Climate Crisis: Causing Critiques And Concerns

City High students share how they feel about climate change.

Victoria Weckmann, Marketing Editor

There are a lot of articles available that talk about climate change and its effects. However, not everyone is fully aware of what is going on revolving around the environment and this has led to some differing opinions on the “climate crisis.”

“I don’t know much [about climate change] but I’m always open to learning more about [it]. I know that it’s been leading to extreme temperature change and causing many concerns,” Alexandra Le ‘22 said.

According to a climate survey taken among City High School students, 98 percent of students believe in global warming, or climate change. This survey also revealed that 16 percent of students felt they know a little about climate change, 60 percent felt they know a medium amount, and 24 percent felt that they know a lot.

The survey also included a list of eight recent events which have happened as a result of climate change or worsened climate change, and asked students to list whether or not they had heard of them before.

Some of these events included recent fires in the Amazon Rainforest, Iowa City declaring a climate emergency, and that the polar vortex that hit Iowa last year was scientifically linked to climate change.

The most unknown event was that a Russian ship was found abandoned at the bottom of the ocean carrying a nuclear reactor leaking radiation. This question revealed that eight percent of those surveyed had ever heard about this while 94 percent had not.

On the other side of the scale, 98 percent of students were aware of the fires happening in the Amazon rainforest while two percent had never heard of this.

When all of the events were averaged out, 60.5 percent of students had heard of the events and 39.5 percent had not.

At the beginning of the survey, 94 percent of students felt that climate change concerned them. However, after reviewing the list of recent events, 92 percent of students reported feeling more concerned about climate change than they did prior to taking the survey.

When asked how the events regarding climate change made people feel, 40 out of 50 responses used words such as ‘powerless,’ ‘depressed,’ ‘frustrated,’ ‘mad,’ and ‘terrified.’

Some of the statements left indicate feelings of fear such as, “I feel like we need to do things starting today to make change. If we keep with these same habits, the Earth is never going to be able to heal,” as well as, “I’m terrified, people need to get their s**t together,” and, “climate change makes me feel worried about the future, more people need to take part in helping to save the earth. The US government needs to stand up and take responsibility for this crisis. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right now.”

Other statements reflected ideas of anger, like, “I feel like dismantling capitalism by hand,” and, “I am really frustrated because clearly so many things are going on as a result of climate change, yet the people in power still refuse to do anything about it.”

Others expressed feelings of helplessness by saying, “I am scared and wanting to do something but I’m also afraid that if I do something it isn’t going to be enough,” and, “you literally can not change a thing. You might be preaching on your Instagram story about it but are you really practicing it? And say you are practicing it, how will you get seven billion others to care about climate change?”

Finally, some people reflected little to no concern with statements like, “everything litty, I love when it’s hot.”

Despite the level of concern that is shared among students, 20 out of 50 students reported that they do nothing at all or only recycle.

“I do not participate in school strikes for climate change, but I’m not quite sure if I want to participate,” said Seth Hiatt ‘21. “I would consider it because I’m aware of the effect that we have on not just Earth, but the atmosphere. If climate change goes on for much longer, then our very existence is threatened.”

The fears that people have regarding climate change also go beyond just general concern.

“Sometimes I wake up or randomly get this paranoia about Earth and how in the future I might not live my life to the fullest. I’m terrified about what’s going to happen to us,” Hiatt said. “Eventually there will be so many tornadoes, hurricanes, and storms that we won’t have the money or time to recover from these natural disasters. Most don’t comprehend how much the weather affects our lives.”

Due to their concern around the condition of the environment, people have become interested in climate change.

“Climate change interests me because it’s a very real issue that’s happening right here, right now. The fact that my peers have little to no interest in it shocks me,” Le said.

Despite how others may view climate change, there is deep fear rooted in some people about the state of the environment.

“When I hear about climate change, my heart stops for a second. It is a real issue going on right now and the fact that no one seems concerned about it makes me worry,” Le said.