Climate change is a topic highly discussed in the media and with that comes a lot of confusion on what climate change is, where it comes from, and how it will affect us. Climate change is a long term/significant change in earth’s temperature and weather patterns. Climate change occurs mainly because of the greenhouse effect where gasses such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gasses trap the sun’s heat which warms the planet’s surface. These greenhouse gasses can be caused by either natural or human causes. Climate change causes the earth to become drier, warmer, and damper. Climate change is an urgent issue all of the population need to deal with as it is earth’s biggest challenge.
For years there have been debates on whether or not climate change is real and whether it has been caused by humans. Some people seem to believe that climate change is only caused by nature, but that is incorrect. According to the U.S Global Change Research Program, “the long term trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effect of human activities on climate.” Therefore, the majority of climate change has been caused by humans. Another example is from the US fourth national climate assessment where it was found that “between 93% to 123% of observed 1951-2010 global warming was due to human activities.” From my own previous studies I know the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is the most responsible for global warming. Carbon dioxide rises from deforestation, and the burning of fossil fuels which further shows the impact of humanity on climate change.
The effects of climate change have already become noticeable. The Antarctic peninsula has begun to melt faster causing the living environment of Antarctica to shift, glacial ice has been lost and has begun to shrink, and heat waves have become stronger. As time goes on the effects of climate change will only get worse. People also seem to believe climate change will not impact them. However, this is false, climate change will impact everyone and every aspect of the world around us if we don’t act soon. In the future this can mean extreme weather such as more floods, stronger hurricanes, deadly heat, more droughts, and intense storms. One shocking realization of climate change is that it can cause the Arctic to become ice free. According to Global Risks Report 2021, “as climate change transforms global ecosystems, it affects everything from the places we live to the water we drink to the air we breathe.” Climate change would impact our health and food supply as well because our food supply depends on the climate, and our health/lives are put at risk by changes in the weather and climate. Climate change also has a significant impact on “communities of women, children, people of color, indigenous communities, and the economically marginalized” according to the NRDC. Other communities who would be significantly impacted include the “elderly, people with preexisting health conditions, and outdoor workers” according to the NOAA. Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter where we live or who we are, climate change is inevitable which is why we cannot afford to waste any more time.
The effects of global warming and climate change are irreversible and if we don’t change and increase our efforts to decrease these effects, we further endanger our health and safety. We as a population have a task to act against climate change together in order to make a significant difference. Some things the people in power such as the government can do is limit the use of fossil fuels. According to a professor of sustainability science, “we need to cut CO2 emissions almost in half by the end of the next decade.” Another useful thing the people in power can do is use renewable energy such as solar panels and windmills. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency “several of the most commonly used renewables will be on par with or cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020. Some are already more cost effective. Therefore, since it is 2022 there should be no excuse on why we should use fossil fuels instead of renewable energy.
By making a change in our own communities we can still avoid the worst effects of climate change despite past mistakes. This includes limiting our use of cars, as cars pollute the air. According to BBC news, “going car free was the number one most effective action an individual could take.” To add onto what individuals can do to help climate change, we can reduce animal products in our diets. BBC news states “by reducing your consumption of animal protein by half, you can cut your diet’s carbon footprint by more than 40%.” BBC news also brings up how “the clothing sector represents around 3% of the world’s global production emissions of CO2, mostly because of the use of energy to produce attire.” In other words, we should shop differently, and stop shopping fast fashion because it is unnecessary energy as fast fashion is poor quality. I know another way to help with the climate change crisis is to stop taking long showers because of its excessive water use, also energy is consumed during these long showers and it creates more CO2 emissions. Everyone can help with climate change just by changing things in their everyday life. When one person makes a sustainably oriented decision, others are influenced to do it as well. It is our responsibility to act now and we deserve the right to a healthy planet, and so do the generations that come after us.
To conclude, the future of the planet is on the line. Climate change concerns us all. If we don’t do anything about it, climate change and the warming of the planet will lead to more frequent illness, increased prices of food, and decreased supply of food and water. Climate change is complex but we still have time to avoid the worst effects of it. We have until the year 2030 to prevent irreparable damage to our planet, by 2030 we have to achieve near zero emissions. This is an urgent matter that needs to be taken care of. We created this problem and now we have to fix it, or significant and increased effects of climate change will destroy us.
“Causes of Climate Change.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/climatechange-science/causes-climate-change.
“Climate Change Impacts.” Climate Change Impacts | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/climate/climate-change-impacts.
Hausfather, Zeke. “Analysis: Why Scientists Think 100% of Global Warming Is Due to Humans.” Carbon Brief, 31 Jan. 2022, https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-why-scientists-think-100-of-global-warming-is-due-to-humans.
Ortiz, Diego. “Ten Simple Ways to Act on Climate Change.” BBC Future, BBC, 4 Nov. 2018, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20181102-what-can-i-do-about-climate-change.
September 01, 2021 Melissa Denchak Jeff Turrentine. “Global Climate Change: What You Need to Know.” NRDC, 3 Mar. 2022, https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-climate-change-what-you-need-know#effects.