When the powerful speech by a 16-year old, Greta Thunberg shook the ‘Climate Action Summit’, people around the world felt an acute need to reverse the climate change. It is not that we were unaware of the drastic transformations happening in our environment; often reminded by the authorities with time to time quickies. Small steps are taken by the administration, smaller responses are visible in the public and insignificant results are produced to fill the (un)necessary documents. The result is zero or negative. Negative, because climate change is happening at the rate much faster than the preventive steps taken by humans.
Coming back to Greta Thunberg. The young girl reminded us that what we are doing today is going to affect our future generations. They will reap what we are sowing now. Though the effects of climate change are quite prominent today, my brain crashes at the simple thought of its consequences after a few years. Our children won’t be able to survive in the harsh environment resulting in the end of the human race and the time does not seem to be far away.
*Climate change is occurring and human activities are the main cause. Long-term increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate is a major threat today and it is called Global Warming.
**The terms ‘Climate change’ and ‘Global Warming’ are used interchangeably though Climate Change contains Global Warming as well as its effects.
***The climate changes observed in the last 50-60 years have been much greater than those observed in the previous years including prehistoric times.
1) Earth is heating up like never before and the results are apparent. NASA studied the behaviour of the earth’s atmosphere and observed that the level of CO2 has been increasing drastically since Industrial Revolution.
2) Most of the climate change before human existence was due to small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
3) Industrial Revolution (since the mid-20th century) took climate change to another level that is set for irreversible harm to the Earth, as seen from the broader perspective. This change is significant because our home, the Earth is in danger.
4) Study shows that the current global warming is happening at the rate 10 times faster than the average ice-age recovery warming. This is alarming. Are we taking sufficient measures to slow down the upsetting change?
Find below the indications of global warming for more clarity:
*Human activities and hence the increase in CO2 has contributed to the rise in the temperature of the earth’s surface. The average surface temperature has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century. Last 35 years were the record-breaking hottest and 2016 was the year with most warm months till now.
* Oceans are warming too. Top 700 metres of the oceans are showing 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Oceans help to absorb Earth’s CO2. About 1/4th of the CO2 that we humans create is soaked by the oceans (because ocean plants breathe in CO2 and give O2). Since the temperature of the oceans is rising (remember, oceans form 97% of all water on the Earth), ocean animals are dying, putting a question mark to the ecosystem balance.
*NASA study shows that ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland have been losing mass at an alarming rate. Billions of tons of ice is melting due to foolish human actions.
*Snowcaps of the world’s great mountains are disappearing. The Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and mountains of Africa are some examples.
We may have to pay a huge price for the game we are playing with nature.
*Sea levels are rising and now you know the reason. It’s the melting of glaciers and snowcaps along with the warming of water that created the havoc.
* The increase in intense events like high temperatures, severe rainfall and other extreme weather conditions are ruining our peace of mind. The reason being the same – Global Warming!
*As more CO2 is released by the humans, more of it is absorbed by oceans. Oceans, that are generally basic in nature, are turning acidic due to the rising level of CO2. Warming oceans cause coral reef ecosystems.
What We Can Do!
We are slowly killing Earth, our habitat. High time, we must be ready with our action plan to save future for our next generations. The suggested actions are not difficult but it’s a matter of changing habits. Go back to the earlier days when the life of humans was simple. Adapt to a simpler lifestyle and make a positive impact on the environment.
We have a two-step strategy to reduce global warming:
By Mitigation, we mean that the intensity of global warming effects can be reduced by reducing the emissions of green-house gases to slow down the greenhouse effect.
There are some simple yet effective measures to make a difference:
* Increase the sinks (reservoirs) that absorb the harmful greenhouse gases, like oceans, forests and soil.
* Reduce the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat or transport.
* Eat the food you buy, and eat less meat.
* Buy better bulbs – LED lightbulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional incandescents (they are also cheaper).
* Electricity in your home – this is one of the most harmful things we do to the environment. Don’t leave fully charged devices plugged into your home’s outlets, unplug rarely used devices or plug them into power strips and timers, and adjust your computers and monitors to automatically power down to the lowest power mode when not in use.
* When buying a new car, buy an electric car.
* RECYCLE – The average person makes 2.5 Kg of garbage a day! this means that in one year, you make 912.5 Kg of trash that gets thrown outside in our nature and harms our planet the most.
Our aim is to decrease the human interference with climate change so that the greenhouse gases level can be stabilized without threatening food production.
Adaptation means adjusting to changing climate conditions. History indicates that climate change has been the main cause of building and collapsing of civilisations. Try reversing the direction of change or adapt to the present/expected climatic conditions.