 1950 the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has skyrocketed, leading to the current level of 400 parts per million.
For perspective, in just 67 years, humanity has managed to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by around 33 percent, something that would naturally take thousands of years to happen.
Yet despite this and many other glaring examples of climate change, the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge the facts.
Trump famously tweeted in November 2012 that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Additionally, Trump’s pick for EPA director, Scott Pruitt, said in a March CNBC interview that he doesn’t believe that CO2 is the leading factor in climate change.
Therefore, it can be assumed that for the next four years the federal government will do little to stymie the progression of CO2 buildup and climate change.
This leaves the burden of fighting climate change on the shoulders of state governments. Much like the federal government, state governments have the ability to enact laws and statutes to fight climate change.
California and New York are instituting renewable energy requirements, low-carbon fuel standards, vehicle regulations and greenhouse gas targets.
The question then arises, how is North Carolina doing?
On one hand, the Citizen-Times reported that as of March 2017, North Carolina has pulled out of a massive multi-state lawsuit opposing former president Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is a step in the right direction.
But on the other hand, in 2012 the North Carolina state legislature passed a law that bans the state from basing coastal policies on the latest scientific predictions of how much the sea level will rise.
This law is in addition to Bill 843, which makes it harder to build and operate wind and solar farms in the state.
These decisions follow on the heels of repeated attempts from Republican lawmakers to repeal the 2007 North Carolina Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
Much like our rather short-sighted federal administration, the North Carolina state government is doing its best to ignore climate change.
They all seem to have it in their heads that so long as they deny climate change, it doesn’t exist or affect them.
It is frustrating to know that these officials have all of this evidence and more to prove that climate change is real and that CO2 is its primary contributor, and yet still deny it.
These decisions are ignorant, unintelligent and shortsighted, to the point that they act in support of misguided beliefs rather than in support of the well-being constituents.
But what’s more frustrating is the people who don’t care. The people who couldn’t be bothered about the issue either way.
They don’t think to ask why water temperatures and the overall global climate are growing warmer, or why the seasons are being disrupted, they only care that it disrupts their personal lives.
Either way, climate change is real, it’s happening and neither our state or federal governments are willing to do anything about it.
So it’s up to you to do something, to act, to fight, because who else is going to care if you do not?
Q Russell is sophomore journalism major from Charlotte, North Carolina