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Saturday, May 08, 2021
<p><span>Photo by </span><a href="https://unsplash.com/@jweckschmied?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Jonas Weckschmied</a><span> on </span><a href="https://unsplash.com/search/photos/summer-heat?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></p>

Photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash

Hot girl summer is upon us, and the hashtags seem to follow us on every social media platform. Along with the growing posts, the temperature has also started to follow suit. Florida is experiencing the hottest summer in decades, causing harm to its hot inhabitants.

The Sunshine State has become the sunburn state thanks to global warming. The United Nations recently released a Global Environment Outlook, a report on climate change and how it’s affecting us today. The UN predicts that over time, the average age will increase, populations will urbanize, and the sizes of households will become smaller. The overpopulation of the planet will soon be hard to ignore. The amount of people on earth is projected to increase at least until 2050, with a predicted population of 10 billion. 

At a state level, Florida’s subtropical climate causes it to be susceptible to continuous summer heat. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that May of 2019 was the hottest May in Florida in more than a century. As we progress into the year, the daily temperature averages for Gainesville continue to surpass the normal daily temperatures recorded from 1981 to 2010. 

While we may not feel the consequences of global warming immediately, the heat is gradually rising year after year. The Florida Health Department says the harmful medical effects of global warming could lead to cardiovascular diseases, mental health issues, respiratory issues and heatstroke.

The possible costs of global warming come as a sign to make a change within ourselves to help with the environment.  

On a local level, Gainesville has been improving their environmental efforts. This past January, the Gainesville City Commission unanimously approved to ban the use of expanded polystyrene containers and single-use carry out plastic bags by food service providers and retail establishments.

Helping the environment sounds like a great idea but is easier said than done. As college students, we have to find a balance between being economically and environmentally friendly. 

Just because our funds are absent doesn’t mean our efforts have to be. Some easy ways to help the environment include not only recycling, but also just observing the amount of waste you produce. Sure, reusable red cups have been a staple at tailgates and house parties alike, but do we need to go through dozens at every event? Keeping one at each party can minimize the amount of plastic waste you produce.

Buying secondhand clothing can also help combat the environmental impact of the fashion industry, which is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. Buying at thrift stores like Goodwill and Urban Thread in Downtown Gainesville is a good way to get your shopping fix without contributing to fast fashion. If you’re more of an online shopper, sites like Depop and Thred Up are great places to find second hand clothing in great condition and styles.

While Hydro Flask bottles may seem like the epitome of mainstream college students, the sticker covered bottles help eliminate the need for single use plastic water bottles. Start thinking of what Redbubble stickers of memes from “The Office” you want to place on your bottle.

Our time here on Earth is only temporary, but our impact can affect it forever. As a wise man once said, “Save the earth. It’s the only planet with chocolate.”

Amanda Martinez is a senior telecommunication major. Her columns appear on Tuesdays.

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Photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash

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