Climate change brings disaster, disease
Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face today, and it is continuing to grow. Many people don't understand its importance and fall into the false sense that it is not real. We don't understand how negative the consequences of climate change can be, and it will only get worse in the future if we do nothing about it. Many of the consequences can lead to devastated people who lose family members and loved ones, pets, homes, communities, etc.
Climate change causes many negative effects including rising temperature and sea levels, and more common and destructive natural disasters. A warmer climate changes the atmosphere to collect and drop more water, causing dry areas to become drier and wet areas to become wetter, creating more floods in some areas, droughts in others and many more disasters all over the world. The number of people with asthma has quadrupled over the last 20 years, there have been increases in diseases all around the world, and devastating events continue to occur more often.
We have found some solutions to help reduce this problem such as more energy-efficient buildings, incorporating more renewable resources into new projects, and finding ways to reduce toxins released into the air by planes, trucks and automobiles. The goal of educating more people and reducing climate change as quickly as possible may not come easy, but it is a must if we really want to save our planet for the future.
By Andrew Nolan, Boulder
Alternative methods needed to combat opioid crisis
The deaths and overdoses related to opioids have been steadily increasing, and on Oct. 26, President Donald Trump declared a national health emergency.
Since 2015, around 20 million Americans 12 or older have reported having a substance abuse issue. The government is willing to spend $25 billion to help end the opioid crisis, but it must be attached with a plan. Fortunately, Michael Bloomberg's article "A Seven-Step Plan for Ending the Opioid Crisis" provides us with serious precautions that can be taken.
One method Bloomberg discussed to end the opioid crisis is to target the distribution of prescription pills. Many doctors lack the appropriate skills to identify a patient's needs and often end up overprescribing pills or prescribing the wrong ones. Although we shouldn't confuse everyone who is prescribed painkillers as an addict, there are people who truly need opioid treatment who fall into the trap of addiction.
Physicians should learn to implement alternative methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy or biofeedback rather than prescribing pills to patients who are already addicted. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on boosting happiness and encourages patients to change their habits when craving drugs. It helps patients get rid of the negative thoughts that might block them from recovery.
When addicts see how society treats them, they continue to behave negatively with the thought that nobody will ever accept them. When dealing with patients who have an addiction, the goal shouldn't be to cure them but to help manage their illness. There are solutions that could help end the opioid crisis, but it's important that we recognize these and sympathize with the addict.
By Christina Lemm, Boulder
America must lead in reducing plastic pollution
The world is faced with the very pressing issue of plastic pollution in oceanic environments. The hard plastic and microplastics from things like disposable water bottles, plastic bags and food containers poison oceanic life, which could cause harm to humans who consume seafood.
The world uses more than 100 million tons of plastic annually but recycles less than 5 percent of it — 8 million tons are distributed into oceans. Plastic is in high demand because it's such a versatile product that can be used for anything from car parts to water bottles to IV drips, meaning there is no chance we can completely eliminate its use. We can, however, use our technological advances and research to use plastic products that are less harmful to the environment.
Companies around the world are producing new biodegradable and compostable plastic products for both home and corporate use. The company Ecoware produces biodegradable dishware and bioplastic packaging, and Colorado companies like BIOTA make similar products. With new compostable plastic products available, there is no reason to use tougher plastics that can take 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill. The U.S. is one of the biggest producers of plastic litter. In a single day, 223,392 plastic bottles were picked up across the coastline in the United States by volunteers.
With the information and ability to create biodegradable plastic products, why aren't more companies distributing environmentally friendly plastics? Living in America, we have the privilege of having access to environmentally friendly products, and we as a community should be using them to help lessen our impact on the world.
By Amber Micheloni, CU student, Boulder
Lives at stake if nothing is done to stop climate change
Our society is highly reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce energy, and by doing this, we are putting greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, which build up to cause global warming. If not dealt with soon, global warming can threaten our livelihood and home.
As global temperatures rise, extreme weather events will become worse. Floods, heat waves, droughts and hurricanes will become more common and grow in strength. These severe weather events will start to take a toll, and the lives of many innocent people are at stake if nothing is done.
It is our responsibility to find solutions to end the issue of global warming and prevent permanent damage to the health of Earth. Tools like solar and wind energy can help. It is up to us to implement these solutions and finally get rid of the issue of global warming.
By Bradshaw Grady, Boulder