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The rise of industrialization in the past century has aggravated the stability of the global climate and amplified the natural greenhouse effect to alarming degrees. As each year passes, the global climate crisis becomes increasingly exacerbated by large-scale harmful practices such as electricity generation, manufacturing of goods, deforestation, overconsumption, etc. While these practices are not inherently calamitous, burning fossil fuels to create these goods and services leads to an extensive amount of carbon pollution in the atmosphere. The mass burning of fuels such as coal, oil, or gas leads to thinning of the protective ozone layer, heating up the Earth’s surface at an alarming rate. Many of these consequences are not wholly due to individual practices as much as large corporations; however, it is crucial to advocate for and integrate sustainability as a regular exercise in our lives.
Students interested in the environment and advocating for local, state, and national sustainability practices can get involved in many ways. Numerous organizations have volunteer, internship, or educational opportunities where students can sign up or apply to become involved; these can usually be found via the program's website or through a local career fair, where you can discover involvement information on various associations. For individuals interested in a career in environmental conservation, joining a local organization while in high school can act as a valuable step in getting your voice heard.
Searching for "local environmental organizations in [your area]" is an effective way to become familiar with these organizations' facilitation and community outreach. Most of their websites or social media pages will have an option for the reader to explore volunteer and educational opportunities, internship positions, and careers within their program.
Becoming involved in conservation can also include advocating for legislation; here, you can:
Email/call local legislators (some environmental organizations may already have pre-made email templates).
Head out to a local protest (these can be found through newsletters, websites, social media posts, etc.)
Attend a local meeting open to the public (this can be a great way to share and comprehend the voices of your community).
The National Public Radio compiled a list of methods that can be utilized in school to encourage climate change education (with additional resources for curriculums and lessons).
Besides joining or volunteering for an organization, completing individual research projects can be beneficial in spreading awareness about climate change and conservation. Education is a powerful tool in encouraging the development of increased awareness. There are many resources available online that can be found individually; correspondingly, enrolling in courses through school may also be an effective way to gain experience in the fields of environmental science. Joining or establishing student-led clubs focused on advocacy and climate justice is another way to reinforce the significance of institutionalized ecological education.
In a climate where it is challenging for young voices to be heard, it is essential that we highlight the merit and drive of our future leaders. Taking the initiative can be as simple as joining a school or local club/organization, carrying out a research project, or campaigning for beneficial legislation.
15 key conservation jobs: Ultimate guide for conservation job seekers. Conservation Careers. (2021, June 8). Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.conservation-careers.com/15-key-conservation-jobs-ultimate-guide-for-conservation-job-seekers/
Directorate-General for Climate Action. (n.d.). Causes of climate change. Climate Action. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://climate.ec.europa.eu/climate-change/causes-climate-change_en
Kamenetz, A. (2019, April 25). 8 ways to teach climate change in almost any classroom. NPR. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.npr.org/2019/04/25/716359470/eight-ways-to-teach-climate-change-in-almost-any-classroom
Ozone depletion and climate change- Defra, UK. Ozone Depletion and Climate Change - Defra, UK. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/research/ozone-uv/moreinfo?view=deleption-climate- change#:~:text=Ozone%20depletion%20and%20climate%20change%20are%20linked%20in%20a%20number,radiation%2C%20which%20heats%20the%20stratosphere.