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Climate Change: an Education on Causes, Effects, and Actions

Every day you hear something about climate change. It is the biggest concern for many people not just across the country but across the world. It is something that affects you no matter what, nothing can stop it from affecting you – no socio-economic factors, no demographics, and most importantly no geographics. Climate change affects everyone everywhere. But what is it, we can do to help tackle this massive problem? Well, it's simple you just need to become more environmentally conscious in everyday life. That might seem hard to do but in reality, every little thing you do will help towards tackling it.

But first to help to tackle climate change you need to know what climate change is. Climate change refers to the shifts and changes in temperatures and weather patterns which have happened over time. The shifts in the temperatures are completely natural and are expected to happen, however since the 1800s, these changes have happened more abruptly due to human activity. Activities like burning fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal produce greenhouse gases that trap the heat in the Earth's atmosphere, which as a result, warms the earth up more, causing the change in temperatures. Everyday activities such as driving a non-electric car are burning fossil fuels which are therefore adding to the earth’s greenhouse gases.

It isn’t just the burning of fossil fuels which is adding to the problem of climate change but a major factor is deforestation. Deforestation is the process by which you cut trees and forests down, which in return when cutting trees down, releases all the carbon dioxide it was storing into the atmosphere. Along with releasing the stored carbon dioxide, cutting down trees also means that forests struggle to absorb the carbon dioxide as there are fewer trees to store within, making it harder for nature to be able to keep the emissions out of the environment as capacity is reduced. This means that when cutting down trees adds lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere adding to the greenhouse gases which results in increased temperatures. These are just some of the causes of climate change but there are many more that contribute to the effects climate change has on the planet.

The effects these causes have on climate change are immense and this is seen across the world. Effects such as higher severity of storms are now becoming more common. The temperature changes cause changes to the water cycle which in effect changes the amount of rainfall places receive, the increased amount of rainfall results in storms happening much more frequently and are usually more severe, from storms though they have secondary impacts such as landslides occurring along with primary impacts such as destroying homes and communities. This means that the effects climate change has can be immense as it can destroy people's livelihoods and communities but it can also result in deaths when storms are that severe as seen by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Another massive effect climate change has is rising sea levels. As the temperatures get warmer and warmer it is only expected that things melt quicker, think about an ice lolly in the summer for example if left out in the warm weather it will melt, this is the same for the ice caps. When temperatures rise this causes the ice caps and ice sheets to melt which in turn increases the sea level which threatens both coasts and island communities. In places such as the Maldives where the average elevation of the land is 2m above sea level, this means every centimetre the sea level rises can cause massive threats to people who live here as they are more prone to floods, but eventually it will be seen in the future that the Maldives will go underwater when sea level gets too high. This means it causes massive threats to people and their life and causes massive amounts of displacement for people due to it being uninhabitable.

But there are things we can do to help prevent this from happening so soon. An easy way in which you can help is to cut down on individual travel in cars and use alternative methods when you can. For example, if you needed to go to the local shop instead of getting in the car and making the short drive where you burn fossil fuels you could walk or cycle there instead. This is helping the environment as you are burning no fossil fuels and contributing nothing to the atmosphere so you aren’t increasing the temperatures. Public transport is also a great way to reduce fossil fuels used, for example, if you need to go somewhere, where walking isn’t a viable option then using public transport, would be much better as if 1 person or 10 people use the service they are burning the same amount of fossil fuel.

Another action that can be used is to become more conscious of home energy, switching to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances will reduce the amount of electricity used and electricity is powered by fossil fuels. This means making the small switches would help both yourself with lower electricity costs and also the environment as you release fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as you aren’t burning as many fossil fuels.

Climate change is a massive problem with many different causes, effects, and actions needed to take place to help stop it from happening as quickly as it currently is. There are many more ways in which you can help to reduce your use of fossil fuels and the UN website provides all the information needed and even tells you more of the effects and causes. Climate change is a problem everyone in society faces and if everyone can start by doing a little bit we will be able to start to see a difference but we need everybody’s help to see the change.

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