We’ve seen many critical conversations ignored and underappreciated by the media and collective public during this election year. One of these discussions––one of the most important—is the impending catastrophe of man-made global warming. Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced in August that July 2016 was the hottest month ever recorded since 1880 when data collection first began. Combined with lingering El Niño conditions, the steady increase of global temperatures produced the hottest month ever. This startling fact, however, received minimal media coverage or public acknowledgment.
Our society has reached a point where news about climate change is no longer shocking. Although July 2016 is now the warmest month on record, we also received the same news in July 2015 and July 2011—July 2016 was the 15th consecutive month of record-breaking monthly temperatures. Climate change has lost all of its shock value; it has become mundane.
The planet is heating up quickly and we are simply not as terrified as we need to be. Our planet is getting closer and closer to hitting the so-called “tipping point” from the enormous amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere. In essence, with the constant heating of the environment, we are on track to start a feedback loop, causing more warming and leading to a catastrophically hotter planet.
According to the International Energy Agency, the worst-case scenario predicts an approximate 11 degree Fahrenheit increase in warmth by 2100. The best-case scenario predicts an approximate 3.6 degree Fahrenheit increase that would cause Long Island, New York to completely flood over—possibly before the turn of the next century. The devastating effects of climate change will be felt across the globe, disproportionately affecting the world’s poorest.
News outlets today—especially cable news channels or websites—thrive on shock value and anger-inducing stories. This is especially true in a year with a fierce presidential race characterized by insults, drama and immature disagreements. Mainstream news sources have become reckless and irresponsible in their obsession with presidential politics, and climate change is one of many issues that have taken a back seat to election coverage this year.
It’s time for the media to turn away from the relentless political gossip and discuss the issue that could potentially have the largest impact of all: global warming.