Posted on: October 9, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By The Editorial Board

Our planet is deteriorating, mainly due to human activity. According to NASA, 427 billion metric tons of ice sheets are melting each year, the equivalent of more than three billion blue whales. Earth has warmed by 1.7°F over the past 142 years, which comes with consequences that affect our day-to-day lives–hotter summers, colder winters, and more extreme and frequent natural disasters.

The slow murder of our planet calls for uproar. We have seen scientists chain themselves to buildings and light themselves on fire, and citizens lay down on highways in protest.

Yet world leaders are ignoring cries for help from scientists and citizens alike. 

We are told to consider going green. Told to be more conscious of our carbon footprints and the amount of plastic we consume on a daily basis. Told to stop using plastic straws, stop purchasing things from big companies like Walmart or Forever 21.

Although our individual actions are important, they are not the key to solving our climate crisis. Real change will only come through action that holds big corporations accountable–protesting, boycotting and voting for candidates who will prioritize the planet over corporate profits.

The fact is, focusing on individual action does not take into account what life really looks like for the average American. Sustainable living comes from a place of privilege, a privilege that many people do not have. It’s unbelievably expensive to be poor.

Consider this scenario: A single mom clocks out at her first job of the day at McDonald’s. She takes home a meal for her kids, as she has no time to cook before heading to her second job. The meal contains plastic forks, straws, lids and packaging. She takes the bus home. Her phone is old and cannot support the Ventra app, so she has to use a plastic card. Arriving home, she discovers that one of her children’s jeans have ripped and will have to go in the trash, contributing to the landfill. This weekend, she’ll look for a new pair at the thrift store, where prices have increased because thrifting and reselling has become so popular.

What’s your take on climate change? Check out our new video feature where members of the MV community express their views.

Consumerism is arguably a big evil in our country, but in most cases it is a necessary evil. Blaming individuals for not focusing on global warming is unfair, as many people are focusing on trying to survive the next month.

Americans live in a capitalistic society. Basic needs cost money, and any supplementary activities like hobbies cost extra. We are often forced to consider our own quality of life before being able to consider the health of our planet.

“Let’s make no mistake, it is capitalism that is at fault here,” Moraine biology professor and climate change activist Jason Howland says. “From a big perspective, capitalism is ruining our world.”

The people that would realistically have the most ability to change or even reverse the effects of climate change are those in charge of large corporations. However, for them, increasing profit margins takes priority over the future of our species.

“Everything is for profit,” Howland said. “Nothing is sacred, including human lives. We have got to do something about our economic system, or it will drive us to extinction.”

Take solar power as an example. The world currently makes most of its money off of fossil fuels, which are a non-renewable resource. Electricity production is currently the second largest source of greenhouse gases, which trap heat on our earth, producing 25 percent of emissions according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Around 60 percent of our electricity comes from these fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas.

The switch to solar power will never happen. The gas and oil industry made around $2.1 trillion globally, according to Investopedia. There is simply no money to be made from solar energy, outside of the installation of the panels. Therefore, making it cheap to switch over would quickly bankrupt these companies.

Plus, these companies have millions of excess dollars to put towards lobbying efforts. This year alone, $63.5 million has been spent by oil and gas to protect their interests, according to data from Open Secrets. This gives them a monopoly over politicians, mostly Republican.

“We have got to get the money out of our political system,” Howland said. “Your government will not work for you unless we remove this corrupting money.”

The time to act is NOW. We cannot afford to wait.

“It’s time for mass civil disobedience,” Howland said. “It’s time for all of us to walk out of our classes, strike at our jobs, protest in the streets, shut down bridges, shut down shopping centers.”

Let’s start thinking big picture. Avoiding single-use plastics to the best of your ability and trying to avoid funding fast fashion companies are good practices, but they are not enough.

“I would not be surprised if at a certain point, we do need to protest, we do need to come together as staff and faculty who care about our environment, who care about this space, to let people in leadership know that change needs to be made,” said MV Go Green! club advisor Tish Hayes in a previous story on the issue.

Continue to use your Hydro Flask and purchase clothing from sustainable brands, but do not shun those who are not able to. Recognize the privilege it is to be eco-conscious.

And take some real action. On Nov. 8, use your vote to stand up for the issues that you believe in. 

Use your voice to vote

Voting for leaders that will bring these issues into light and protesting to make our voices heard are our most effective actions. Finding candidates that fit your beliefs can seem like a daunting task, but here are some that have mentioned a focus on climate change in their campaigns.

U.S Representatives

District 1

Blue Island, Midlothian, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox

  • Jonathon Jackson
  • Eric Carlson

District 2

Riverdale, Dolton, South Holland, Harvey, Calumet City, Markham, Chicago Heights, Steger, Crete

  • Thomas Lynch

District 6

Worth, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Palos Heights, Hickory Hills, Alsip, Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park

  • Sean Casten


Gov. J.B Pritzker is the only candidate that has made statements regarding climate change so far.

Correction: The original version of the story stated that the Earth had warmed by nearly 34°F in 142 years. This was due to an inaccurate conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit. The Earth has actually warmed by 1.7°F (1°C) in that time period.

The Glacier Editorial Board consists of Rosie Finnegan, Opinion Editor, Nick Stulga, Editor-in-Chief, and the section editors of the publication. Editorials represent the official position of The Glacier.