Destiny of Our Ecosystem
BY LUCIA SABATELLI '26
Looming over New York City’s Union Square sits a configuration of time, arranged to formulate a countdown. The clock’s hands work tirelessly, waiting for no one. The Climate Clock illustrates a fate that is racing towards us—an exceeded budget created to reduce carbon emissions and maintain less than 1.5℃ of global warming. In roughly six years, the clock will go blank, and an inevitable destiny of increased risk of climate disasters ranging from critical food crises to devastating weather events will ensue. However, clocks can be reversed, and a renewable future with little carbon emissions is still within our grasp. Ultimately, free will has the strength to bend the destiny of our ecosystem, stemming from conscious actions, including volunteering, within our community.
A familiar concept, destiny is the future one is unable to manipulate; and the future of our ecosystem is quite bleak with no action. Currently, the global temperature is 1.1°C higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution, when the world witnessed a rapid transition into the age of modern technology at the cost of a secure and safe future. Many of us place the blame solely on celebrities’ private jets or the billionaires of the tech industry, yet our daily needs are all contributing to the long, long, list of pollutants emitted. A difference of 1.5°C appears minimal to the eye, and although a flaming meteor will not ravage the planet, nor will a towering tsunami flood an entire continent, the temperatures will act as a catalyst for an irreversible imbalance in the natural ecosystem. Inevitably, sea temperatures will continue to drastically rise (say goodbye to a spring break in South Beach!) and the new conditions will be unbearable for the many surrounding species, altering the functioning of entire ecosystems. And by "entire ecosystems," I am referencing every single little part of the complex, tangled web of ecosystems. So yes, we definitely need to save the turtles, but the creepy crawlers of nature are in an equal, if not greater, need of preservation. This terrifying future is not only impacting environments displayed in the news, it continues to bleed into aspects of our community. According to a study conducted at UMASS Amherst, rising temperatures are predicted to take effect in the Northeastern United States twenty years faster than global average temperatures, putting the region's rich architectural and cultural history at risk to extreme flooding, particularly near coastlines or plains, contaminating drinking water and destroying natural habitats. Not only will the natural harmony of our native ecosystems be thrown off balance, but popular tourist attractions we all know and love are definitely not built to sustain themselves in the very near future. Overall, a heavy future is looming, a destiny of displacement and disaster, with climates shifting dramatically, each half-degree setting off irreversible impacts.
Fortunately, destiny is intertwined in a constant battle with an ever-present aspect of our daily lives: free will. Undeniably, humans are responsible for global warming, enhanced through free will, in the burning of fossil fuels or through a failure to actively reduce carbon emissions. Presently, the rate of consumption in the United States requires an equivalent of 5.3 Earths to sustain, and the ecosystem is unable to meet the rate of demand. Nevertheless, everyone can exercise their free will to work towards reducing emissions. Each individual effort may appear minimal, yet when merged with the efforts of entire communities, a significant impact can be seen (and perhaps we can finally achieve the snow day we all deserve).
Within the Acton-Boxborough community, change is feasible. You can start small by remaining mindful of your electricity usage throughout the day or simply disposing of items in the correct areas during lunch. There are a variety of clubs at ABRHS dedicated to aiding climate issues, including the Outreach or Recycling club. Eventually, as a community, we can urge policymakers to utilize renewable energy sources, reducing our local emissions and decreasing reliance on carbon-heavy fuels. However, students rarely take initiative unless others have begun; thus, the school can begin to offer said participation as volunteer credits. Although the fate of ecosystems may appear sealed, there are a variety of actions, whether locally or globally, you can take to exercise your free will and protect the future of the Earth.
Free will cannot reverse the damage that has occurred; that responsibility falls on the actions of yesterday. However, the future state of our ecosystem remains within our grasp, whether it be a bleak landscape of natural loss and disaster or a harmony between the Earth’s natural ecosystems and human activity. Ultimately, there is no future without action, and change does not lie into the hands of fate but rather with each individual striving to counteract destiny.