Climate change is undoubtedly the most debated topic all around the globe for obvious reasons. In fact, it should be the issue to be concerned about as the future of human existence utterly depends on it. Climate is the average weather conditions of a region over a long period of time. Uncertain and continuous changes in weather and climatic conditions have caused great difficulties for all the living beings on this earth.
Phenomenon like global warming, extreme heat waves, rise in sea level, droughts, floods, wildfires, and ice melts have almost become daily headlines. Australian and Amazon bushfires caught the worldwide attention due to their impact. These are affecting the world’s ecosystem drastically.
Yet there is a majority of population which is completely ignorant of this hazard. Some even call it a hoax. They completely deny this issue.
THE HIDDEN EFFECTS AND IMPACTS
The biggest reason why many people still deny climate change is due to the unnoticeable effects. But now there are scientific evidences which clearly indicate that we are digging up our own graves. We are making this earth inhabitable day by day. There is a long list of the horrifying things we have caused to this earth. Some of these are:
- Increase in concentration of CO2 in atmosphere- the level of CO2 has increased by 40% since the industrialisation started in the 1800s. We have since then released 20002 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Which has contributed in the global warming.
- Ice melt- More than 1/4th of the Arctic and Antarctic ice has melted in the past 50 years. Antarctica is losing almost 200 billion tons of ice each year. This has serious consequences such as risk to the arctic and Antarctic animal and aquatic life. The natural habitat of animals like Penguins and polar bear is diminishing day by day. Big icebergs are breaking off merging into the ocean.
- Rise in sea level- The melting of ice has caused a rise in the average sea level. Glaciers are melting and the melted ice is adding into the ocean and sea water. Studies say that if this continues for a few more decades, 1/5th of the world will be submerged in water. It has been observed that the sea level is rising at a rate of 2-3 mm per year. Small islands and coastal cities are more prone to this threat. It has caused floods in low lying areas.
- Global warming- There has been a rise in the global temperature. According to studies, the average temperature of the world has increased by 10 C in the past 5 decades. This number might seem insignificant but has caused major catastrophes all around the world. Also, the temperature is increasing 10 times faster than the ice age.
- Wildfires- The world has witnessed major wildfires like the Amazon and the Australian wildfires. These were the most severe wildfires till date. These fires caused massive destructions to fodder and fauna, burnt millions of hectares, even killed some people.
- Acidification of the oceans- Acidifications means reduction in the pH value of the ocean. The CO2 in the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean water and reacts with it to form carbonic acid. This acid breaks in bicarbonate and hydrogen ions, making it acidic. Since the industrialisation, the pH of ocean water has reduced by .1 pH units. It not as insignificant as it looks by the numbers. In fact, it shows that the acidity has increased by 30%. It makes it hard for the organisms such as coral, oysters, clams, and phytoplankton to survive.
- Food and water scarcity- Bad climatic conditions and weather lead to crop failures and ground water depletion. Climate change has already started causing reductions in crop yields. The global population is increasing rapidly and it is becoming harder to fulfil people’s needs. If things go like this, there will food and water shortages in future resulting in millions of deaths.
- Damage to the livelihoods- The world bank has estimated that climate change can put over 120 million of people into poverty. It could increase the inequality between the rich and poor. Also, it has forced many people and even wildlife to migrate for survival.
These issues are horrifying as we are the reason behind it.
WHAT IS FUELING THE CLIMATE CHANGE?
This is not the first time; the earth is going through climate changes. There have been extreme changes in the past, billions of years ago also like the ice age. But this time it is much more serious as this time it is not due to the natural causes. We and our greed for better lifestyle are the reasons why the earth is going through such changes. Also, it is happening at a much rapid and alarming rate this time.
It all began with the rise of industrialisation. Humans exploited the natural resources for their own profit.
- Burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum products and methane releases gases like CO2 (carbon dioxide), H2O (water vapour), methane (CH4), and N2O (nitrous oxide). These gases trap the heat which enters the earth’s atmosphere from going out. Thus, increasing the temperature. The functioning of the whole world is largely dependent on fossil fuels.
- Deforestation is a major cause of climate change as trees are one the largest oxygen suppliers for us. The CO2 level increases as no CO2 is converted into oxygen. Also, trees contribute in maintaining the temperature.
- Increasing meat products’ demands is a very neglected reason of global warming. The truth is cows and sheep produce CH4 (methane) as a biproduct, which is 34 times more potent than CO2.
These are the scientific reasons contributing to climate change. But the most important reason is our perception towards this issue. We see it as a distant problem. This has its fair reasons as the effects are almost unnoticeable and hidden. We are not seeing the gravity of this issue. At present it might not look like a big problem to some of us but it surely will impact the world drastically if things continue in future.
IS IT TOO LATE NOW?
It can’t be denied that we have caused major problems for us and all the living beings on this earth. But, is it too late to do anything now? We still have time to take constructive actions and mend some of our mistakes. We still can make a huge difference if we start from today.
One of the biggest achievement of humans in this regard would be the healing of ozone layer. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) halons gases which are found in refrigerators and spray cans cause the ozone layer to deplete. In the 1970s, the ozone depletion was first detected. In the recent year scientist found enough data to show the hole was healing gradually. If things go well, it will be completely healed by 2050.
This shows that we still can make differences. All we need is collective efforts and some changes in our daily lives. These may include:
- Use of Renewable and natural energy such as solar, thermal and hydro power.
- Use of electric vehicles and bicycles as much as possible.
- Limitedly using appliances like ACs and refrigerators
All these things might look exhausting to implement at first but will be beneficial for us only in the long run. We will gradually have to bring and make these habits a part of our daily lives. Our future solely depends on the actions and habits we form at the present.
We are gradually heading towards the day when the situation will be irreversible. There won’t be much to control. We will be approaching the dooms day.
The situation can be resembled to a time bomb. It may look silent at present but if proper steps would not be taken, the impact will be unimaginable.