With the United States rumored to abandon the United Nations’ new climate pact, many young students are unsure about how the future of our environment will play out.

Junior Zachary Burton feels that it is young students’ moral responsibility to do whatever they can to prevent climate change and the negative effects pollution has on the Earth.

“How we treat the environment will affect how we live. Students need to learn to get away from destructive behaviors and change the way we live and treat the environment,” Burton said.

Burton, an avid biker and local volunteer, offers some ideas on how he and other students can give back to the Earth and the environment.

“Bike every once in awhile if you are travelling somewhere close by. Recycle more and volunteer to pick up trash at a local park or creek. Get involved in the city by writing to politicians who support environmentally friendly policies,” Burton said.

“We have one Earth and only one chance to save it. We are the first generation to live through the effects of climate change and we are the only generation who can do something before it is too late,” Burton said.

While doing what environmental agencies have been preaching for ages is a way to start, there are lesser known ways of helping the environment that many people do not know about.

“Carpooling, making a backyard compost box, recycling, and avoiding plastics are good ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but the best thing you can do is to go vegan,” environmentalist Rylan Gregg said.

In a report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow written by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the FAO published that up to 18 percent of all greenhouse emissions come from animal agriculture and cattle rearing.

“While it’s true that cars do emit dangerous carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the digestive processes and the sheer amount of water that it takes to run animal agricultural farms is just not sustainable. Cows and other farm animals release methane and nitrous oxide, elements that are more dangerous than carbon dioxide,” Gregg said.

According to the United Nations, methane is 23 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, while nitrous oxide is 296 times better at trapping heat. Cattle rearing accounts for 37 percent of human-induced methane emissions, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions.

“Morally, I don’t think I can support and institution that causes almost 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, especially when that 20 percent is made up of highly destructive gases worse than carbon dioxide,” Gregg said.

Students are going to be the first generation to see the drastic effects of climate change, and they need to be educated about what climate change entails. If students fail to understand the implications of a rise in global temperature soon, too much time will pass and the damage will be irreversible.