By Sherrylyn Famador
Understanding climate change
Everything in this world, living or non-living thing is bound to evolve and change. It is the only constant thing in this world. If you have been living even half of your grandmother’s age, you would notice the gradual changes within our surroundings.
Haven’t you noticed why we can no longer withstand the heat of the sun? Haven’t you questioned why a few animals go extinct? Haven’t you noticed the strange calamities that are happening throughout the world; and the multiple deaths of tribal people? If you have at least one of those questions in mind, lay and behold you are affected by climate change or more globally known as global warning.
If humans have the capacity to change, then it is more likely the same for our environment.
Climate change is one of the major environmental issues that our planet is currently battling. It is also the biggest problem because of its scope; we are dealing with a phenomenon that controls all the nature has to offer. We are in a duel with all the elements; water, fire, wind, and earth itself.
Climate change is caused by trapping excess carbon in Earth’s atmosphere. This trapped carbon pollution heats up, altering the Earth’s climate patterns. The largest source of this pollution is the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal and oil) for energy.
Of all the environmental issues that have emerged in the past few decades, global climate change is the most serious, and most difficult to manage. It is the most serious because of the severity of harms it might bring. Many aspects of human society and well-being – where we live, how we build, how we move around, how we earn our livings and what we do for recreation-still depend on relatively benign and narrow range of climactic conditions, even though this dependence has been reduced and obscured in modern industrial societies by their wealth and technology (Dessler & Parson, 2010).
The Forcing factor behind these changes is our release of gases- in particular carbon dioxide (CO2)- that trap heat and warm the atmosphere.
Most of our CO2 emissions come from fossil fuel combustion, energy conservation and a switch to renewable fuels. CO2 released in the atmosphere are then being absorbed by the trees to balance the environment, but with the continuing cutting of trees, there have not been enough trees to absorb the large amount of carbon dioxide on the air. The unabsorbed CO2 will remain on the atmosphere that will result to intensive heat.
Heat-trapping gases (such as: CO2) are also called greenhouse gases. They exist naturally in the atmosphere, where they help keep the Earth warm enough for plants and animals to live. But people are adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These extra gases are causing the Earth to get warmer, setting off all sorts of other changes around the world—on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere. And these changes affect people, plants, and animals in many ways (“Today’s Climate change,” 2012, par. 2).
As a result, we’re seeing more dramatic weather patterns across the globe resulting in devastating natural disasters.
Effects of Climate change
On a recent report by Petter Hannam, an environment editor at The Sydney Morning Herald, on November 27, “Sydney can expect a warmer than average summer, making it likely the city will also record its hottest ever year. A typical December would see Sydney’s daytime maximums almost 2 degrees above the long-term average (23.4 Degree Celsius), he said. Sydney has not had a below-average month since December 2011”.
These happenings are the current aftermath of climate change. The intensified heat that is trapped in the atmosphere is giving off an incredible amount of changes to the climate.
Another terrifying event would be the melting of the icecaps on North Pole. This would cause the sea level to continually rise which can endanger countries that are below sea level; they might experience mostly floods or much worst perhaps, tsunamis.
The loss of sea ice not only has an effect on the environment but also on wildlife. In addition, the animals living on icecaps will have a hard time surviving. It will either lead them to migrate to another environment or they will be left to die.
Why is this bad?
Sea level rise affects coastal property, people and ecosystems. By 2050 and a 4°C or 0.48m sea-level rise, 130 million people per year are expected to be flooded, 3/4 of them in Asia (“What is Climate change,” 2004-2012, par. 5).
Coping up with Climate Change
We can never deny that we are the ones destroying our planet. Climate change may be a natural process but because of continous illegal human activities, we are making this process or change to a disaster. In order to battle this out, we must start the change within ourselves.
Let’s start with doing small things and start with the easiest way possible, by planting trees. Planting trees can help absorb the CO2 trapped in the atmosphere. Let’s not burn plastics,it produces large amounts of CO2, instead re use it for future use- recycle. Walk more rather than taking on cars and buses because these transportations releases bad CO2 and adds up to the pollution problem.
We may not be able to stop climate change in a snap, but we can always lessen its power by doing the right thing. We should always remember that we were made to take care of our environment and vice versa. Let’s not destroy the only thing that keeps us alive for centuries and decades. Let’s not fail nature for nature never failed us.
The only way to solve this great environmental crisis is change. If change is the root cause then change will also be the best solution. Combating climate change may be seen as impossible but we all have our part both individually and together, if we just do it, then we can definitely make a change. We can go beyond a sustainable and healthy future.
Cunningham, William & Mary Ann. (2008). Principles of Environmental Science: Inquiry & Applications-4th Edition. New York: Thomas D. Timp & Margaret J. Kemp.
Dessler, Andrew., Parson, Edward. (2010). The Science and Politics of GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: A Guide to the Debate-2nd Edition. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Connor, Steve. (2013, October 29). Melting Arctic sea ice means it’s only going to get wetter for northern Europe. The Independent UK. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/melting-arctic-sea-ice-meansits-only- going-to-get-wetter-for-northern-europe-8909587.html
Hannam, Peter. (2012, November 27). Summer warmth ahead to cap Sydney’s hottest year. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/summer-warmth-ahead-to-cap-sydneys- hottest-year-20131127-2y9kh.html
United States Environmental Protection Agency (2013). Climate Change: Basic Information. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/
Global Climate change (2013, September 9). The Earth’s climate is changing, and people’s activities are the main cause. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.epa.gov/climatestudents/basics/index.html
Global Climate change (2013, September 9). Today’s Climate Change. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.epa.gov/climatestudents/basics/today/index.html
David Suzuki Foundation. What is climate change?. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change- basics/climate-change-101-1/
Australian Conservation Foundation. What is climate change?. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www.acfonline.org.au/be-informed/climate-change/impacts-threats