Climate change has been a hot topic for some time now. People all over the world appear to be waking up to the fact that we, not our grandchildren, are the ones who will have to face this threat.
Scientists who have tried to censor climate change trends throughout the years have been proven wrong as more evidence continues to surface that human civilisation was and still is, the cause of global warming.
In 2019, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported that since the mid-20th Century, the effects of global warming have worsened over the decades and at the rate, they are progressing, the future doesn’t look bright.
Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old activist from Sweden, who in 2018 started sitting outside the Swedish parliament every Friday as part of a climate strike, instigated the largest climate strike in history on the 20th of September 2019. The young woman, who was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019, has called for everyone to take climate change more seriously. “I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful,” she said famously at the World Economic Forum in 2019, “I want you to panic and act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
Thunberg is right. We do need to panic, and here’s why:
• Climate change affects our health. According to NASA 2016 was the warmest year on record. Extremely high temperatures and a lack of rain affect the entire ecosystem including plants and animals. We are part of that ecosystem so this ultimately has a negative effect on our well-being.
• Africa is most at risk. Extreme increases temperatures could lead to drought, which means that people will not be able to farm plants and animals. And because Africa as a continent is struggling economically, such harsh weather conditions could lead to famine and the spread of disease.
• Ice in Greenland and the Antarctic has decreased in size. Melting ice actually increases the rate of global warming because less ice means that the land absorbs more radiation and releases more heat into the atmosphere, starting the cycle all over again. This may seem like something you don’t need to worry about but climate change is more than just about you and your country. Climate change is about the whole planet that we are all occupying.
• In 2007, the UN climate change panel noted that by 2080, arid and semi-arid land areas in Africa could be expected to increase between 5% and 8%. This would have a huge impact on the hunger levels on the continent. Farming, for example, that would produce food like potatoes, cabbage, wheat, etc. on dry land is nearly impossible.
But these are all examples of future problems. An example of how global warming is affecting us right now is the Australia fires. According to researchers, the global average temperature has increased by 0.8 °C since 1880. Since 1910 the temperature increase in Australia has been more than 1°C which is record-breaking. On December 17 2019, a record national average of 40.9 °C was measured and the next day temperatures increased to a scary 41.9 °C.
The fires, which started in December 2019 and are now in every state in the country, have killed a staggering number of animals and have destroyed much of their natural habitats. Thousands of people have been displaced and some have been killed by the fires. Even when the fires are out it will take a very long time for people to get back to their normal lives. While it should be noted that the fires may have started because of various reasons it is definitely climate change that is fuelling them, making them grow and spread.
Global warming is caused by human actions. We all need to wake up and realise that time is running out we need to make a change. It is everyone’s responsibility and we have to stop thinking that someone else will do it for us. Let’s start treating Mother Earth with the respect that she deserves. People, it’s time to panic!
Tell us: What do you think you can do in your community to help prevent climate change?