People think climate change matters more to polar bears and ice caps or “someone else”. No, it’s you. And every single person around you. But so what? You can’t drop everything because temperatures are rising and there are a few negative effects…
But we can understand what’s happening with climate change and take note of possible actions.
Climate change and global warming have different meanings. According to nasa.gov, global warming “is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system” because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels. This increases the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere which leads to trapped greenhouse gases. In other words, global warming is the increase in Earth’s surface temperature and atmosphere.
If you live in California, for example, you’ve been seeing more wildfires, right? This is due to global warming: the increase in temperature which dries out the area and spreads flames faster.
Climate change, on the other hand, is the long-term change in weather patterns. This involves human and naturally-produced changes.
So where is global warming going? As of 2020 it’s the:
- ocean – 93.4%
- atmosphere – 2.3%
- continents – 2.1%
- glaciers/ice caps – 0.9%
- Arctic sea ice – 0.8%
- Greenland ice sheet – 0.2%
- Antarctic ice sheet – 0.2%
This is why so much focus is on the ocean. Imagine all the creatures underwater unaware of how their lives will change because of the temperatures increasing.
The effects of climate change are growing rapidly and you’ve likely felt them, whether you’ve noticed or not.
- Sea level rise. This is mostly due to melting land ice, but levels are rising inconsistently around the world.
- Flood. Warmer air holds more water (that’s why your lips are dry in winter), so as air temperature rises, the atmosphere holds more moisture. When it’s ready to rain, it pours.
- Drought. Because of the heat rising in climate change, the drier areas will get drier.
- Ocean acidification. 30% of CO2 released into the atmosphere from human activities is absorbed into the oceans (that’s bad). All that CO2 gets absorbed and produces carbonic acid, decreasing the pH levels of the sea (also bad).
How to Reduce Climate Change
Luckily, we can control human behavior. How we act toward this planet and what surrounds it will be the climate change miracle down the road. Later generations will be able to live a cleaner, more sustainable life. So let’s get crackin’!
- Through adaptation policies and actions to protect our health from the effects of climate change, such as diseases.
- Through mitigation (making something less severe), such as reducing emissions in the first place.
- Through health co-benefits, so reaping health gains from climate-friendly policies and from individual behavior.
- Through living more sustainably. By taking small actions like driving less, becoming vegan, or recycling, we are slowly helping the environment as a whole. Try 15 tricks and tips to green living!
We are somewhat new in taking action towards climate change as a global unit, but it’s happening! Passionate people are making a difference in and out of politics and it’s important to remember we all have a say, we all have a part.
With rising temperatures and its negative effects comes ways we can help out, and our climate is something we can change. Every step of impact leads to a greater purpose.