Foremost concern worldwide for the past 10 months is the Covid-19 pandemic. While this has shaken our societies, the threat of climate change has not gone away, and continues to adversely affect our daily lives. These crucial issues remind us that we are all connected and that each of our actions have an impact on our planet, wherever we may be living.
What is climate change? What is the basic science of global warming?
Our Earth's average temperature is about 59℉ with natural fluctuations in the climate. But scientific studies show temperatures are now rising faster, and at an unprecedented rate. Our world has been getting warmer and this is linked to the greenhouse effect, which describes how the Earth’s atmosphere traps some of the sun’s energy.
“Energy from the sun comes to Earth in the form of light.
That energy is absorbed by the Earth and warms it.
Some of that energy is re-radiated from the Earth in the form of heat.
Some of that outgoing heat is trapped by the atmosphere, which is a good thing — it has kept our planet at a stable temperature. Now, however, we have been “thickening” the atmosphere by filling it with heat-trapping pollution. More heat energy is trapped, and it is warming our planet!”
We are putting 152 million tons of manmade global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day. That pollution — especially carbon dioxide (CO2) — is building, it’s trapping heat and driving up temperatures.
There are many sources of human-caused global warming pollution: agricultural practices, forest burning, transportation, and many others. But the main source and cause of the rising global temperatures we are seeing today is the burning of fossil fuels.
Most scientific simulations suggest that the change in the global surface temperature between 1850 and the end of the 21st Century is likely to exceed 34.7℉. If the current warming trend continues, temperatures by the end of this century could rise up to 37.4℉ - 41℉! A rise of 35.6℉ is regarded as dangerous warming, and scientists and policymakers worldwide have argued and agreed to limit temperature rises to a safer 34.7℉.
Should we care about climate change?
Trying to keep Earth’s temperature rise to 34.7℉ target though requires unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, in the way each one of us live, on a daily basis.
As the Earth warms, naturally more water evaporates, which leads to more moisture in the air. Many areas will then experience more intense rainfall - while in some places, more snowfall. More flooding is expected from storms and rising sea levels, while there is drought in inland areas during extremely hot summers. Extreme weather (events), with very strong regional variations in these patterns, have been occurring more frequently worldwide, and causing:
* fresh water shortages.
* food security issues due to challenges in the ability to produce quality and quantity of food for billions of people.
* increased number of deaths from extreme weather events such as floods, storms and heatwaves.
* flora and fauna extinctions due to habitats changing faster than the plant and animal species can adapt.
* threatened health of millions of people due to increases in water-borne diseases, malnutrition and pandemics.
The worldwide scientific community has been telling us for a long time that we must change. But must be really act on these changes now? Yes, because as Mother Nature has shown us, our very own existence is at stake.
FROM THE AUTHOR:
All throughout my young years, my family have been living in a university campus, a place surrounded by various plants and trees. There is always fresh breeze and cool evenings to enjoy, even during summer days. It s one of the very few rural settings in the crowded and tree-less city. Naturally, I developed love of nature living so close to it.
That love became bigger as my destiny provided me with opportunities for many travels to unique, off the radar and eco-sustainable destinations. But I found that the beauty of nature is fragile and our ecosystems are dangerously becoming unbalanced. This was the fuel for my mind-set change - to adapt environmentally - sound practices, to conserve and to preserve nature, in small and big ways, as much as one can do, for the good of all of us.