Local Pollution

Manuel Zamora, Editor & Chief / Features Editor

There are many predictions to how the world may end. We picture meteors falling from space, a supervolcano covering the world in a thin layer of ash, or even technology taking over the world. While we expect the world to go out with a bang, the realest threat to our existence is something we can see in our own backyards: climate change. One of the most controversial topics of the modern day, the existence accelerated climate change as a result of human action sparks arguments throughout the political and social realm. In truth, climate change is one of, if not the biggest threats to life and something must be done to slow it’s effects on wildlife and ourselves.

    Southern California has suffered the effects of climate change for decades. Each day it is becoming worse and containing it is becoming harder. One of the prime examples on the toll of human intervention in the environment are the invasive wood borer bugs. Originating in South East Asia, the borer bugs made their way to SoCal through wooden pallets. These bugs carry fungus that is lethal to trees, and now there are over 12 different species of bugs that literally tear through the tree population. In turn, the entire food chain is thrown off balance and it is detrimental to the habitats formed in our regions.

    Humans have had a more direct effect on the environment as well, and it’s even worse. Placed in a very ecodiverse plot of land in Simi Valley with the purpose to test rocket engines, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory has contaminated the surrounding area with nuclear waste for more decades. Chemical drainage flows through the area, even reaching nearby Summer Camps. It’s in places like these that we see the most need for environmental change. We’ve seen the effects that nuclear energy has on the human body in relatively small waves, causing cancers among other diseases. This effect is placed 100 fold on the soil and to the rest of the ecosystem through a food chain domino effect. As the chain flows, the poison in the system of one organism is consumed by the next.

    While the effects seem helpless, there is still hope. Many organizations like the Santa Susana Mountain Association are doing their part to help clean up and reverse climate change. With several partnerships, among those Boeing, John Luker and his colleagues are dedicating their work to preserving wildlife in the Santa Susana region. One of the most interesting plans is to create a wildlife crossing over the 101 freeways. This is a result of an alarming rate of mountain lion deaths as a result of them trying to cross the busy freeway. Country as well as state officials have decided to help oversee this creation. Nevertheless, in the realm of politics nothing is out of reach. The opposition do not believe these types of measures to be the answers. They do not believe that climate change is a threat to their lives and decide to take the capital gains over the environmental ones. The reason climate change remains so controversial is because there is such a huge following on both sides, making it hard for progress to be made.

The great thing about climate activism is that you don’t need a degree to take part. The change starts with the individual and there are many way to be involved from home. For one, you can get in contact with policy makers and government officials to show them that this issue is of importance to us. They make the decisions that bind us to the law and our influence shapes a better environment. Another way is through the spread of awareness. Show people the truth and appeal to their emotions. They need to feel the way climate change affects them. There’s always something you can do to make the world a little better.