Protecting the environment is one of the most important battles the U.S. faces in the coming years. If the high rate of pollution continues, there will be grave consequences not just in the U.S., but across the entire planet.
Carbon-emitting machines like cars are a significant contributor to the global pollution rate. Vehicle neglect, for instance, is a major problem for the environment, and one that’s easily preventable. Not only does vehicle neglect cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a year, it can lead to more carbon emissions being discharged into the air from faulty exhaust systems.
Luckily, there are programs trying to phase-out the use of gasoline in the near future, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. Environment News Service reports that Gov. Cuomo’s campaign will focus on electronic vehicles by adding charging stations, employer incentives for employees making the switch to electric, and general outreach.
“This multi-pronged campaign will help in this administration’s efforts to fight climate change, strengthen infrastructure to support the use of electric cars, and help reduce New York’s carbon footprint on our roadways,” said Governor Cuomo. “With these actions, we are taking another step toward a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable New York for all.”
Unfortunately, despite these attempts, there is still a long way to go to improve the damage that’s already been done to the environment. According to Inside Science, humans have been causing serious environmental issues for decades. Simple things like improperly discarding plastic bags are even causing major issues, as 10% of the debris that ends up polluting the U.S. coastline is from plastic bags. In addition to carbon emissions, plastic waste, and overflowing landfills, one of the most damaging pollutants is aerosol spray.
A potential silver lining, however, is that the aerosol spray, although dangerous, might actually help increase Arctic sea ice.
Researchers have found that between 1950 and 1975, certain types of air pollution actually counteracted the effects of greenhouse gases that have been melting the polar ice caps.
“I think what it’s telling us is that humans had an impact on the Arctic much earlier than had been though,” said John Fyfe, senior scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada and one of the lead authors of the study.
Andre Mahoney, a sea ice geophysicist at the University of Alaska wants to emphasize the importance of continued research on this topic.
“When we try to do an environmental accounting of the impacts of our activities,” said Mahoney. “[We] need to be very broad in our thinking about what to include.”
Even small changes like adapting a vegan diet can help create positive impacts on climate change. Small steps can eventually lead to widespread change.