The Oak Leaf says: Rising sea-levels = rising concerns


The debate of global warming has become an increasing fixture in the public spotlight. While the topic of discussion was once a few facts and figures every so often, the issue of climate change has become a dinner-table topic and a pressing issue for many local families. In Tidewater especially, this subjects hits close to home.
The reality? Norfolk is sinking. Quickly.
“[Global warming is] not a belief system; it’s an observable scientific fact,” said Nicholas Bates, a prominent environmental investigator, in an article published by National Geographic.
The article also states that CO2 levels at the ocean surface are rising at the same rate as atmospheric CO2 and in deeper waters, CO2 levels are rising at twice the rate as surface waters.
Bates stated, “It shouldn’t be doing that unless something fundamental has changed in this part of the ocean.”
According to NPR, Norfolk’s water levels have risen 11.5 feet since the 1920s. As greenhouse gas levels rise, this rate increases. According to Scientific American Magazine, the sea has been rising along shorelines at more than 4.5 inches per decade. Though this may seem like a minimal problem, this sea level rise is occurring at a globally extraordinary rate.
Though the sinking of some southern states is naturally caused due to an ice sheet that existed 15,000 years ago, the rate in which it is occurring is not. If the greenhouse gas pollution rate continues to increase, so will the rate of rising sea levels.
Despite the permanent effects already taking a toll on the environment and our city, there are things our school community can do to help reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Norfolk Collegiate can easily contribute to the growing resistance against disastrous climate change.
According to CNN, changing  lightbulbs to ones with EPA’s Energy Star Label, heating and cooling homes more efficiently, replacing old equipment with Energy Star products, and even simply recycling or using reusable products makes an impact.
According to Better World International, saving a gallon of gas helps keep 20 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
If you find yourself asking what you can do, simply informing others of the effects of impending climate changes in Coastal Virginia will give fuel to a movement that should have been ignited years ago.