Climate change has long been a part of a global conversation, but it wasn’t until a few years back when it was really given the attention it deserves. But it took several natural disasters and thousands of lives lost before people really started to take notice. The evidence is overwhelming, to say the least.
The Earth’s temperature has increased by at least 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit since the early 19th century and we’ve already seen the warmest year on record in 2016. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is also rising and so is the world’s sea level with ice caps and glaciers melting.
Facing the bitter picture: what has climate change done to the world?
To say that the potential effects of global climate change are frightening would probably be an understatement. Think about more intense storms, longer periods of drought and bigger wildfires. Just the magnitude of these natural disasters and the potential lives that can be lost or changed because of them is already creating fear of what the future holds because of what was done in the past:
- Animal are slowly going into extinction
The world’s ecosystem has long suffered from the effects of global warming, but today, the rise in the earth’s temperature has taken an especially huge toll on wildlife. An increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius in temperature is putting 30% of animal species at risk for extinction and it is starting to show now.
There are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild due to loss of habitat and poaching, but this number is predicted to dwindle down more if wildfires continue to erase their natural habitats. Polar bears and penguins are also losing their home because the Arctic is warming up fast.
- Sea levels are rising
Water has always been an essential part of life and the water cycle is proof of how important it is to the evolution of the world. But within the last few years, the earth has seen more water than it currently needs with the Antarctic ice sheet, the earth’s single largest mass of ice, has been slowly melting due to global warming. This is not only alarming because of how sea levels are rising, but it also has a significant impact on the world’s climate since the Antarctic sheet is responsible for regulating global temperatures and reflecting back the energy of the sun.
- Greenhouse gases are increasing
Forests play a huge role in maintaining balance in the world’s climate because they soak up carbon dioxide that is a huge catalyst for global warming. But forests have also suffered greatly from deforestation caused by humans and now, the gradual retreating of tree lines due to an increase in temperature.
Even the forests of the Amazon have taken a beating and its abundant biodiversity is at risk for extinction if global warming continues.
Taking matters into our hands: five simple ways to act on climate change
Even President Donald Trump who once called climate change as a big hoax has since backed down on his statements and is now talking about what can still be done to stop this impending global catastrophe. But you don’t have to be a world leader or someone influential to start adopting these five ways to act on climate change now:
- Find renewable sources of energy.
According to Kimberly Nicholas from the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies in Sweden: “we need to cut CO2 emissions almost in half (45%) by the end of the next decade.” The first step to doing this is by switching to renewable energy sources that help limit the use of fossil fuels such as carbon, oil and natural gas. Simple steps like driving less and supporting green energy providers can already do a lot to contribute to this effort.
- Adjust with the climate.
Most of us are used to controlling temperatures in our home, office or even in our car. In fact, we have become so dependent on heaters and air conditioning units without even realizing it. But if we want our climate to not go to extremes sooner than later, we can learn to live in the climate that we have. If it’s a little humid, take advantage of the fresh air. If it’s too cold, gather around a bonfire.
- Exercise your right as a consumer.
The thing with buying products like groceries or products is that you always have a choice. If you want to be more conscious about acting on climate change, you should exercise your right as a consumer to push producers and companies to adapt to system-wide changes that will make them greener.
With the situation of the world right now, there should be no time for pointing fingers on who’s to blame for what happened. Instead, we can all move forward with a better mindset in saving the only place we call home.