At the same time we talk a lot about climate change, it isn't talked about enough. The statistics, the urgent tone in our voices, is not enough. No one really understands that only a miracle can save us now! When hearing ''climate change could be irreversible by 2030'', we don't really understand how scary this is. By the way, what is climate change, how is it caused and how can you make a change?
Climate change. We all heard about it, but many of us don't understand what it is and how it's caused. The basic definition is 'the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place'. Basically, what happens is that there is something called ''greenhouse gases''. These gases are a natural phenomenon, responsible for heating up our planet. They include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor. Without them, the earth's temperature would be around -18OC, which would make it impossible for human survival. However, having too many greenhouse gases makes the sun's heat get trapped inside the earth, and not return back to space, heating up the oceans and ourselves. And the only reason we have a bunch of those is because of our industrial and agricultural activities, that demand production areas and transportation, which indirectly and directly cause deforestation and raise the level of gases.
But is climate change caused by humans? Yes! 97% of scientists agree that we are the main reason for the increase in heat. Our increase in burning fossil fuels, the need of increasing land for factories and production causes deforestation, us choosing cars and motorcycles instead of walking or biking when possible and therefore increasing pollutants, and the powering of buildings, wastage in general… all of these cause climate change badly.
The thing is, all this worrying didn't start the past decade, but in the 1960s. Researchers started to realize all the effects of greenhouse gases, and started to notice the pattern of the bad weather, the crop failures, droughts and floods, and many other threats.
For those who believe climate change is only bad for nature and weather, you are more than wrong. It certainly affects us and animals too! The change in climate causes animals to find new habitats, however they have already reached the limit of where they can find hospitable climates. Fish also suffer increasingly with the change in water temperature, and the species that rely on salmon for eating like orcas or grizzly bears. Because of the high temperatures, the ice and glaciers end up melting affecting all of the animals of the arctic. For humans, climate change has caused environmental devastation, loss of homes, forced displacement, mass migration, conflict over water and food, physical and mental health. Not only that, but the world is having an increase in insects and diseases because the hot and humid climate is the perfect place for these deadly creatures to live in. Disgusting, isn't it? Then, after the bugs come, humans need to take more and more vaccines, and each time more and more people will suffer. Food waste is another problem that aids climate change, since it produces methane, which is one of the greenhouse gases. In the United States, 108 billion pounds of food were wasted per year!
Some get confused regarding the difference between global warming and climate change. Global warming refers to the rise in global temperatures, while climate change is the increase in climate over a long period of time, including precipitation, wind patterns and temperatures. Both of them are terrible and both of them have high indices in our current days.
Nevertheless, every year, some countries meet up to talk about this urgent subject and what will be done about it. Mostly known as COP, standing for 'Conference Of The Parties', is a set of meetings participated by many different countries to review the implementation of goals, targets and rules. It assesses the effects of the measure taken by parties and the progress made in achieving the goals. The annual event takes place in different places every session.
2021 had the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, lasting from October 31st to November 13th. After two weeks of speeches, discussions, negotiations and protests, they had new updates about new measures. Firstly, world leaders from 110 nations signed a joint pledge to end deforestation by 2030. Ironically, COP26's menu for eating went viral as 60% of it was composed of animal products. Also, Greta Thunberg, a 18 year old activist, led a school strike together with indigenous activists, which drew more than 30.000 protesters. Thunberg delivered a petition to the UN demanding they declare a climate emergency, to show the gravity of the situation. Finally, the United States and China signed a document, stating they will work together on climate goals.
Answering the title of this article, the harsh truth about climate change is that there is no planet B. We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it. It knows no borders. Something must be done now. But, what can we do? For our daily lives, we must avoid using cars when unnecessary, instead ride bicycles or walk. We must avoid wasting food, creating trash, burning fossil fuels, save energy at home and recycle the items that can cause carbon emissions. The world has begged one million times but we always ignore the desperate need for help. The Earth needs all of us.
Roberts, David. “The Awful Truth about Climate Change No One Wants to Admit.” Vox, Vox, 15 May 2015 https://www.vox.com/2015/5/15/8612113/truth-climate-change
Wonk, Science and Tech Policy. “The Harsh Realities of Climate Change and How to Respond.” The Doe, The Doe, 1 Dec. 2020, www.thedoe.com/narratives/harsh-realities-climate-change-how-to-respond.
Six Scary Facts about Climate Change.” Ecotricity, www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-news/2017/six-scary-facts-about-climate-change.
National Geographic Society. “Climate Change.” National Geographic Society, 27 Mar. 2019, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/climate-change/.
Johnson, Sophie. “How Are Greenhouse Gases Bad for the Earth?” Sciencing, 2 Mar. 2019, sciencing.com/greenhouse-gases-bad-earth-23688.html.
Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions.” The Nature Conservancy, 9 Dec. 2018, www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-priorities/tackle-climate-change/climate-change-stories/climate-change-frequently-asked-questions/#animals.
“6 Things for Students to Know about Climate Change.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/2021/09/six-things-for-students-to-know-about-climate-change-and-the-environment/
Written By Paul Davies Paul works for a helpdesk software company and is one of the co-founders of Curious Earth. “30 Of the Most Impactful Climate Change Quotes - Curious Earth: Environment & Climate Change.” Curious Earth | Environment & Climate Change, 24 Mar. 2021, curious.earth/blog/climate-change-quotes/
Hirsh, Sophie. “COP26 Is Complete - Here's What We Learned at the Climate Summit.” Green Matters, Green Matters, 12 Nov. 2021, www.greenmatters.com/p/cop26-highlights.
“What's the Difference Between Global Warming and Climate Change?” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/story/whats-the-difference-between-global-warming-and-climate-change.