The world is plagued with problems. Wars, politics, elections, and COVID-19 on top of everything . . . I am surprised that we are here at all. But then, we seem to be forgetting something. Hmm . . . could it be . . .? Climate change?
I am sure you have heard about climate change. I mean, who hasn’t. It’s one of those things that everyone talks about; sometimes they acknowledge it, other times . . . not so much. But, then comes a question. Is climate change actually real? Or has the overload of Hollywood movies finally addled our brains?
Most unfortunately, climate change is real. It’s one of the most dangerous things for humans, even more than nuclear weapons. (We have a trend of making our own doom possible.) The thing is; nature is tired of everything we are doing. And what we are doing? Well . . . how about global warming, deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, land pollution, air pollution, plastic pollution, urbanization and industrialization to name a few. I could go on and on.
Our early ancestors (cave men, if you insist) utilized nature. But, they also took moderately. That is, they allowed nature to replenish itself. For example, if they felled a tree to make arrows (or something like that), within a few years, there would be about a dozen trees in its place. So kind of like give and take, expect this was going on with the actual earth. On the other hand, now . . . well, just look around. Around 15 billion trees are cut down every year. Cities and industries are expanding at an alarming rate, swallowing up hundreds of hectares of green fields and forests. Agricultural land is eating away at forests, and many fall prey to forest fires and other natural calamities.
In turn, this deforestation accelerates climate change. How, you may ask. Well . . . when trees are cut down and burned, their stored carbon is released into the air as carbon dioxide. And this carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and . . . hello, climate change.
Then . . . what else? Global warming! You can’t forget about global warming, can you? In our daily life, we use a lot of fossil fuels. Our cars run on petrol or diesel, natural gas for cooking, and even products like Vaseline, candle wax and plastics are petrochemicals. So, the burning of fossil fuels release carbon dioxide into the air. And what does this do? Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas; it traps the heat of the sun in the earth’s atmosphere and warms the planet. Without the greenhouse effect, we would probably freeze to death. But when the amount of greenhouse gases increase, the average temperature goes up. In fact, the planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit during the last century or so.
So, that’s how climate change occurs. Now, what’s the big deal? Yeah, the average global temperature of the earth is rising, blah, blah, blah. But what happens?
Well, a lot of bad things happen. First of all, due to the high temperature, the glaciers will start melting. In fact, they have already started. Several glaciers have disappeared into the sea, and many more will follow unless we stop climate change. When the glaciers melt, the sea level rises. And when the sea level rises, coastal areas are eaten up by the ocean. 37 percent of the global population live near the coast, and the lives of all those people; their homes, they livelihood, everything is at risk.
Climate change also leads to irregular weather patterns. Cyclones, hurricanes, excessive rainfall, droughts, floods; all of these are because of climate change. They put thousands of people at risk. Droughts and floods drastically affect developing countries, and kill millions of people.
Several steps had been taken to combat climate change. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions in an attempt to stop global warming. Other actions taken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are working towards annihilating the threat of climate change.
In conclusion, climate change is real and coming for us. If we do not accept this and work to battle the effects, then our mistakes will cost each and every one of us. It is time that we joined forces and stood up against climate change in an effort to reverse the adverse effects that it is having on our plant. Together, we can.
“No challenge possesses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”
- Barrack Obama