Climate Change – The Impact of Global Warming
Climate Change is something that is happening to the world right now. It means that the weather (climate) is changing across the world for a prolonged period of time. Some places will experience hotter, dry weather such as Australia, others will have more storms like the ones we are seeing in North America, and other places will experience very unusual or out of season weather, like snow in South East Asia or very hot weather in Iceland.
The change in climate that we are experiencing right now is called Global Warming. Overall, the global average temperature is increasing on our planet and this means that the world is heating up. While this may sound lovely, it is actually very dangerous and poses a huge threat to the planet.
Effects of Global Warming
- Rise in temperatures
- Increase in sea temperatures
- Ice caps melting
- Sea levels rise
These things happening mean that many pieces of low-lying land in the world will be covered in water. This means that we will have fewer places to live and millions of people will lose their homes.
It also means that animals such as polar bears will lose their homes as they need ice sheets to hunt for food. Eventually, they will become extinct – like dinosaurs!
An increase in sea temperature around the world also means that coral will suffer and many of it may die. While you may think that coral is just a few sea-plants, it is actually vital to the ecosystem and in keeping sea life alive. If coral dies, many thousands of species of fish will die which in turn means that many land-creatures will lose their food sources and also perish.
- More droughts and heat waves
- Increase in heavier rain and flash floods
- More hurricanes that are more dangerous and powerful
- More forest fires
Having more unpredictable weather means that farmers will not be able to tell when the best time will be to grow crops. If the weather is dry and hot, their produce will dry out and if they have flash floods or hurricanes, their crops will be washed away. They will, therefore, lose a huge amount of their produce which could mean a worldwidee shortage in food.
Another reason why unpredictable weather is bad news is that it will destroy many people’s homes, just like the hurricanes in North America have in recent years. Flash floods in the UK, tornados in Europe and unseasonal cold weather in Asia have all destroyed homes and many people have died as a result.
This weather change also means that animals homes are destroyed, and they too will lose their lives.
Causes of Global Warming
The number one cause of global warming is human activity and the increase in greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Below is a list of the top 3 things that are currently causing the release of these gases on a huge scale and increasing the amount of heat trapped in the ozone layer and other things contributing to the increase in global temperatures.
- Burning fossil fuels
Such as power stations to generate electricity or using petrol or diesel in your cars and trains.
Trees and plants absorb CO2 – one of the bad gases causing global warming – and create oxygen. By cutting them down we are reducing the worlds ability to absorb the bad gases we are creating.
- Farming livestock
While the animals themselves don’t create much greenhouse gas, everything that goes around them has a huge impact. From cutting down trees to make space to grow their food, to transporting them in trucks and, after slaughter, transporting them in planes to different countries.
All of these factors have already caused a huge amount of damage to the planet. In the last 100 years, the ice caps have melted by up to 80%, the global temperatures have risen by 1 degree Celsius and more than 20% of the world’s rainforests have already gone.
While global warming is not reversible, it is stoppable, but time is running out! We have just over 10 years left to make serious changes to slow down global warming.
How can we help?
We can help in our daily lives to help reduce the causes of global warming, but there are many things that countries and governments can do to change this as well that would have a much bigger impact.
What can you do at home?
- Eat less meat or animal products such as dairy
- Drive cars less or switch to an electric car
- Turn off lights and find new ways to use less electricity like switching things off that the wall or only having one electrical item on at a time
- Install solar panels in your house
- Make sure your house is properly insulated so you use less power heating it
- Make sure your appliances in your house are energy efficient – purchase new ones if necessary but remember to recycle the old ones properly
- Use less water – take one shower a day and turn the tap off when you brush your teeth
- Try not to use aeroplanes – take the train if you’re going to Europe or holiday in the UK
- Plant more trees and have house plants
- Swap all the bulbs in your house for energy efficient ones
- Recycle as much as you can and try to buy products that recyclable materials or little to no packaging like loose fruit and vegetables
The benefit to changing many things in your life to be energy efficient is that it reduces your energy bills and saves you money as well as saving the planet.
Things governments could do to help stop climate change
- Stop fracking! This produces a huge about of methane gas which is 84 times more damaging than CO2
- Stop using fossil fuels and convert power stations to renewable energy sources
- Invest money in public transport by switching to electric trains and buses
- Invest in the research and development of sustainably sourced fuel
- Place limits on the amount of CO2 emissions corporations are allowed to make per year
- Reduce or stop deforestation
In conclusion, Global Warming is an incredibly serious issue that at best see’s the planet permanently changed and many people and animals’ lives changed forever and, at worst, the end of the planet.
However, if everyone makes small changes to their day to day lives, we can see a huge difference and together, we can slow down or stop the result of climate change. One person making a change is just one change, but 7 billion people making one change is 7 billion changes.
Don’t give up or think what you are doing is too small or insignificant, everything helps save our planet!