Global warming is the gradual increase in the Earth’s atmospheric temperature. It is a commonly used term, which tells you straight up what it means. People just need to understand what the causes and consequences may be, so we all can contribute to fighting against it. We all can do our part in saving our precious planet.
Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2), other air pollutants and greenhouse gases collect in the Earth’s atmosphere. They absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Usually, this radiation escapes into space but these air pollutants, last for years in the atmosphere. Heat is trapped and causes the planet to get hotter. This is known as the greenhouse effect.
Now let’s discuss some stats.
The average global temperatures have increased at the fastest rate in recorded history, over the past 50 years. Experts say that the trend is accelerating. 15 of the most hottest years in NASA’s 134 years record have occurred after 2000. Some Climate change deniers might argue that there has been a ‘pause’ in Global Warming. But several researches like a 2015 paper published in the journal Science, have disproved this claim. Global Warming is REAL and it is happening ALL OVER.
Over the past century, the overall Earth’s temperature is risen by above 1°F, and 2°F since 1880. Scientists say that we need to curb global warming emissions or else there can be a rise of 2-10°F over the next century in many parts of the world.
• Industrial Activities- The burning of fossil fuels, such as Coal and Petroleum for energy causes carbon dioxide to release in the air. Producing heat and electricity, fuelling diesel-powered and gasoline-powered automobiles. These processes release other harmful greenhouse gases like methane and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 412 parts per million in the last 150 years.
• Agricultural Activities- The use of both organic and commercial fertilizers cause the release of another harmful greenhouse gas, Nitrous oxide.
• Deforestation- The rising need of humans, may it be for infrastructure, crop production or logging for wood and paper, requires the cutting down of trees. Deforestation is responsible for 15 per cent of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. One mature tree absorbs as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Whereas about 3.5 to 7 billion trees are cut down each year. How much carbon dioxide does that leave us with?? Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest!!
• Garbage- As trash is burnt and broken down in landfills, it releases 18 per cent of the atmosphere’s methane.
• Natural causes- Volcanic eruptions expel a large quantity of carbon dioxide in the air. But this is a short-term cause of global warming and doesn’t contribute as other human factors do.
• Consumption of Meat and Dairy- The meat industry contributes to the same amount of harmful gases in the air as Industrial activities.
• Natural Catastrophes- The earth’s rising temperatures are causing longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, more powerful hurricanes, and other changes in the climate and alters in weather patterns. Rise in temperature lead to in-land droughts, water shortage and the drying up of lakes. The earth’s ocean temperatures are getting warmer too, that cause tropical storms to pick up more energy.
• Melting of Ice Caps- Vanishing polar caps and rising sea levels are causing coastal flooding. The arctic ice is shrinking 12.85% every decade. The loss of glaciers will cause a shortage of drinking water (as glacier’s form 69% of fresh water). If all the ice melts, then it would cause a rise of 70 (230 feet) metres in sea level. This would cause coastal flooding, something we humans aren’t ready for.
• Pollution- The increased quantity of harmful gases in the air give us polluted air to breath. This in-turn causes diseases like asthma and breathing problems.
• Skin Cancer- With the Ozone layer thinning because of global warming, the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. These dangerous rays cause skin diseases.
• Extinction of Certain Species- The temperature change of the Earth and ocean will cause the animals of both habitats to move due to insufficient food or cooler climates. They may not be able to adapt to the change, causing them to go extinct.
• More precipitation- the trapped water vapours in the Earth’s atmosphere cause the increase and decrease in rainfalls in certain areas. Floods and droughts take place respectively.
• Reduces future greenhouse gas emissions by switching from fossil fuels to clean alternatives. These include solar energy, wind energy, and geothermal energy sources.
• Coping solutions like planting more trees and stopping deforestation to avoid flooding and erosion.
• EAT GREEN- as producing meat and dairy adds to the greenhouse gases, it is better to opt for better meal options. UN experts have said that switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change. Not everyone has to go vegan but by eating less meat and more vegetation, we can be contributing to the salvation of mother Earth. Measures on incorporating more vegetables and non-meat sources in diets is a matter for governments and individuals. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Research says that a global move towards a vegetarian diet is essential to keep the global heating 2° above the pre-industrial levels. Shifting to a plant-based diet is an effective and easy way to reduce carbon emission!! plant-based