Some people ignore the climate crisis because they don't understand what it is and what it's consequences are. Read on to understand climate change and what you can do to help.
What causes climate change?
Our earth is now warming faster than at any point in human history and the sea levels are rising. The main cause of climate change is burning fossil fuels (such as oil, gas and coal) to produce energy alongside human activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which makes the planet get warmer.
Now let's understand where greenhouse gases come from. As we have mentioned that mostly comes from human activities and due to the enormous quantity of energy required to maintain the functioning of our modern world, these primarily include energy generation.
Generating energy - The majority of home heating and a significant portion of electricity generation still involve the burning of fossil fuels, such as gas.
Transport - cars, buses, trains, trucks, ships, and planes, (unless electric and charged with renewable gases), all produce emissions by burning fossil fuels.
Food production - Methane is released by cattle raised for meat and milk, while agricultural soils release gases like nitrous oxide, which is created when nitrogen is added to the soil through the use of fertiliser. As food production increases, emissions will also increase.
Deforestation - Trees store carbon as they grow. Cutting or burning down trees releases that carbon into the atmosphere. Some people clear forests for timber, mining or palm oil.
Powering industry - Coal, oil, and gas have all been burned by humans to power massive industries. Manufacturing products like cement, iron, steel, electronics, plastics, and clothes produces industrial pollutants.
Plastic and waste - plastics are made from fossil fuels, releasing emissions through their production. Around 40% of plastics are utilised for packaging worldwide. Dealing with waste produces emissions when it is incinerated (burned) or dumped in landfills because so little of it is recycled (and it would be difficult to recycle so much plastic anyway), making it a worse climate problem than it first appears.
Impact of the climate crisis
Climate change has made it harder for both people and wild animals to survive. Consequences of global climate change that scientists have long predicted are now happening, droughts that are more frequent and extreme, storms, heat waves, excessive rainfall, wildfires, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and warmer oceans can all directly injure animals, destroy the habitats they rely on for survival, and have a disastrous impact on people's way of life and communities.
"Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time".
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Sea level will rise 1-8 feet by 2100 - Sea level is rising because of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms.
Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense - According to scientific predictions, as the climate continues to warm, hurricane-related storm strength and rainfall rates will rise.
More droughts and heat waves - If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, high heat events that formerly happened only once every 20 years are predicted to happen annually by the end of this century.
Changes in precipitation patterns - some locations experience increased precipitation and flooding, while others experience drought
Global temperatures will continue to rise - it seems that both the global temperatures and the rate of rising are unprecedented in the last 24,000 years.
The Arctic is very likely to become ice-free - The Arctic Ocean sea ice cover is expected to keep shrinking, and if current estimates are accurate, the Arctic Ocean will very likely become almost entirely ice-free in late summer.
Loss of species - climate change poses risks to the survival of species on land and in the ocean.
Not enough food - Global hunger and poor nutrition are on the rise for a variety of reasons, including climate change and an increase in extreme weather occurrences. Crops, animals, and fisheries might all be lost or become less effective.
Furthermore, one million species are at risk of becoming extinct within the next few decades and here is the list of some species that were impacted:
Dolphins and porpoises
Responding to climate change
Now we understand what causes climate change and the consequences of them now and in the future. Then let’s discuss what we can do as individuals about climate change.
Eat less meat and dairy because meat and dairy production is responsible for 14% of global climate-changing emissions.
Take a train, not a plane because 5 hour journey of planes produces 58 kg of CO2 but trains only produce 3 kg of emission.
Instead of your car use might change to walking or cycling and maybe using public transport for the long journey because this will help you to save money.
Reducing your energy use (might turn off the light when you don't need it) or getting electricity from the wind and sun could help you to cut your carbon footprint and your bills.
Plant more trees and create your own green space (add pot plants to the window sill or balcony) because parks and gardens, and other green places, are crucial. They take up carbon dioxide and are linked to reducing air pollution levels.
Everything we use as consumers has a carbon footprint. So we need to try not to buy more than we need and avoid single-use items and fast fashion. Try to minimise waste, donate unwanted items to charity, repair and reuse, and avoid wasting food.
Take action in your community and ask the government to act on climate change.
The direction that future human activities take will determine how severe the effects of climate change are. Increased climatic extremes and extensive negative repercussions on our planet will result from increased greenhouse gas emissions. But, the extent to which we emit carbon dioxide will determine these long-term repercussions. So, some of the worst effects might be avoided if we can lower emissions.