We are living under a threat. Continents all across the globe are experiencing the wrath every single day. There is devastation. But, why are we not surprised? Maybe because we saw it coming. We have caused it, haven’t we?
The world was taken by storm when Greta Thunberg addressed everyone in her speech at the UN. She was undeterred when she said, “How Dare You”? We should really be asking ourselves this question. Empty words and promises are not doing any good. But the core of the problem is to be understood.
We often play the blame game and say the laws and rules are not right. But, we fail to realize that we are the change we seek in others. What are you as an individual doing for the betterment. Have you quit using plastic? The answer must be not 100%.
The first step to take if you want to contribute to preventing an even worse situation is being aware. Only if you are aware of the cause can you take steps to stop or at least push the reversal process a little?
What is climate change?
Climate change is the change observed in the usual or ideal weather of a place or region. It is notable that climate change is a continuous phenomenon that occurs as a result of changes over thousands of years.
Currently, we observe that the global temperature is rising at an alarming rate. The snow-caps have started melting. The average temperature of the earth was 0.88 degrees C above the 20th-century average.
The occurrence of natural fluctuations is expected and bound to happen. They would take another thousand years to show effect. However, the point of concern is that the present climate change is induced by humans. And the rate is so high and fast-paced that we humans cannot keep up with it. In a way, we are on the track for doom.
Climate Change: How Do We Know?
The number of floods, hurricanes, storms, and heatwaves have broken all records of the past. They are enough big evidence for us to open our eyes wide and begin taking actions. The recent fires in the Amazon rainforest that lasted for days and were out of human control is a living example.
There are many who are ignorant and do not understand that the melting snowcaps in the Arctic impact your life as much as the animal living there. The rising levels of water will enter your home too someday.
Here are some statistics that will show how grievous the situation is:
- The oceans have absorbed a lot from the rising temperatures. As much as 700 feet. The temperature observed is now 0.4 degrees more than that in 1969. Which is a lot.
- The numbers are staggering when we talk about shrinking ice sheets and melting. Greenland has lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016. In the case of Antarctica, it has lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year during the same time period. This rate has tripled in the last decade.
- Glaciers are retreating in the Himalayas, Alps, Alaska, and Africa. The snow cover in the northern hemisphere has reduced drastically.
- Global sea level has risen by 8 inches in the last century. What’s even more shocking is that the rate has doubled as compared to the last century.
- As a result of more carbon emissions due to human activities, the ocean acidification has increased by an alarming 30%.
The Causes of Climate Change?
A simple term “Greenhouse Effect”, is something we all have studied as kids in school. In simple words, it is trapping the sun’s warmth in the lower atmosphere of the earth. While it’s predominant positive effect we learned was quite different.
It is necessary for maintaining the temperature of the earth and making our planet habitable by all organisms and living things. Now, that is confusing as to why is it considered harmful suddenly?
It is crucial to understand that the emission of greenhouse gases in excess like CO2 (Carbon dioxide), N2O(Nitrous oxide), CH4(Methane), etc. contributes to the greenhouse effect more than required or beneficial. It is raising temperatures by leaps and bounds. It traps heat more than necessary. This leads to global warming and ultimately climate change.
How Do Human Activities Affect Climate Change?
Image Source: pnas.org
United Nations has taken a strong stand on the topic of climate change. The organization is bringing to light the grave need of accepting facts about climate change and making actionable laws. Its intergovernmental body, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its Fifth assessment report which states that over the past 50 years, it is humans who have contributed to warmer environment conditions.
This report is a joint effort of nearly 1300 independent scientific experts. The certainty of this conclusion to be true is more than 95%.
This surprising fact is backed by the raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It has gone from 280 parts per million(ppm) to 400 parts per million(ppm).
What can “I” do to counter climate change?
Fossil fuels are our largest source of energy at present. They form nearly 80% of it. They comprise of oil, coal, and gas. The problem in the picture is, burning these fuels has taken a toll on the conditions of the environment and ultimately earth’s climate.
They cause Land degradation, water pollution, carbon emission, the ocean acidification and what not! The solution to this is switching to renewable energy sources.
Deforestation is another big issue. Trees are natural lungs for the earth. They maintain a balance even without our knowledge. We must make it a point to plant more and more trees and avoid ruthless cutting for land availability. The space on earth is not going to increase ever. So we might make the best of what we have.
Boycott the use of non-bio-degradable plastic. It is the cause of ecosystems to collapse completely. There has been evidence of micro-plastics reaching as far as the glaciers at the poles where there isn’t even human inhabitation. We are not just using, we are abusing it.
Now that we have a picture of future environmental apocalypse painted before us, let us take conscious steps and measures to change it. Let’s unite so that this prediction does not turn into a reality. Let us not wait for world leaders to make laws and create a change. We are the change we want to see in others.
So, Inspire, Innovate and motivate those around you to make a difference in the “war” against climate change. We have one earth in the universe to protect.