We Need to Get a Grip on Climate Change, and Fast

It’s common knowledge that our global climate is changing at the fastest rate in human history, but many people may not take time to imagine the entire graphic picture that will result. Let’s talk climate change and what we can do to improve the dire situation our planet is in.

‘Climate change’ obviously goes hand in hand with rising global temperatures, but the concept also alludes to a few additional factors. As NASA online explains, a large implication of climate change is glacier melting, which results in a constant rise of sea levels. Over the last century, global sea levels have risen over 20 centimetres; a direct cause of glacial retreat, declining Arctic sea ice, and decreased snow cover over the entire Northern Hemisphere. (NASA, 2017). This loss of ice diminishes habitats and viable food sources for many northern animals such as polar bears and whales. If this wasn’t problematic enough, the large global dependence on industrialization has released chemicals and toxic by-products into the atmosphere and the Earth’s bodies of water, resulting in ocean acidification. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more absorbed into the oceans, which wreaks havoc on aquatic ecosystems.

A further potential factor in climate change is the increase of extreme weather events the globe has been experiencing recently. While there may still be a few skeptics on the correlation between these two situations, the World Resources Institute breaks down the facts to clear any doubt. “[Global] warming leads to higher sea levels, which in turn increases the risk of storm surge, contributing to the damage brought by hurricanes. Climate change also warms oceans, adding energy that can fuel coastal storms. Compounding this, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, so there can be more moisture for storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfall.” Even if you think the concept and outcomes of climate change are exaggerated, these facts are pretty tough to deny.

So what can any given person do to combat this issue? It may seem unrealistic to think that one person can actually change the fate of our planet and its crumbling environmental state, but simple changes truly make a big difference when societies begin to incorporate them into daily life. The David Suzuki Foundation is a large advocate for simple efforts like choosing your meals carefully(as the industries producing meat and processed foods take exuberant amounts of energy) or even increasing your recycling efforts. Additionally, an extremely simple but effective measure anyone can take is watching their energy use at home. Changing to LED lights, using cold water for laundry, and programming the thermostat to save energy while you are out of the house are all painless measures to reduce your carbon footprint. The talk of climate change and energy-saving measures may seem like old news to many, but if everyone is willing to make a few simple changes in day-to-day life, we may succeed in slowing the toll of humanity currently being felt by the Earth via climate change.