The Clock of Doom

New Addition in NYC Gives Glimpse of What’s to Come if We Do Not Change Our Polluting Ways

By: Kylie Hapuarachchi

Climate change clock on display in New York City. Credit: Jeenah Moon

As we go about our everyday lives, we are consumed with the reality that one day there will come an end. With a clock displayed in Manhattan, people from all over the world are worrying about our upcoming doom of irreversible climate change. 

As of September 17, 2020 the clock that has presented itself on Manhattan’s Union Square reads “7 years, 103 days, 15 hours, 40 minutes and seven seconds” in red. This is a countdown that reminds humans of their time left to prevent the irreversible effects of global warming. 

The way we have treated our planet is irrevocable and we continue to ignore the signs. From plastic pollution, to the meat production, to fast fashion; when do we consider it enough? 

Mass consumerism has led to many of these issues that continuously affect the world. Society has accepted consumerism for what it is, and has mass produced items that are believed to be “necessities.” 

However, in doing so they have also created catastrophic problems in the environment that will continue to affect us daily unless a change is made now. 

Plastic is a material consisting of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and so can be molded into solid objects. Ever since the discovery of plastic, which at first seemed like it was a lifesaving hack, it has been deemed to be more dangerous and harmful to the environment. 

According to “Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea”, the “Adsorption of persistent organic pollutants onto plastic and their transfer into the tissues and organs through ingestion [15] is impacting marine megafauna [16] as well as lower trophic-level organisms [17, 18] and their predators [19, 20].” 

This clearly shows how the use of plastic has had a huge problem on the environment, especially to our marine life. 

Plastic is such a widely used product in every household of the modern age from water bottles to plastic takeout containers. As much as plastic comes with benefits such as easing people in their everyday lives, it has added to the mass pollution that is seen in our oceans. 

The only problem is that even recycling plastic does not truly do anything for the environment as much as we think. The number of plastic particles in the ocean alone is in the trillions as of 2014. 

Overconsumption of plastic products has led to plastic pollution which has led to marine life and human life deficits because of the chemicals from the plastic that get into the air and land. The immoderation of plastic use will lead to a world where there will no longer be marine life and humans will have treacherous health effects. 

An additional product that is over consumed and continues to impact the world is the production of meat. Scientists tend to depict a very true image of the world where carbon dioxide levels tend to increase at alarming rates. 

It even shows how the surplus production of meats has actually made the increase a lot worse than the use of cars. The methane that comes from the flatulence of the cows is a toxic gas that fills up into our atmosphere and naturally kills the planet slowly. 

This occurs because the toxic gases such as the methane will begin to deplete the ozone layer. The ozone layer is needed for the survival of humans in that it protects us from the harmful UV rays from the sun. 

One specific production that has shown this is the production of beef, which has shown a larger impact on the atmosphere than the poultry or pork industries. 15% of emissions come from the agriculture sector and it is believed that the mass population is the reason for such a large production of beef.  

The surplus of people gradually increases the production and hence creates this global warming disaster. The overall idea is that if humans did not over consume meat or meat products then they would be able to help the environmental crisis by reducing their carbon footprint.

Lastly, the fashion industry has started to make something known as fast fashion so that people that do not necessarily have the means to purchase the high-end products could get a knock-off product that is made and sold for a much cheaper price. 

However, the companies knowingly make the products out of materials that are unable to biodegrade and can only be worn for a short amount of time, hence the title “Fast Fashion.” 

According to “Why Fast Fashion is Killing the Planet and Your Ethics” by Jill Di Donato, “And so, a lust to stay on trend can turn people into greedy buyers without them even realizing it—the clothing industry is the second-highest polluter of clean water. Retailers of fast fashion dump toxic chemicals into clean water supplies because clothing production is a land- and water-intensive industry.” 

This statement clearly shows how much the idea of fast fashion has contributed to this huge problem in the environment. People want to purchase the newer products and do so even though these trendy, cheaper products can not last longer than a week. 

With this happening, people begin to purchase mass numbers of clothing that do not biodegrade as wanted and will eventually lead to a landfill about a week after purchasing.

Fast fashion was created so that the companies can benefit with the profit they made and as a result has led to numerous environmental deficits. 

The clock display reveals that we have 7 predicted years to minimize the amount of greenhouse gases that is imminent in our meat production. That is 7 years to minimize the billions of microplastics that add to the plastic pollution in the world. 

That is 7 years to stop fast fashion once and for all, due to the fact that gallons of chemicals are poured out of those factories on an hourly basis. That is 7 years to make this world right, or life as we know it will never be the same again.


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