It was 1992. Already as a sophomore in high school, I was interested in the climate and environmentalism. For my yearlong term paper, I chose to research the atmosphere and the effects of pollution. It’s so chilling to reread my simple 10-page report that covered acid rain, ozone depletion, and most importantly, climate change from fossil fuel consumption. The stats I cited were from 1986 mostly and so the science was already old. Take this quote from my paper:
“The EPA released a study in 1985 that said: ‘… for the next 20 years we can expect sea level rises to be 2 times faster than at the present. Between 2000 and 2025 the rate will jump to 3 times the current one. After that the situation will be too complex for current models to predict accurately …'”
This hasn’t changed much actually! Looking back 40 years at this point, the predictions were spot on and we have wasted almost half a century to prevent runaway catastrophe. Call it snarky teenagerness but this toward the closing of the paper also still holds true:
“The point that must be stressed is this: all pollution is connected. Ozone depletion leads to ultraviolet radiation (UVR); UVR leads to dying forests; dying forests increase CO2; CO2 warms the atmosphere which melts the ice caps and so on and so on. The world is constantly changing and so is her climate. The nations must work harder than ever now. The clock has started to tick while we worry about what the Royal Family did on their vacation.”
Interested in knowing what we already knew 40 years before 2020 when the US West Coast ignited while the Atlantic hurricane season was one of busiest on record? Click the cover page to the left to check out what even a 15-year-old could understand.