Right now the whole world faces environmental crises of quite staggering scale; yet so many will deny or demonstrate complacent acceptance with out due consideration of implication for future generations.
Denial, complacency, the ostrich effect can not change what is evident and can not revert the damage that has already been done. Look at the facts and it is clear that climate change is happening, and we know that it is caused by our actions.
The Earth is getting warmer because people are adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. Changes are happening because the Earth’s air, water, and land are all linked to the climate. It is true that the Earth’s climate has changed before, but this time is different. People are causing the changes. Changes which are bigger and faster than any previously recorded climate changes.
Warmer temperatures are causing many changes around the world, right now the ice caps are melting, sea temperature is rising and the oceans are dying. Currently n the Arctic, sea ice levels are a the at a dangerously low level, as a result of both global warming and unusual weather events (influenced by global warming). This warming has weakened the winds circulating the pole, allowing warm air to intrude into the Arctic. As the warm air intrudes, cold air is pushed south, which is why parts Europe have experienced unusually cold weather at times this winter.
While for many the polar ice caps are a far away and easy to shut off and be that ostrich in the sand; it is a much wider picture;
It is not just the ocean surface waters getting warmer, so is water 1,500 feet below in the depths of the oceans. Recoded increases in temperatures, that are well outside the bounds of natural variation.
In simple terms, the ocean has absorbed so much heat! In the last 50 years the ocean has absorbed about 20 times as much as the atmosphere.
As the oceans are forced to absorb higher levels of CO2 acidification increases. Everyone should be aware that in the long term, warmer, more acidic oceans put coastal communities at risk, increase infrastructure costs, endanger polar creatures and threaten coral reefs and fisheries.
The impacts will be far reaching;
- Rain patterns are changing, sea level is rising, and snow and ice are melting sooner in the spring.
- Warmer temperatures cause the glaciers to melt faster than they can accumulate new snow.
- Land ice in polar regions reflects some of the sun’s energy back into space (known as albedo), helping keep the planet cool. As this ice shrinks and darker land is exposed, thus absorbing more solar energy that then accelerates the planet’s warming.
- If the Earth keeps getting warmer, up to one fourth of all the plants and animals on Earth could become extinct within 100 years.
- Climate change alters the life cycles of plants and animals.
- The combination of heat and acidification of the oceans impairs the sustainability of coral reefs. By 2050, live corals could become rare in tropical and sub-tropical reefs.
- Hurricanes and other tropical storms get their energy from warm ocean water; as oceans warm hurricanes and other tropical storms grow stronger, with faster winds and heavier rain
- Global climate change threatens coastlines and the buildings and cities located along them; likely to increase the number of “climate refugees” as people are forced to leave their homes due to climate-related disasters.
Consider this; the ocean is like a life support system for the planet, providing:
- 50% of the oxygen we breathe
- regulation of climate
- Some of this oxygen is produced by seaweeds and sea grasses, but the vast majority of the oxygen is produced by phytoplankton. These tiny creatures live at the surface layer of the ocean forming the very base of the aquatic food chain.
But, acidification from excessive carbon dioxide is causing the phytoplankton to diminish. these tiny creatures form the very base of the aquatic food chain. During photosynthesis, phytoplankton remove carbon dioxide from sea water and release oxygen. If the foundation for the entire oceanic food chain is diminishing this effect will continue down the chain.
It must be acknowledged that climate change is now happening much faster than we have encountered previously. However, we still have the ability to adapt; doo nothing and tings will get worse. But, everyone could be part of making efforts now to reduce emissions and to but brakes on the speed up of the warming process. This is our planet, our future, our children’s and their children’s future; we must do what we can to ensure that the very worst predicted impacts of climate change never affect us. We have to take action to prevent the worst from happening.